Astrobiologists and astrophysicists decided to combine the available knowledge about geology, biology, climatology and the social behavior of living things to find out if the planet can acquire its own mind.
According to ScienceDaily, scientists could not find a definite answer, but suggested that humanity could not exist without something like planetary intelligence.
Scientists representing the University of Rochester, the University of Arizona and the Institute of Planetary Science conducted a thought experiment in which they studied the relationship between the evolution of planet Earth and the development of life on it.
The purpose of the study is to obtain new ideas for solving such global problems as climate change.
Breaking down the development of life on Earth into four stages (immature biosphere, mature biosphere, immature technosphere, mature technosphere), the authors of the study suggested that humanity could not have reached its current heights if planet Earth did not have something similar to planetary intelligence.
For example, Adam Frank says, many recent studies have shown how the roots of the trees in a forest connect via underground networks of fungi known as mycorrhizal networks. If one part of the forest needs nutrients, the other parts send the stressed portions the nutrients they need to survive, via the mycorrhizal network. In this way, the forest maintains its own viability.
Right now, our civilization is what the researchers call an “immature technosphere,” a conglomeration of human-generated systems and technology that directly affects the planet but is not self-maintaining.
For instance, the majority of our energy usage involves consuming fossil fuels that degrade Earth’s oceans and atmosphere. The technology and energy we consume to survive are destroying our home planet, which will, in turn, destroy our species.
To survive as a species, then, we need to collectively work in the best interest of the planet.
But, Frank says, “we don’t yet have the ability to communally respond in the best interests of the planet. There is intelligence on Earth, but there isn’t planetary intelligence.”
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