In the 1960s, the scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock (who is dead right about the relative merits of nuclear and wind power, by the way) proposed the Gaia Hypothesis in which he suggested that the Earth functions as a sort of superorganism, reacting via natural feedback loops to natural and man-made changes in environmental conditions.
It is far from clear whether Lovelock was talking metaphorically or literally when he spoke of the Earth as being an organism. If he was talking metaphorically, Gaia is an interesting and potentially useful hypothesis which might help us to look at environmental change from a different perspective. If he was talking literally, it is, of course, utter bollocks.
This morning, I took some cardboard boxes to compost in my magnificent compost bins. As I was tearing up the boxes, a sudden gust of wind snapped in half one of the pieces of cardboard, the corner of which nearly took my eye out. It smarted. It smarted A LOT.
So that's what you get for trying to save the planet.
Sod you, Gaia! I'm off to buy an S.U.V!
Stop Press: You couldn't make this crap up… Not 20 minutes after I had published the above, I went to crush my empty beer can in my trendy new save-the-planet can crusher. Half-way through the crushing process, the can—which was by now a mass of sharp metal edges—fired right out of the crusher and hit me square in the face.
That's it: the planet's knackered.