Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sustainable Spheres

The international community is on the edge of science as pure imagination is fast becoming reality. The continuous growth of technological advances allows society to have a substantial impact on the planet and everyone on it. The biosphere is the global sum of all ecosystems. It is the place on Earth’s surface that all life dwells. Biosphere 2 was created in the mid-eighties as an attempt at artificially engineering such a complex and diverse range of natural systems. The implications of Biosphere 2 open up an opportunity to bridge the industrialization and the urbanization of developing nations.


Biosphere 2 is a tightly sealed glass and steel structure on 3.15 acres near Oracle, Arizona in which scientists have created seven complete ecosystems or biomes that mirror those of Earth. This ground-breaking structure is the world’s largest and most complex closed ecological research facility. Over 1,000 sensors distributed throughout the Biosphere send information to the sophisticated monitoring and control system located on-site at Mission Control. With this new technology, they tested a variety of topics including potable water generation, atmospheric sealing, atmospheric expansion and contraction, and the behaviour of life systems inside a closed ecological system. They also manipulated carbon dioxide levels for global warming research, and injected desired amounts of carbon dioxide, venting as needed.
So what purpose did this great achievement spawn from? Obviously there is a great amount of research and future education that can benefit from this monumental experiment, but is there a more meaningful, more substantial reason to justify this 200 million dollar project?


There are two trains of thoughts when considering the possible applications of biosphere research. One option is space colonization. Once all the non-renewable resources in the world are depleted and population exceeds a sustainable way of life, civilization will have a secondary world to fall back on. Space Biospheres Ventures (SBV) is a private ecological research firm formed to pioneer research in the field of biospherics, the study and construction of closed, self-regulating, self-sustaining, ecological systems.

The other idea is using the research found to have a profound effect on the innovation of current environmental technologies, ushering society into a new era of sustainability. On just one-half acre of land, the biospherians grow, harvest and process their food— while keeping the soil highly fertile and using only non-polluting pest control methods. Application on Earth of similar systems show promise for reducing ground water pollution from agricultural chemicals, production of pesticide-free foods and more efficient food production. Rather than relocation, this train of thought approaches the idea of creating a more sustainable planet both in the health of our environment and in the well-being of the individuals that make up society.



When dealing with global disparity an individual requires food, water, and shelter. Though simply providing this service can become a cycle of helplessness and dependence. The essence of the biosphere 2 is the pursuit towards knowledge of sustainability. The people who will benefit most from these advances are those in developing nations. Obviously a 200 million dollar biosphere will not be built in every developing nation, though the information we acquire from Biosphere 2 will have a direct effect on the understanding of the biosphere that is Earth.

Throughout history developing nations have been victims of western exploitation and national corruption. If they can find a way to apply these self-sustaining techniques, such as water filtration and engineered agriculture that are introduced by the biosphere 2, their lives would have the opportunity to ascend from poverty into beneficial urbanity.

This video from TED talks interviews a scientist who lived in Biosphere 2 for two years. It is definately worth viewing:






Work Cited:

Lord Martin Rees - The Future:
Eden Project:
Biosphere 2:
Implications:
Posted by: Simon McKenzie

36 comments:

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    ........................................

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  3. 當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。..................................................................

    ReplyDelete
  4. 一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼.................................................................

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  8. 知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。............................................................

    ReplyDelete