“Science is a cosy, friendly club of specialists who follow their numerous different stars; it is proud and wonderfully productive but never certain and always hampered by the persistence of incomplete world views.” – The Revenge of Gaia, 2006.
“If you were an artist or novelist, or a poet or somebody like that, nobody would think it odd if you worked in your own home. In science there’s none of this at all. I’m almost the only independent scientist in Britain. Everybody else works in large institutions, universities, or industrial labs. Why should one expect scientists to work that way?” – The Man Who Named the World, Visionaries documentary, 1989.
“My main reason for not relaxing into contented retirement is that like most of you I am deeply concerned about the probability of massively harmful climate change and the need to do something about it now.” – Conjectures of an Independent Scientist, a talk at the Geological Society of London, 5th May 2011.
“The great rapidity with which we add carbon gases to the air is as damaging as is the quantity.” – Climate Change on a Living Earth, a public lecture given at the Royal Society, 29 October 2007.
“We have to stop thinking of human needs and rights alone. Let us be brave and see that the real threat comes from the living earth, which we have harmed and is now at war with us.” Nuclear energy for the 21st Century, speech to the International Conference in Paris, 21–22 March 2005.
“I think that we reject the evidence that our world is changing because we are still, as that wonderfully wise biologist E. O. Wilson reminded us, tribal carnivores.” – The Revenge of Gaia, 2006.
“The entire range of living matter on Earth from whales to viruses and from oaks to algae could be regarded as constituting a single living entity capable of maintaining the Earth’s atmosphere to suit its overall needs and endowed with faculties and powers far beyond those of its constituent parts.” – Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, 1979.
“I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change” – Interview with the Guardian newspaper, 29th March 2010.
If there were a billion people living on the planet, we could do whatever we please. But there are nearly seven billion. At this scale, life as we know it today is not sustainable. – How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate, 2010.