Complexity and Evolving Synthetic Soil
Twenty-first century society draws from a world that is less determined by objects and increasingly shaped by connectivity. The clear either/or distinctions that formerly informed experience are being replaced by a much more fluid understanding of the world. Identity is not fixed, but shaped by networks where people and ‘things’ can coherently exist in many states. This ‘complex systems’* view extends to the characterization of nature, which is made up of many interacting bodies. Some of these are human, others living and many other participating agencies that are dynamic, yet are not thought of as being alive. Yet the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms represent different kinds of organizing networks that are entwined and constitute our living world.
Humans Caused Mass Extinctions Before There Were Even Humans
Humans and other hominids have a reputation for bringing about mass extinctions. Homo erectus has been blamed for the disappearance of many African carnivores, our ancestors likely caused the Pleistocene extinctions, and…
Man-Made Coral Reefs
Last week I had the pleasure of being the studio guest at the Earth Beat radio show. I was treated with examples of ‘artificial nature’ and asked to respond from a Next Nature perspective. Among them where these amazing underwater sculptures, created by Jason de Caires Taylor as a man-made coral reef to provide a habitat for sea-life and distract snorkelers from the vulnerable coral reefs elsewhere.
Listen to the entire Earth beat broadcast (mp3).
The Benefits of Artificial Wetlands
In 1994 researchers at Ohio State University created two artificial wetlands* in riverine basins in order to investigate their possible benefits, and whether they could replace those lost to environmental degradation. A key benefit would be the cleaning and filtering of polluted water.
The Mississippi watershed, like many other watershed regions, is affected by chemicals that turn about 7000 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico into a so-called ‘dead zone‘. This dead zone suffers from hypoxia, a condition that occurs when nitrates and phosphorus from fertilizers cause excessive growth of algae. These algal blooms deplete the water of almost all oxygen, making it dangerous for fish and other animals. Ohio State University wanted to find out if the design of these artificial wetlands would work.