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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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VIII. Pedia Sapiens: A New Genesis Future

6. A Viable Gaiasphere: Planetary Patriots and Matriots

La Cava, William, et al. Automatic Identification of Wind Turbine Models using Evolutionary Multiobjective Optimization. Renewable Energy. 87/2, 2016. A team of mechanical engineers from UM Amherst and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, along with Hampshire College computer scientist Lee Spector, find present methods by which to access wind turbine performance to be inadequate. They then turn to genetic algorithm programs for a better approach and practical results. Since also cited as “epigenetic learning and evolution,” one might witness the work as an example of human beings beginning to intentionally it carry forward. Apropos, see Evaluation of Planetary Boundary Layer Simulations for Wind Resource Study in East Iran by three Iranian scientists in the same journal (111/1, 2017).

Modern industrial-scale wind turbines are nonlinear systems that operate in turbulent environments. As such, it is difficult to characterize their behavior accurately across a wide range of operating conditions using physically meaningful models. To address these deficiencies, we use a recently developed symbolic regression method to identify models of a modern horizontal-axis wind turbine in symbolic form. The method uses evolutionary multiobjective optimization to produce succinct dynamic models from operational data while making minimal assumptions about the physical properties of the system. Several succinct models are found that predict wind turbine behavior as well as or better than more complex alternatives derived by other methods. We interpret the new models to show that they often contain intelligible estimates of real process physics.

Lappe, Frances Moore and Anna Lappe. Hope’s Edge. New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 2002. A thirty year update now with her daughter of the classic Diet for a Small Planet which chronicles their world travels to find case studies of living lightly but well on an increasingly finite earth.

Latour, Bruno. Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climate Regime. London: Polity, 2017. The French philosophical anthropologist and author (search) turns his scholarly erudition in these essays abour novel ways of survival and sustainability for Earth’s precarious anthropocene biosphere. If we might avoid Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, an enhanced appreciation of this holistic, feminine sensibility, which after four decades remains a viable scientific model, would much serve us going forward.

The emergence of modern sciences in the seventeenth century profoundly renewed our understanding of nature. The situation is more unstable today, now that we have entered an ecological mutation of unprecedented scale. Some call it the Anthropocene, but it is best described as a new climatic regime. This book explores a potential candidate proposed by James Lovelock when he chose the name 'Gaia' for the way in which living phenomena modify the Earth. The fact that he was immediately misunderstood proves simply that his readers have tried to fit this new notion into an older frame, transforming Gaia into a single organism, a giant thermostat, or New Age goddess. In this series of lectures, Bruno Latour argues that the complex and ambiguous figure of Gaia offers, on the contrary, an ideal way to disentangle the ethical, political, theological, and scientific aspects of the now obsolete notion of nature. He lays the groundwork for a future collaboration among scientists, theologians, activists, and artists as they, and we, begin to adjust to the new climatic regime. (Publisher excerpts)

Bruno Latour is one of the world's leading sociologists and anthropologists. He taught at the École des Mines in Paris from 1982 to 2006 and is now Professor at the Institut d'études politiques (Sciences Po) and Director of the Sciences Po médialab.

Lenton, Timothy and Bruno Latour. Gaia 2.0. Science. 361/1066, 2018. A senior British geosystems scientist and a French philosophical anthropologist (search each) propose a unique extension of Earth’s apparent deep propensity to regulate biospheric and atmospheric conditions in a favorable concert with life’s evolutionary flora and fauna. The article has gained notice such as the Science Daily review below. From this genesis website vista, an ascent and passage to an aware, informed (e)volitionary global mitigation and future enhancement may be a critical, singular step that any successful (candidate) bio(ovo)world has to achieve.

