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Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Program

Geography

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2011

Month Degree Awarded

February

Keywords

evolution, geography, contextual, geologic, timescale, microcosmos, complicity, complexity, fractal, connectedness

Abstract

Evolution geography takes a systems approach to the study of evolution. The interconnected systems include: the gravitational and thermodynamic solar system in which the Earth was formed and resides; the cosmic, solar, electrical, chemical, radioactive and thermal energy flows of Earth; the Earth’s ever-changing biogeochemistry; the dynamic geography of the Earth (deep space); the energy gradients of living matter, which have reciprocally shaped and been shaped by their physical environment for at least 3400 million years (“deep time”); and hominid cultures and civilizations and their ramifications for the Earth's surface over at least the last 60,000 years.

We humans are largely unaware of our place or time of evolutionary appearance on Earth. We have had a growing impact on Earth over the last seven centuries. Our over-reliance on reductionism affects the search for knowledge, proliferates and distorts worldviews extrapolated from within narrow disciplines, stifles debate and suppresses novel hypotheses. Data must be mapped into history and context where it can be challenged by other fields, be seen in the context of the evolution of the dynamical Earth system (Gaia). Can humanity trust any worldview to be the basis of good judgment absent the context of Gaia? The evidence is obvious and overwhelming that the answer is “no”.

First Advisor

Lynn Margulis

Second Advisor

Richard W. Wilkie

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