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GAIA: The Living Planet.

GAIA: The Living Planet (1990; Bullfrog Films,; 45 minutes)

We are taught that there are inferences, hypotheses, theories, and laws in the sciences. In this 45-minute video, we are introduced to James Lovelock, originator of a theory to explore physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science. Against a background of panoramic photography and a well-chosen musical score, Angelika Lizius and Detlef Jungjohann, producers of this 45-minute DVD, investigate a theory that has experienced more than 40 years of controversy. Since the 1960s, Lovelock, now in his 90s, has implored us to recognize that our earth is "one single living organism" and to "be nice to our earth." He does an admirable job defending his theory, providing models, observations, data, historical perspectives and some pretty awesome and ingenious devices he has developed to support his theoretical work. The most notable device is the electron capture detector, an instrument that has made it possible to detect atmospheric chlorofluorocarbons, and ultimately assisted in knowledge of the ozone layer's depletion in our stratosphere.

Above all, Lovelock makes connections for the viewers. In his charming, no-nonsense way, he tells us his story. He was the person who exposed fluorocarbons in the atmosphere; he explains the coexistence of incompatible gases. He gives us an ecology learning experience when he shows how sulfur and carbon cycles are linked. He also had a staunch supporter in Lynn Margulis, the world-renowned evolutionary biologist, who died in 2011.

This DVD is recommended for high school through college students, those who, upon our passing, inherit custodianship of our earth. Lovelock reminds us all that it is our personal responsibility to care for Gaia.

DOI: 10.1525/abt.2013.75.1.16

Sandra Latourelle

SUNY Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, NY 12901

ROBERTA BATORSKY, an experienced high school and college biology teacher, is adjunct faculty at rowan university. Roberta has a B.S. and an M.S. in biology. Her address is 25 Hinkle Drive, Bordentown, NJ 08505; e-mail: Roberta welcomes submissions of classroom media for review in ABT.


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Author:Latourelle, Sandra
Publication:The American Biology Teacher
Article Type:Video recording review
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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