This morning at Adelaide’s annual Christmas Pageant I met a little girl called Gaia.
Gaia’s family recently emigrated from Milan in Italy, looking for new opportunities and an escape from a growing sense of pessimism in Europe.
Gaia – rhymes with ‘higher’ pronounced in an Australian accent, with no hard ‘r’ sound at the end – is also a name Jim Lovelock applied to his 1972 idea postulating that the earth and its components are actively shaped by the processes of evolving plant and animal life. Known as The Gaia Hypothesis, the concept has since been argued, rejected, modified, embraced, applied to models of global climate change and re-branded: see this 2012 The Conversation article (including comments) by Ian Enting for a full briefing.
The girl named Gaia was of course blissfuly unaware of all this conjecture this morning, as she watched giant koalas, clowns on bikes, dancing Christmas fairies, marching bands and the main man himself in Santa Claus parade through our city streets.
Welcome to Australia Gaia, and have a Merry Christmas.
[photo thanks to Tim Horton, posted on Twitter today]