Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

2019 Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren


  • Luciele Nardi ComunelloEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27078-4_28


Gaia is the name of the Greek goddess of the Earth. Although the term is antique, it was recovered in the twentieth century by the “Gaia hypothesis” or “Gaia theory.” In the early 1970s, James Lovelock proposed that the Earth’s surface – including life – was a superorganism: Gaia. According to this hypothesis, the human beings are part of a whole, a megaorganism, that is to say, all the life and the matter in the Earth surface are parts of an unique living system (Lovelock 1995). In these terms, Lovelock contributed to a holistic – instead of a reductionist – worldview.


Gaia, the Greek ancient goddess of the Earth, was known for being at the same time sweet, feminine, and nurturing but also unbelievably cruel with the ones that could not live in a balanced relation with the planet (Lovelock 2006). The reference to Gaia in the twentieth century is impossible without mentioning the work of James Lovelock, a British scientist, and his colleague Lynn Margulis, a...


Earth Gaia hypothesis Gaia theory, biosphere Nature conservation New age Ecological movements Goddess Mother Earth Holism 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Program in Education - PUCRSPorto AlegreBrazil