Eco-Societal Symbiosis

Shared Success centres upon Eco-Societal Symbiosis - the core of eco-societal prosperity.

"Greed Free Agreements delivering mutual benefits in economics, ecology and society, through positive,
practice, arts, language, lore and law."

Societal mutualism is paramount in developing and maintaining intergenerationally endorsed advancements in industry, government and community while reducing unnecessary erosion of ecology, economics and culture. The long-term objective is to improve the prosperity and cultural stability of the world’s growing population in a sustainable framework of improving equilibrium in the Earth's biosphere, discussed as the single ecosystem comprising the earth and all living organisms.)

(Earth Sustaining Sciences Foundation 2000)
The glass needs to be seen as half-full,
always with always enough to share.

The philosophy underpinning Shared Success is one of utilising positive, thoughtful, insightful observation, envisioning the biosphere as a single system, allowing all elements to be considered in a single harmonious sustaining model with a view to advancing eco-societal prosperity.

It embraces  the concept that the Earth is a single biosphere, evoking one sustainable approach to People, Planet & Prosperity or Eco-Societal Prosperity.

It is a system of assembling conceptual, material and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms. 

Prosperity is the state of thriving good fortune and successful social status. It often encompasses wealth but  includes other factors which can be independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health.  

The biosphere, or the ‘ultimate world’ in which we live (environment) is the only one we have. We continually hear the rhetoric that no-one wants to destroy the environment, however, it seems completely appropriate by sectors of the legal and scientific professions, governments and corporate entities to destroy sections of it under the guise of some form of globally significant advancement. The 'environment' is used to justify many positions, depending upon the desired agendas, focus and outcomes. We need to view the Earth as a single entity, a single biosphere/ecology of which humanity is simply an element.  

James Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis  
The consideration of Earth as a single interwoven biosphere

The Gaia hypothesis, also known as the Gaia theory or the Gaia principle, describes a productive confluence between scientific understandings of Earth as a living system with cultural understandings (ancient and new) of human society as a seamless continuum of that system. It proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic self-regulating, complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet. Topics of interest include how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms affect the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere, the maintenance of a hydrosphere of liquid water and other environmental variables that affect the habitability of Earth.

The hypothesis was formulated by the chemist James Lovelock and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970's. The hypothesis was initially criticised for being teleological and contradicting principles of natural selection, but later refinements resulted in ideas framed by the Gaia hypothesis being used in fields such as Earth system science, biogeochemistry, systems ecology, and the emerging subject of geophysiology.

Gaian hypotheses suggest that organisms co-evolve with their environment: that is, they "influence their abiotic environment, and that environment in turn influences the biota by Darwinian process". Lovelock, (1995), gave evidence of this in his second book, showing the evolution from the world of the early thermo-acidophilic and methanogenic bacteria towards the oxygen-enriched atmosphere today that supports more complex life. A reduced version of the hypothesis has been called "influential Gaia", which states the biota influence certain aspects of the abiotic world, e.g. temperature and atmosphere. It states the evolution of life and its environment may affect each other.

An example is how the activity of photosynthetic bacteria during Precambrian times have completely modified the Earth atmosphere to turn it aerobic, and as such supporting evolution of life, particularly eukaryotic life. Biologists and Earth scientists usually view the factors that stabilise the characteristics of a period as an undirected emergent property or entelechy of the system; as each individual species pursues its own self-interest, for example, their combined actions may have counterbalancing effects on environmental change.

Opponents of this view sometimes reference examples of events that resulted in dramatic change rather than stable equilibrium, such as the conversion of the Earth's atmosphere from a reducing environment to an oxygen-rich one at the end of the Archaean and the beginning of the Proterozoic periods.

The Gaia hypothesis posits that the Earth is a self-regulating complex system involving the biosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrospheres and the pedosphere, tightly coupled as an evolving system. The hypothesis contends that this system ‘Gaia’, seeks a physical and chemical environment optimal for contemporary life. Gaia evolves through a cybernetic feedback system operated unconsciously by the biota, leading to broad stabilisation of the conditions of habitability in a full homeostasis. Many processes in the Earth's surface essential for the conditions of life depend on the interaction of living forms, especially microorganisms, with inorganic elements. These processes establish a global control system that regulates Earth's surface temperature, atmosphere composition and ocean salinity, powered by the global thermodynamic disequilibrium state of the Earth system.

The existence of a planetary homeostasis influenced by living forms had been observed previously in the field of biogeochemistry, and it is being investigated also in other fields like Earth system science. The originality of the Gaia hypothesis relies on the assessment that such homeostatic balance is actively pursued with the goal of keeping the optimal conditions for life, even when terrestrial or external events menace them.  

Ocean salinity is considered to have been constant at about 3.5% for a very long time. Salinity stability in oceanic environments is important as most cells require a rather constant salinity and do not generally tolerate values above 5%. The constant ocean salinity was a long-standing mystery, because no process counterbalancing the salt influx from rivers was known. Recently it was suggested that salinity may also be strongly influenced by seawater circulation through hot basaltic rocks, and emerging as hot water vents on mid-ocean ridges. However, the composition of seawater is far from equilibrium, and it is difficult to explain this fact without the influence of organic processes. One suggested explanation lies in the formation of salt plains throughout Earth's history. It is hypothesised that these are created by bacterial colonies that fix ions and heavy metals during their life processes.

The Gaia hypothesis states that the Earth's atmospheric composition is kept at a dynamically steady state by the presence of life. The atmospheric composition provides the conditions that contemporary life has adapted to. 

The Concept of 'Gaia'

Robin Attfield, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK  Kate Attfield, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK Published online: August 2016 DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0026698.


The Gaia theory of James Lovelock proposes that the Earth is a self‐regulating system, or super‐organism, maintaining conditions hospitable to contemporary planetary biota. Objections to this theory, concerning its alleged untestability and circularity, are considered and countered. Favourable evidence includes Lovelock's Daisyworld model of a planet regulating its own temperatures and thus maintaining homeostasis, and his discoveries of actual regulatory mechanisms such as the biological generation of dimethyl sulphide, which removes sulphur from the oceans and seeds clouds whose albedo reduces solar radiation (a negative feedback mechanism). After some decades of scepticism, sections of the scientific community have partially endorsed Gaia theory, accepting that the Earth system behaves as if self‐regulating. Whether or not this theory is acceptable in full, it has drawn attention to the need for preserving planetary biological cycles and for the planetary dimension to be incorporated in ethical decision‐making, and thus for a planetary ethic.

Key Concepts
  • James Lovelock hypothesises that the planetary physical and biological system is a self‐regulating super‐organism,
  • There were precedents before Lovelock for ascribing life either to the planet or to the universe,
  • James W. Kirchner presents Gaia hypotheses as either unoriginal or untestable,
  • Lovelock demonstrates that Gaia theory is both original and testable, albeit indirectly,
  • Lovelock's theory can readily escape the charge of circularity,
  • Predictions of Gaia theory include the existence of biologically generated mechanisms of planetary regulation,
  • Lovelock's discovery of dimethyl sulphide discloses such a mechanism for the regulation of oceanic sulfur,
  • Both atmospheric oxygen and atmospheric nitrogen turn out to be biologically generated and maintained,
  • Philosophers such as Stephen Clark and Mary Midgley have made Gaia a symbol for the planetary thinking currently needed,
  • The Amsterdam Declaration of planetary scientists (Moore et al., 2001) accepted aspects of Gaia theory, without explicitly accepting the theory's planetary goal.