We have to ask ourselves the painful question: are we seeking the survival of the largest number of humans, regardless of their condition, or seeking the survival of as many as we can keep in an acceptable condition? (110)
[…] in reality we are not thinking of saving Gaia, we are thinking of saving the Earth for us, or for our nation. […] If I am right to think that our species is evolving maybe to become part of a planetary intelligence, then our most important task for Gaia, as well as for ourselves, is to ensure that enough of is survive to sustain our role as the first species to sense, think about and act to oppose adverse environmental change. […] We are not yet clever nor determined enough to serve in this way, but we could still be the progenitors of those that can. (111)
Perhaps a similar suspension of democracy [as in WWII] will be needed when climate and other changes become as serious and as deadly as a major war. (120)
[Urbanisation might be] a powerful, benign force leading us to a future existence in city super-organisms. (123)
My hope is that we survive and evolve further to the point where we are as much a part of our living planet as our brains are of us. (131)It's clear that, whatever he claims, Lovelock remains a population pessimist. It's also clear that when he asks, rhetorically, 'are we seeking the survival of the largest number of humans, regardless of their condition, or seeking the survival of as many as we can keep in an acceptable condition?' he is erring on the side of urban air-con for the few rather than subsistence for the many.
[We have] to trust in Gaia to regulate the Earth as she has done since life began, and retreat to the best cities that we can design and build with the objective of saving as many of us as we can […]. (156)
The system cannot sustain the present level of human population for very much longer. (169)
His 'optimism' is of the techno-utopian variety. The wretched of the Earth remain wretched and voiceless, albeit perhaps with a little more hope for the future thanks to the evolution-accelerating brilliance of inventors (such as James Lovelock).
His pessimistic predictions are never issued with anything like a sense of endorsement or approval; it would be utterly unfair to suggest that. However, he makes them with such an air of blithe disinterest and detachment that he is basically acquiescent to this future. Add to this the extreme superorganic naturalism that he forces upon human political organisation and he is only ever a stone's throw from endorsing the future he foretells. He endorses it teleologically if not morally.
'Resistance is futile in the face of Gaia's evolution'—that is the persisting subtext.