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anarchitect ⚑

Pinned toot

"We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities." ~ B Mollison

The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago.

The next best time is now.

But don't expect to harvest anything this year if you're only planting the tree now. Not even if you plant a hundred trees. Not even if you throw all the horse shit you can manage at the field, either.

- Jaycie Holder on project management

@evanarchitective If you were gonna raise the panels up about seven feet (I recall this being about the best height to catch condensation) and then insulate the backs of the panels then there would be a lot more water harvested. I think that condensers are where it's at when it comes to dry climates near coasts or places with a lot of humid air.I imagine that a slightly humid micro-climate could be made around a body of water or a small grove of large trees. Huge nets used near the Atacama to catch fog off the ocean.

@evanarchitective Growing veggies through hot, dry summers is probably made easier under solar panels. If they were spaced apart you could probably get enough light to the plants that they'd keep growing fast. The panels also catch tons of water that could be used to irrigate. Perty cool!

More biosphere2 pics:

An aquaponics setup producing fish and veggies, though they admitted using some amount of commercial fish feed. It seems to me that one could reduce the required feed by using a light to attract insects to the water for the fish to eat...

Some crops growing underneath solar panels, a system termed "agrovoltaics." Many crops thrive in partial shade, so this seems like a good way to stack functions in a limited space.

I don't know of another closed system research facility that's as big and elaborate as biosphere2, so it's too bad they're not really doing much closed system research there anymore...

The closest thing they're doing these days is what they call a landscape observation experiment in what was originally the system's agricultural area. They've got these massive sloping steel troughs embedded with sensors and filled with volcanic gravel.

Apparently, biosphere2 had to have these huge domes with massive rubber artificial lungs to regulate the atmospheric pressure inside the closed system so that it wouldn't blow out the windows. An engineering marvel, for sure, but a more open system could use the earth's lungs and be able to devote more space and energy to plant growth.

At one point, biosphere2 had over 3800 different varieties of plants on 3.14 acres enclosed in glass and sealed away from both the outside world and even the earth below. The history of the project is really interesting and I encourage you to peruse the wikipedia article if you haven't before.

More than a thousand different species of plants per acre is a high bar to meet, but I think I'd like to try, and on a shoestring budget to boot. Just not trying to hermetically seal it should save tons.

Cold microclimates are basically unrepresented in biosphere2. Maybe they just didn't consider the relatively sparse tundra, alpine meadows, and boreal forests as worth including in their model. Maybe it's prohibitively expensive to produce cold microclimates in the hot climate in which biosphere2 is located.

This is part of why I'm thinking that an optimal site for the kind of hyperdiversity I want to pursue might actually, perhaps paradoxically, be the high cold desert...

Biosphere2 was originally intended for closed system research, like a giant terrarium. This seems like critical work that still needs to be done if we are go to / .

While I found a lot of their work inspiring and fascinating, the focus of my aspirations is on more open and more microclimatically and biologically diverse systems. While biosphere2 had a rainforest, a desert, and a tiny ocean in a small sealed area, I envision a yet wider variety of microclimates on a small open site.

Finally visited the 2 research station on a road trip with fam through the desert southwest.

Inspiring. My mind is racing with ideas towards my aspirations of building a / / .

But first here's some pix I snapped while visiting

Here's an example of an art project involving growing food:
There's a park near where I'm living with a few ponds, greasy lawn and asphalt all around. People run around on the big turf but the margins are barely ever trafficked. Lots of blank canvas to work with.
Here's a picture of the corner of a sloping parking lot that gathers hundreds of gallons of water when it rains and funnels it into one spot.
The weeds are golden rod and evening primrose, which are mildly edible but them being there is just an indication of how much water surges down the nice sloped lawn.
If that water was slowed along that slope and held in the soil under flowers and vegetables and even fruit trees it would be a drastically different environment. A practical art piece in the park that people can eat rather than quickly bustle by the greasy lawn. If the logistics and aesthetics were worked out on a small park there's no telling what iterations could be unleashed on the whole city.

I'll admit, I didn't know what I was doing and accidentally joined the art instance. But art is form fitting. I probably draw and write more than I actually implement the sort of art that I'm most interested in. Namely, growing food.
Growing food IS a lot like other more conventional art forms. People feed on paintings and writing with there minds and eyes. Food is just a gastrointestinal experience. With a brush or stylus artists generally fill the the void or take advantage of negative space. With farmers the implements are seed and (if sensible) biomass.
The possibilities of a painting or a novel are just as limitless as cultivating sustenance. It's that ever tweaking, defining, and filling out possibilities that really intrigues me about growing food. I've always wanted to be a starving farmer.

Sopranica is a surveillance-free cellular network built by volunteers from around the world. It’s easy to use and free to set up.

Here's a I started building after high tide while the ocean was in retreat. I would have liked to have spent all day at the beach and extended my micro-earthworks down to the low tide, then watched the tide come back in and fill in all my little ditches and ponds...

are fun

Brain: So what are we hunting and/or gathering today, buddy?

Me: I told you, we live in a complex modern society and we don't hunt or gather. Instead we just worry about paying all our bills and also the complex web of ideology and global politics that threatens to destroy us basically always.

Brain: Hmm, I don't think I was built for that.

This is a love that equals in its power the love of man for woman and reaches inwards as deeply. It is the love of a man or of a woman for their world. For the world of their centre where their lives burn genuinely and with a free flame...

while hard surfaces are great for wheeled conveyance, footpaths could be much softer, instead of unyielding concrete, how about mulch (or even a living groundcover on low-traffic paths)

and to the extent that we still have to have highways and roads, at least have a strip of trees or shrubs, (better yet, a raised berm with productive trees and shrubs on it,) as a protective barrier between pedestrians/cyclists and those loud stinky speeding death machines...

seems like much of our transportation infrastructure currently is needlessly wasteful, fragile, and hazardous to life

instead of slicing ecosystems apart into fragmented isolated archipelagos amidst endless dead grids of asphalt and concrete,

let us knit together an unbroken living web of interconnected wild habitat, foot and bike trails, networks of ponds and swales, and integrated forest gardens that can more directly and efficiently supply our needs for food, energy, shelter, materials, etc