On Tuesday the 26th of July 2022, environmental scientist, climate prophet and the creator of the Gaia theory, died aged 103.
Lovelock was born in 1919 in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire and was raised in Brixton, south London. He went on to study chemistry, biophysics, and medicine both in the UK and the US.
Throughout his life, James Lovelock had a remarkable career, from working for the Medical Research Council, to working for NASA and being a part of their moon and Mars projects. His most valued achievements were through the work he carried out as an independent scientist.
In the 1970s Lovelock hypothesised the Gaia theory. This theory suggests that Earth is a self-regulating single organism that is made up of all life forms. He believed that all organisms on Earth didn’t compete, instead they co-operated to keep the Earth maintained. The term he used to describe this process was co-evolution and he strongly believed that humans were destroying the Earth and were not co-operating like they should.
Lovelock was known to be a climate change activist and he was passionate about finding ways to prevent the effects of climate change. He was the inventor of a highly sensitive electron capture detector used to track pollutants such as ozone-depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). He also campaigned against fossil fuels, becoming one of the leading activists to fight against their use, outlining how they affect the ozone layer.
James Lovelock leaves behind his wife, Sandy, his four children, Jane, Christine, Andrew and John; as well as his legacy of being a chemist, biomedical scientist, climate activist and inventor.