Earth has now entered a new epoch called the Anthropocene, and humans are beginning to become aware of the global consequences of their actions. As a result, deliberate self-regulation—from personal action to global geoengineering schemes—is either happening or imminently possible. Making such conscious choices to operate within Gaia constitutes a fundamental new state of Gaia, which we call Gaia 2.0. By emphasizing the agency of life-forms and their ability to set goals, Gaia 2.0 may be an effective framework for fostering global sustainability. (1066)

A time-honored theory into why conditions on Earth have remained stable enough for life to evolve over billions of years has been given a new, innovative twist. In the 'Gaia' hypothesis, living organisms and their inorganic surroundings evolved together as a single, self-regulating system that kept the planet habitable, despite threats such as a brightening Sun, volcanoes and meteorite strikes. However, Professor Tim Lenton from the University of Exeter and famed French sociologist of science Professor Bruno Latour now contend that humans have the potential to 'upgrade' this planetary operating system to create "Gaia 2.0." They believe that the evolution of both humans and their technology could add a new level of "self-awareness" to Earth's self-regulation. As humans become more aware of the global consequences of their actions, including climate change, a new kind of deliberate self-regulation becomes possible where we limit our impacts on the planet. This "conscience choice" to self-regulate introduces a "fundamental new state of Gaia" which could achieve greater global sustainability in the future. (Science Daily, Sept. 13)

Levin, Simon. Crossing Scales, Crossing Disciplines: Collective Motion and Collective Action in the Global Commons. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 365/13, 2010. In a special issue on the life sciences for the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary, with free access online, the Princeton University systems ecologist deftly identifies and enlists a beneficial complementarity of free entities and a supportive group, of competition and cooperation, that graces nested evolutionary scales from microbes to mammals. As the quotes aver, it would obviously avail us to intentionally carry on this natural wisdom as a way to heal and guide more sustainable, peaceful, human societies.

Two conflicting tendencies can be seen throughout the biological world: individuality and collective behaviour. Natural selection operates on differences among individuals, rewarding those who perform better. Nonetheless, even within this milieu, cooperation arises, and the repeated emergence of multicellularity is the most striking example. The same tendencies are played out at higher levels, as individuals cooperate in groups, which compete with other such groups. Many of our environmental and other global problems can be traced to such conflicts, and to the unwillingness of individual agents to take account of the greater good. One of the great challenges in achieving sustainability will be in understanding the basis of cooperation, and in taking multicellularity to yet a higher level, finding the pathways to the level of cooperation that is the only hope for the preservation of the planet. (13)

Cooperation is widespread in the biological world, especially in human societies. Bacteria signal one another by exuding chemicals, and exchange mutual favours. Amoebae organize themselves into slime molds, insects into swarms, birds into flocks, fish into schools, ungulates into herds. Primates have the most highly developed social organizations of unrelated individuals, relying on highly developed cultural practices to maintain the integrity of their societies.
But the tribes and societies and cultures we build become devices for conflict among groups, and too often it is that conflict and competition that strengthens the membership bonds. When groups come together, it is often because there is a common enemy. How can we get beyond this in achieving the survival of our species, and of our planet?
We must recognize that we have a common enemy, and that enemy is the extinction that awaits us if we do not change our ways. It is war and pollution, it is biodiversity loss and climate change, it is all the things that threaten the quality of our life, as well as our survival. The sooner we acknowledge this common threat, the sooner we can achieve the cooperation that will bond us all together. (16 – 17)

Levin, Simon, et al. Social-Ecological Systems as Complex Adaptive Systems. Environment and Development Economics. 18/2, 2013. A 17 member, world class team from Europe and the US, including Kenneth Arrow, Paul Ehrlich, and Gretchen Daily, call for a redress of ineffective programs by turning to a proper, practical avail of these ubiquitous dynamics. In this way, a truly organic self-organizing and correcting resilience can be naturally facilitated.

Systems linking people and nature, known as social-ecological systems, are increasingly understood as complex adaptive systems. Essential features of these complex adaptive systems – such as nonlinear feedbacks, strategic interactions, individual and spatial heterogeneity, and varying time scales – pose substantial challenges for modeling. However, ignoring these characteristics can distort our picture of how these systems work, causing policies to be less effective or even counterproductive. In this paper we present recent developments in modeling social-ecological systems, illustrate some of these challenges with examples related to coral reefs and grasslands, and identify the implications for economic and policy analysis. (Abstract)

Lewin, Harris, et al. Earth BioGenome Project: Sequencing Life for the Future of Life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 115/4325, 2018. Twenty-four environmental biologists and ecologists at leading institutes, universities, museums, and botanical gardens from the USA, UK, Denmark, Switzerland, and China outline a decadal program to sequence, read, and curate the genomic code of essentially all creatures great and small. The profligate diversity of Earth life’s whole scale genetic repository can then serve critical biospheric and anthropospheric conservation programs.

