Let`s talk solutions!
Do you know about Biosphere II? (Read here about what went wrong.) There is some muttering about living on Mars. There has been some muttering about underground bunkers for elite survival. Somebody built a seed bank deep underground. Some folk have hope that – since we can build self-sutaining(-ish) space stations, we can figure out how to survive the eco-pocalypse we have kicked off.
So…. What about a collective action to preserve current biodiversity through building biospheres here, on earth? Is this feasible? Desirable?
(For more information on such projects, you can check out this link about C.E.LS.S. — Controlled Ecological Life Support System — which came to me via Logan Ray.)
The only possible *out* that remains, it seems to me, is to throw everything we have into designing isolated, partially buried biospheres.
By A1personage at en.wikipedia – Own workTransferred from en.wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17254898
I say this because current conditions look like they are going to wipe out almost all plant life. Both on land and in the waters. Through a combination of extremely rapid climate change, chaotic weather, and toxins that are everywhere. Let us not forget the nukes, the radiation.
So how about Biosphere 3?
First, it should not depend on any inputs, and should be sustainable indefinitely. Think about what that means for the structure itself. Any structure. The longest standing human structures are not looking too airtight. Is it conceivable to build airtight domes that could be repaired without materials brought in from outside those domes? In perpetuity? For how long, then?
Second, best to make sure they do not rely on any form of power other than sunlight and muscle, eh? Because you are not going to be growing biofuels in domes. And you are not going to be mining rare earth minerals and bauxite in domes, either.
Biospheres that do not include the use of any electricity or fuels of any kind to maintain are not, to my knowledge a conception in anyone`s mind. except mine as it popped in there this morning. 🙂
Biospheres need to cycle nitrogen-oxygen-carbon without any energetic systems or external inputs.
Biospheres must be able to protect their plant and animal inhabitants not only from the extremes of weather, but from radioactive fallout and the toxins we have spread everywhere.
We do not have this technology. No one is working on it.
The last time we gave this a go, the experiment failed horribly – the humans could not get along, locked up and confined, and oxygen had to be imported.
Does glass or plastic exist now that could repel radiation?
And what if solar radiation management (SRM) is tried? This would create a perpetual grey skies scenario. Should that be planned for?
What then if it isn`t deployed? The light conditions under an SRM regime are very different.
CR free image from Pexels
How could this be accounted for? Can we build anything that would bring in the sunlight, protect from radiation and work effectively under an SRM regime *and* without SRM?
Perhaps those folk working on the whole *escape to Mars* scheme are working on something like this. They had better be. But really, what are the chances they are planning as if external inputs and electricity won`t be available? Ever. And fuels won`t be available?
And, of course, such scheming violates utterly everything we know about what Nicole Foss calls *solution space*…In times of contraction – energetically, economically – huge endeavors like this biosphere idea are pure hopium. Governments & financial institutions and corporations juggling to prevent collapse are not in any position to fund such sci-fi ventures.
And then there are the ethics.
Let us say a few wildcard governments and gazillionaires threw their weight-cash at this biosphere project…
Let us say they were successful ….
Who gets to go and live there… like a peasant farmer-ecologist-zoo keeper in these biospheres?