In the 1970’s, the Gaia hypothesis was born. Initially, the hypothesis was met with great skepticism but since then it has gained a lot of traction in the scientific community.
Basically, the theory states that the Earth and everything on it, act as a sort of self-regulating system, which includes physical, chemical, biological and even human components. You could picture the Earth as a living organism with many different parts, all working together to maintain the conditions required for life. The Gaia theory also maintains that even when threatened by outside sources, the Earth continues to try and maintain the required conditions for life.
To give you an example, the salinity of the oceans are one thing that puzzle scientists. From Wiki:
Ocean salinity has been constant at about 3.4% for a very long time. Salinity stability in oceanic environments is important as most cells require a rather constant salinity and do not generally tolerate values above 5%. Ocean salinity constancy was a long-standing mystery, because river salts should have raised the ocean salinity much higher than observed. Recently it was suggested that salinity may also be strongly influenced by seawater circulation through hot basaltic rocks, and emerging as hot water vents on mid-ocean ridges. However, the composition of seawater is far from equilibrium, and it is difficult to explain this fact without the influence of organic processes. One suggested explanation lies in the formation of salt plains throughout Earth's history. It is hypothesized that these are created by bacterial colonies that fix ions and heavy metals during life processes.
The Wiki article offers all sorts of different ways the Earth seems to self-regulate itself. Today the Gaia theory is used in things such as climate change science.
Climate science is extremely important. Scientists are still trying to come to grips with global warming and how much of it can be directly attributed to humanities influence. In a recent article, scientists claimed that about nine percent of the western hemispheres mammals will be unable to escape climate change, invariably killing them. These sorts of numbers should scare the living crap out of us. If the Earth is indeed a self-regulating organism, something has to give.
By researching sulfur compounds, scientists think they’ve hit on a key that would back up the Gaia theory further:
Is Earth really a sort of giant living organism as the Gaia hypothesis predicts? A new discovery made at the University of Maryland may provide a key to answering this question. This key of sulfur could allow scientists to unlock heretofore hidden interactions between ocean organisms, atmosphere, and land -- interactions that might provide evidence supporting this famous theory.
The Gaia hypothesis -- first articulated by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s -- holds that Earth's physical and biological processes are inextricably connected to form a self-regulating, essentially sentient, system.
And further down:
"Harry's work establishes that we should expect to see variability in the sulfur isotope signatures of these compounds in the oceans under different environmental conditions and for different organisms. I think this will ultimately be very important for using isotopes to trace the cycling of these compounds in the surface oceans as well as the flux of dimethylsulfide to the atmosphere. The ability to do this could help us answer important climate questions, and ultimately better predict climate changes. And it may even help us to better trace connections between dimethylsulfide emissions and sulfate aerosols, ultimately testing a coupling in the Gaia hypothesis," Farquhar says.
There is little doubt in the science community that climate change is happening and that Earth’s average temperature is increasing, in part because of humanities activities – specifically the onset of the Industrial age. We need to stop ignoring it and work together to find solutions. Many scientists have been ringing the alarm bells for a long time, warning about a tipping point that we can’t recover from. The Joint Science Academy has even released a global response document that says there is strong evidence to support global warming and that much of the global warming in the 20th century ‘can be attributed to human activity’.
We are literally destroying the atmosphere that supports life, including our own. We are raping the planet of resources and greedily destroying the very substance that supports all life, including our own. It’s absurd that while we hotly debate things like same-sex marriage, we seem to ignore the issue of climate change and the solutions that must follow.