Increasing our understanding of Earth’s biodiversity and responsibly stewarding its resources are among the most crucial scientific and social challenges of the new millennium. Herein, we present a perspective on the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP), a moonshot for biology that aims to sequence, catalog, and characterize the genomes of all of Earth’s eukaryotic biodiversity over a period of 10 years. The outcomes of the EBP will inform a broad range of major issues facing humanity, such as the impact of climate change on biodiversity, the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems, and the preservation and enhancement of ecosystem services. The far-reaching potential benefits of creating an open digital repository of genomic information for life on Earth can be realized only by a coordinated international effort. (Abstract)

The Earth BioGenome Project will create a new foundation for biology, informing a broad range of major issues facing humanity, such as the impact of climate change on biodiversity, the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems, and the preservation and enhancement of ecosystem services. Powerful advances in genome sequencing technology, informatics, automation, and artificial intelligence, have propelled humankind to the threshold of a new beginning in understanding, utilizing, and conserving biodiversity. For the first time in history, it is possible to efficiently sequence the genomes of all known species, and to use genomics to help discover the remaining 80 to 90 percent of species that are currently hidden from science. (EBG website)

Lionnet, Francoise, et al. The Human Face of Development. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 29/2, 2003. An introduction to a special issue on Development Cultures which debates issues such as global feminist ethics, the individual/collective and universalist/cultural relativist dichotomies and indigenous African wisdom.

Liu, Jianquo, et al. Systems Integration for Global Sustainability. Science. 347/963, 2015. Eleven senior environmentalists across the United States, with international roots, declare that any practical remediation over a finite biosphere must be done in a holistic, all inclusive fashion. Separate projects that may address water, energy, food, only should be integrated into common, unified programs.

Global sustainability challenges, from maintaining biodiversity to providing clean air and water, are closely interconnected yet often separately studied and managed. Systems integration—holistic approaches to integrating various components of coupled human and natural systems—is critical to understand socioeconomic and environmental interconnections and to create sustainability solutions. Recent advances include the development and quantification of integrated frameworks that incorporate ecosystem services, environmental footprints, planetary boundaries, human-nature nexuses, and telecoupling. Although systems integration has led to fundamental discoveries and practical applications, further efforts are needed to incorporate more human and natural components simultaneously, quantify spillover systems and feedbacks, integrate multiple spatial and temporal scales, develop new tools, and translate findings into policy and practice. Such efforts can help address important knowledge gaps, link seemingly unconnected challenges, and inform policy and management decisions.

Lucht, W. and R. K. Pachauri. The Mental Component of the Earth System. Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim, et al, eds. Earth System Analysis for Sustainability. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. The authors consider what effective cognitive systems are needed for peoples to fully address and respond to the sustainability imperative? Four elements: GeoScope – interplay of observation and theory; GeoGraphy – how apply generalized knowledge in societies; GeoMind – aspects of personal identity; and GeoAction – a balance of representation and governance; are proposed in reply.

Marshall, Stephen. Cities, Design, and Evolution. London: Routledge, 2009. A University College London urban planner proposes to “Learn from Science and Nature” as a way to reinvent, reorient and vitalize human habitations. By gathering many recent studies, he achieves a deft employ of evolutionary themes together with emergent, self-organizing, multifractal complexities. A deep mathematical viability can thus be discerned whereof cities are most like an ecosystem. (See also Waltner-Toews, et al, herein)

Mayor, Frederico. The World Ahead: Our Future in the Making. London: Zed Books, 2001. A former director of UNESCO defines four “contracts” with society, nature, culture and ethics by which to address the critical issues of population, poverty, cities, food, energy, women, environment, education, and peace. Seven principles are suggested: trust the people, care for the planet, smart is beautiful, prepare for peace if you want peace, give to others if you wish to receive, a global democracy, and lastly, it is our future to create.

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