Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia

Our world's in crisis and like many others Dr. Stephan Harding believes that science has contributed to the many ecological problems we're now facing, but he also thinks that science has the answer.

In this time of increasing environmental problems we need a science that not only makes us clever but also makes us wise. Dr. Stephan is a scientists and he really values science and technology.

After all they've revolutionized our lives in a very short time frame and given us a fantastic understanding of the world but they've also contributed to the potentially catastrophic consequences of our unsustainable lifestyles.

He's resident ecologist at Schumacher College in Devon which he helped to start 20 years ago. One of their intentions was to explore a new kind of science which could balance rational knowledge with intuitive wisdom. Now people come there from all over the world to explore the causes of the ecological crisis and to look for sustainable solutions. But Dr. Stephan's relationship with science wasn't always like this. Thirty years ago he underwent a transformation that convinced him that there had to be more to science than conventional, analytical reasoning.

He's always had a passion for the natural world and so that led him to science, first as a student of zoology and then as a holder of a doctorate in the ecology and behavior of the muntjac deer. And it was during his time in Oxford that he first began to realize that there was something seriously limited about science, wonderful though it was. For his doctorate he had to spend many years studying muntjac deer in their natural woodland habitat. He methodically collected data about their movements, food habits and social behavior.

Day and night he gathered the numbers out of his woodland study site much like a machine, recording them in his notebook for analysis later in the university's computers. He became a detached observer, remote as if looking down from on high. The inspiration that had taken him into science in the first place was drying up.

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