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Why Gaia?

If the shift in cultural narrative from the Story of Separation to the Story of Interbeing is the central worldview shift of the Great Turning – as we move from the dominance of industrial growth societies to regenerative life-sustaining societies – then no one word encompasses this change in our cultures’ guiding stories better than Gaia.

“I will sing of

Well-founded Gaia

Mother of All

Eldest of all beings,

She feeds all creatures

That are in the world.

All that go upon the goodly land

And all that are in the paths of the sea

And all that fly:

All these are fed of her stone.”

Hesiod, Greek poet, 7th Century B.C.

According to classical Greek cosmology, in the beginning there was only Khaos – the black fullness of empty space – from Khaos emerged Gaia – the mother of all. She created the first gods of the Greek pantheon and then mated with Uranos – the god of the sky – to give birth to the 12 Titans. Gaia is the personification of life’s fertility to give birth to more life.

In modern times, the atmospheric chemist and instrument engineer James Lovelock – while working on the Mars Mission at NASA and studying the compositions of gases on all the planets in our solar system – had the insight that the reason why Earth is the only planet with its atmosphere in extreme chemical disequilibrium, may have to do with the very presence of life itself.

Lovelock postulated that life itself had created the conditions conducive for more life to evolve. While on a walk with his friend William Golding, the author and Nobel laureate, Lovelock was persuaded that such a critically significant scientific thesis needed a better name than ‘Bio-Universal-Systems-Tendency’ and followed Golding’s advice to name his hypothesis after the Greek goddess Gaia.

“The Gaia Hypothesis is the theory that living organisms and inorganic material are part of a dynamic system that shape Earth’s biosphere…  The earth is a self-regulating environment; a single, unified, cooperating and living system – a superorganism that regulates physical conditions to keep the environment hospitable for life. Evolution therefore is the result of cooperative not competitive processes.”

– Dr James Lovelock in Gaia – A New Look at Life on Earth

In the years that followed, the Gaia hypothesis evolved to a well founded scientific theory, in particular through the collaboration between James Lovelock and the micro-biologist Lynn Margulis. The Gaia theory proposes that living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic and self-regulating, complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate and improve the conditions for life on the planet.

“Evolution is no linear family tree, but change in the single multidimensional being that has grown to cover the entire surface of Earth.” 

– Lynn Margulis, in What Is Life?

Read More about Gaia Education

Academic Papers & Articles

Read free Academic Papers from our contributors on community-based approaches to Sustainability Education and Community Development.
/by Jesper Conrad

Annual Accounts

Gaia Education is committed to the principle of transparency in its operations. See our Annual Accounts, Trustees’ report and Financial Statements here.
/by Jesper Conrad

Board of Directors

Meet our Board of Directors: Ross Jackson, Swaraj Kumar (Rajah) Banerjee, Tim Clarke, John Clausen and Monica Picavêa.
/by Jesper Conrad

Contact Gaia Education

Gaia Education is present in 54 countries. Our main office is in Edinburgh, Scotland. Email: Tel: +44 (0)131 2850783
/by Jesper Conrad

Gaia Education Policies

Gaia Education is committed to being transparent and accountable to all of its stakeholders. See our policies here.
/by Jesper Conrad
Chinese woman and Monk holding up SDGs cards

Gaia Education works with

The Glocalisers, The Empowered & The Changemakers. Our mission is to be the leading-edge provider of sustainability education that promotes thriving communities within planetary boundaries.
/by Jesper Conrad
Gaia staff and traners gathered at Newbold House, Findhorn


Gaia Education was created by a group of educators called 'GEESE' - Global Ecovillage Educators for a Sustainable Earth. Read Gaia Education's history here.
/by Jesper Conrad

Management Team

Gaia Education is managed by a dedicated team coming from different communities and settings across the planet. Meet the team here!
/by Jesper Conrad

Meet our Partners

Gaia Education's partners and organisers, associates and friends around the world, have helped us to train more than 25,000 people since 2005.
/by Jesper Conrad

Mission, Vision & Impact

Gaia Education’s mission is to be the leading-edge provider of sustainability education that promotes thriving communities within planetary boundaries.
/by Jesper Conrad
embracing diversity

Our Core Values

Gaia Education's Core Values are consistent with key values in the greater ecovillage/transition/permaculture communities.
/by Jesper Conrad

Our Presence in the World

Gaia Education is proudly present in 54 countries on 6 continents. With our 146 partners, we provide students of all ages and cultural backgrounds with knowledge and skills to design a thriving society within planetary boundaries.
/by Eloïse
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