A biosphere is anywhere organisms live. 1 Thus, any place on our green planet, ormicrocosms within it, is a biosphere–more importantly it is the only one that we knowhow to live off.
A well known fact is that our biosphere is becoming less and lesssuitable for sustaining our rapidly increasing population. Gross pollution caused byindustrialism and technological advances have seriously damaged the part of outplanets atmosphere made up of O3, most commonly referred to as Ozone. Anytime weburn coal, wood, oil, or petroleum we are releasing into our atmosphere an invisible,odorless gas, called carbon monoxide, which is eroding our atmospheres layer ofOzone. 2 Methyl Bromide is another culprit in ozone thinning, this chemical is used bymost all industrialized nations as a pesticide. 3 For us to continue to thrive on thisplanets surface the once unthought of ideal of zero-emissions must become a reality,An article in the March/April issue of Mother Jones entitled, Nothing Wasted,Everything gained discusses the ecological progress that a town in Colombia hasmade.
Granted, we live in a very different world than these rural villagers do, we like tothink that our world is more complex. As of today cement covers well over one-quarterof the continuous 48 states, most of this cement is in the forms of highways, byways,and interstates. Herein lies our complexity– we are a nation that is completelydependent upon oil, petroleum, and electricity– comfort is mistaken for complexity. Fossil fuels are our lifes blood that facilitate our comfortable travel to and from work andschool, and all our daily busyness. This article about a zero-emissions village inColombia proves that in fact the opposite may hold true; maybe these villagers are thegenius and we are the ignorance.
Cars do not spew their noxious fumes in this place ,instead villagers have bicycles that have, like most other innovations in this small villageof two hundred, been altered to facilitate travel over rough roads. For others, outsidethe most wasteful nation in the world, life is a lot different. Their lives seem simple whenjuxtaposed over ours, yet they prove to be genius using not a quarter of a million dollareducation, but good old common sense. Another important step these villagers are taking is the complete removal ofozone damaging pesticides like Methyl Bromide. They have done this by growing theirvegetables and herbs hydroponically.
Hydroponic growing is essentially gardeningminus the soil, roots are immersed in water and produce perfectly ripened products. Bygardening in this manner the need for pesticides is erased. This is indoor gardening thatwe could all learn to master because of its simplicity, yet a trip to the local corner storewill produce the same end result. If we are to overcome the ecological damage we havealready done we need drastic changes which include all forms of organic gardening.
And since photosynthesis is the process which changes CO2 to breathable oxygen themore green plants there are the better off we are. This project began in 1971 by Paolo Lugari and, a handful of Bogota engineersand soil chemists. . . to try to make an unlivable place livable. 4 The village, called lasGaviotas, Lugari reasoned could be a starting point towards changing the pattern ofecological existence.
Little did Lugari know that one of the hottest topics for the year1998, but 27 years later, would be the scientific communities, and NASAs interest in thepopulation of Mars. Lugaris project didnt set out to change the standards of the waypopular culture operates, instead he set out to improve the living conditions of poorvillagers in an empty savanna in a third-world country using the materials at hand and alarge dose of practicality and common sense. If one has ever visited a country outsideof the major power yielding countries (i. e. . the UK, Japan) then Lugaris quest becomesever so obvious, clean malaria-free water is a privilege, truly impoverished peoples livein ran shack housing, and their immediate surroundings is their biosphere whichprovides them with essentials.
These truly are essentials, and if these are threatened inany way then their subsistence may be in jeopardy, it seems like the villagers at lasGaviotas have come to know this. They are doing more to try to help save the planetbecause while rich suburbanites in America may be able to afford purified water andsheik sunscreen, their economic status is one that if they cannot live off the fruits of theenvironment as is, then they cant live. They are setting the example though, it ispossible, but is America ready to get off its addiction to oil? Thats a whole other story. It requires too much hard work.
The people of las Gaviotas dont dress in Armani andHillfiger they work very hard at collecting pine resin to be used in cosmetics, perfumes,paints, and in medicines instead of petroleum-based substances. The worker in thepine resin processing plant at las Gaviotas doesnt make a six figure salary, but he cango home at night knowing that he has caused no ill effects to the environment. It doesntseem to me that America is ready to make that distinct switch from materialism toAt las Gaviotas the elements which provide so much potential energy have beenharnessed. Solar kettles have been developed by Lugari to sterilize drinking water;this water can then be heated using solar water heaters to use in the hydroponicgrowing systems of this village.
5 Also windmills are used to convert the energy of thewinds into consumable energy. The energy potential of the sun and wind has beenknown for a while, as have the resources to build homes and automobiles using theserenewable energy resources. 6 Incorporating these changes though would require thatsome of the most powerful companies loose all their money, and that isnt going tohappen. It would also require that we alter our suburban landscaped with windmills andour beautiful houses with ugly solar panels, besides well be different than our neighborsBibliography: