Intro to Bio Paper





A biosphere is anywhere organisms live.1 Thus, any place on our green planet, or
microcosms within it, is a biosphere--more importantly it is the only one that we know
how to live off. A well known fact is that our biosphere is becoming less and less
suitable for sustaining our rapidly increasing population. Gross pollution caused by
industrialism and technological advances have seriously damaged the part of out
planet’s atmosphere made up of O3, most commonly referred to as Ozone. Anytime we
burn coal, wood, oil, or petroleum we are releasing into our atmosphere an invisible,
odorless gas, called carbon monoxide, which is eroding our atmosphere’s layer of
Ozone.2 Methyl Bromide is another culprit in ozone thinning, this chemical is used by
most all industrialized nations as a pesticide.3 For us to continue to thrive on this
planet’s surface the once unthought of ideal of “zero-emissions” must become a reality,
and quick.
An article in the March/April issue of Mother Jones entitled, “Nothing Wasted,
Everything gained” discusses the ecological progress that a town in Colombia has
made. Granted, we live in a very different world than these rural villagers do, we like to
think that our world is more complex. As of today cement covers well over one-quarter
of 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 completely
dependent upon oil, petroleum, and electricity-- comfort is mistaken for complexity.
Fossil fuels are our life’s blood that facilitate our comfortable travel to and from work and
school, and all our daily busyness. This article about a “zero-emissions” village in
Colombia proves that in fact the opposite may hold true; maybe these villagers are the
genius’ 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 village
of two hundred, been altered to facilitate travel over rough roads. For others, outside
the most wasteful nation in the world, life is a lot different. Their lives seem simple when
juxtaposed over ours, yet they prove to be genius using not a quarter of a million dollar
education, but good old common sense.
Another important step these villagers are taking is the complete removal of
ozone damaging pesticides like Methyl Bromide. They have done this by growing their
vegetables and herbs hydroponically. Hydroponic growing is essentially gardening
minus the soil, roots are immersed in water and produce perfectly ripened products. By
gardening in this manner the need for pesticides is erased. This is indoor gardening that
we could all learn to master because of it’s simplicity, yet a trip to the local corner store
will produce the same end result. If we are to overcome the ecological damage we have
already done we need drastic changes which include all forms of organic gardening.
And since photosynthesis is the process which changes CO2 to breathable oxygen the
more green plants there are the better off we are.
This project began in 1971 by Paolo Lugari and, “a handful of Bogota’ engineers
and soil chemists...to try to make an unlivable place livable.”4 The village, called las
Gaviotas, Lugari reasoned could be a starting point towards changing the pattern of
ecological existence. Little did Lugari know that one of the hottest topics for the year
1998, but 27 years later, would be the scientific communities, and NASA’s interest in the
population of Mars. Lugari’s project didn’t set out to change the standards of the way
popular culture operates, instead he set out to improve the living conditions of poor
villagers in an empty savanna in a third-world country using the materials at hand and a
large dose of practicality and common sense. If one has ever visited a country outside
of the major power yielding countries (i.e.. the UK, Japan) then Lugari’s quest becomes
ever so obvious, clean malaria-free water is a privilege, truly impoverished peoples live
in ran shack housing, and their immediate surroundings is their biosphere which
provides them with essentials. These truly are essentials, and if these are threatened in
any way then their subsistence may be in jeopardy, it seems like the villagers at las
Gaviotas have come to know this. They are doing more to try to help save the planet
because while rich suburbanites in America may be able to afford purified water and
sheik sunscreen, their economic status is one that if they cannot live off the fruits of the
environment as is,