In truth, both the human body and the planet Earth contain a number of interconnected systems that enable life to exist. The respiratory, digestive, reproductive, musculoskeletal, neurological, and immunological systems are all vital to human survival. The stability of the planet is dependent on the balance of its air, water, land, and life systems. Without all these components there can be no life as we know it.
The human body is similar to the earth in many ways. Both have an atmosphere, water, land, and living organisms. The human body is also similar to the earth in that it relies on a balance of energy to function properly. If the amount of energy received by the body is not equal to the amount used by the body, then damage may occur. For example, if the amount of sunlight received by the earth is too much or too little, then excessive heat or cold could cause serious injury or death.
The human body is also similar to the earth in that it needs oxygen to live. Oxygen is a gas that makes up half of the earth's atmosphere. Without it, none of us would be able to survive more than a few minutes. The human body requires fresh oxygen every minute to stay alive. This fact explains why most accidents happen on the road: people are trying to get from A to B as quickly as possible by going as fast as they can around other cars and objects.
He claims that the planet's living organisms collaborate to govern the global environment: "Life interacts chemically and physically with the air, water, and rocks to preserve optimum circumstances for itself." In fact, according to Dr. Lovelock, the Earth appears to behave like a living entity. It is self-regulating and self-repairing because any damage done to it will be paid for by its inhabitants in the form of diseases such as cancer.
Here is how he explains this concept: "The atmosphere and oceanic waters are two powerful agents of conservation. They provide a protective enclosure within which life can exist. Were it not for these barriers life would be destroyed by the radiation from the sun and other stars." He also mentions that wind and ice have played important roles in conserving energy on Earth over time.
Scientists have found evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars. The discovery was made about 10 years ago when they found carbon dioxide bubbles within Martian rock formations called xeroxia. These bubbles were most likely created by microscopic bacteria that used the gas as oxygen for respiration.
Another example comes from deep undersea caves on Earth. Here scientists have found strange organisms that live in total darkness. They use photosynthesis to create their food using energy from sunlight captured by chloroplasts (the plant equivalent of mitochondria).
The atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere are the four physical systems. These are the basic building blocks of the planet's physical systems. The Earth-Sun connections must be synced for the planet to be livable and capable of maintaining life as we know it. The Earth's environmental conditions have changed over time due to these physical systems interacting with each other.
The atmosphere is the layer of gases that surrounds and protects the biosphere. The atmosphere works with the ocean system to regulate temperature and water vapor content on the planet. Climate change occurs when the amount of heat trapped by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere changes, causing temperatures to rise. Greenhouse gases allow more sunlight into the atmosphere than would otherwise occur with only ozone and clouds blocking some of this light energy. But too much of this heating can be dangerous: a doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase global average temperatures by about 6 degrees Celsius (10 degrees Fahrenheit).
The biosphere is the part of the Earth that supports life. It is made up of the oceans, landmasses, ice caps, and forests, all of which play a role in determining our climate. Humans have become a significant force in changing the environment through deforestation, soil degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions.
The hydrosphere is the portion of the Earth that contains water.
According to Lovelock, the Earth appears to behave like a living entity. He calls it "a self-regulating system driven by the evolution of life and intelligence."
Lovelock first came up with this idea while working at the United States National Bureau of Standards in 1975. He was trying to understand how volcanoes form islands. He reasoned that if an island formed around a volcano, then the atmosphere would no longer be able to flow over the surface and rain down there. The only way for it to continue doing so would be if something else grew there to block the flow of air over the surface.
Islands grow plants that absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. This leads them to become more arid which causes more plants to grow, and so on. Over time, enough plant growth can block enough wind to prevent more intense rains from falling. Volcanoes also release gases that create new lands for other species to inhabit.
Lovelock's theory has been widely accepted among scientists. It's been used to explain why some islands are volcanic and others aren't after a major storm or earthquake. His work has also helped scientists understand how planets could have evolved life over time.