Gaia - Myth, Model, Metaphor, or Movement?

Date: Sat, 27 Jan 1996 17:38:49 -0500
From: L-Soft list server at America Online, Inc. (1.8b)

To: Your Name could be Here
Subject: Welcome to GAIA-L

GAIA-L is a List whose purpose is to provide a forum for the discussion of Gaian theory and practice, in order to help create and disseminate a worldwide Gaia movement, a shared global postindustrial culture based on awareness of humanity's embeddedness in, and dependence upon, a healthy biosphere.

We hope eventually to establish a nonprofit organization called GAIA International (Global Awareness Interdisciplinary Alliance) with chapters on college campuses throughout the world, devoted likewise to the propagation of Gaian theory and practice. Its mission will be "to introduce ideas of ecology into the ecology of ideas by sponsoring projects, events, and publications that promote ecological awareness, understanding, and responsibility across all disciplines and in every domain of human endeavor."

GAIA-L is NOT a discussion group for neopagan (or any other) religion. Please reserve discussion of your religious ideologies for other lists.

In order to keep the discussion focused, I am asking you to post messages that fall into one of the following categories:


Gaia as MYTH--discussions of the mythic and archetypal manifestations of reverence for nature in various traditional cultures throughout the world, and how successfully this reverence has translated itself into ecologically sustainable cultural values and technologies.

Gaia as MODEL--discussions of the heuristic value of the Lovelock/Margulis Gaia Hypothesis along with related concepts derived from emergent systems theory, for increasing our understandings of ecological complexity and its implications for social and technological innovations.

Gaia as METAPHOR--discussions of the broader uses of the Gaia concept by cultural historians and social philosophers as a metaphor for the emerging philosophical and ethical perspective that emphasizes humanity's embeddedness in, and dependence upon, the natural world. It denotes a systemic, cross-disciplinary, ecological approach to thinking about human culture as a part of nature, rather than apart from it.

Gaia as MOVEMENT--Discussion of the emerging cultural movement, global in scope, that includes but transcends traditional environmentalism. The Gaia movement calls for a fundamental shift in the priorities of western (and now global) culture from a relentlessly parasitic civilization based on endless, nonsustainable economic "growth" at the expense of nature towards a sustainable world order based on ecological principles and respect for both natural and cultural diversity.

II. GAIAN PRACTICE ("The Quiet Revolution")

GOOD BUY--Discussions of ways of promoting ecologically responsible investment and expenditures of money. Can include sharing information about any and all sustainable alternatives to the status quo. Also may include analysis and discussion of macroeconomic effects of incorporating ecological values into spending and investment stratagies.

GOOD WORK--Discussions of ways of bringing Gaian awareness and ecological responsibility to your workplace, and/or alternative careers that allow people to balance self-interest with service to the planet.

GOOD WILL--Discussions of ecological mindfulness in everyday life; ways of practicing and promoting the "ecological self." May also include discussions of Gaian or bioregional approaches to education, child raising, and community-building.


GAIA-L has 3 simple rules:

1) All posts to the list should be prefaced by "Gaia-L:" in the Subject line; i.e. "Subject: Gaia-L: Gaian Practice" etc.

2) All posts should try to have 'intelligent' titles. If the title of the post you are responding to does not fit your topic, change the title. If your topic is a flow from a previous topic that it seems that others would want to know that your topic is related, add "(WAS: old post name here)" at the end of the title.

3) All new subscribers should post an introductory message with a brief biography to the list ASAP. The subject line should read "Gaia-L: Intro (Your Name)"

To subscribe, send SUB GAIA-L Your Name to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.AOL.COM

To post a message to the list, address mail to GAIA-L@LISTSERV.AOL.COM

To receive the list in digest format, send e-mail to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.AOL.COM with the message SET GAIA-L DIGEST

If you have any questions, please contact us and we will give you our undivided attention.

Danielle Dee
GAIA-L Listowner
(all list administration questions should be sent here)

Tom Ellis
GAIA-L Moderator

Created: Saturday, January 27, 1996, 8:23:04 PM Last Updated: Saturday, January 27, 1996, 8:23:04 PM