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Biosphere 2: Into the Big Terrarium

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Situated in the heart of Arizona, Biosphere 2 serves as a groundbreaking ecological research facility, meticulously designed to replicate Earth's various ecosystems. This monumental glass structure encapsulates an array of biomes, ranging from lush rainforests to expansive oceans, facilitating unparalleled research on ecological interactions and sustainability. Scientists at Biosphere 2 undertake critical studies, examining the intricate web of life and its resilience against environmental challenges, thus offering invaluable insights into our planet's future.
Last Modified: March 24, 2024

Research Domes in the Desert

Biosphere 2 Arizona 2023 6
Biosphere 2 - Domes In The Desert

Writing travelogues is really not my thing. It is M’s thing. What can I say about the physical details of this place that the Wikipedia article couldn’t relate with far better detail and accuracy? Not much. 

I could express the boondoggle of it’s initial expense, the problems that plagued the experiment and the bad science that ended it.

Or I could take the rosy view and talk about the many lessons learned when good science was happening.

Or, I could talk about the research currently being conducted there on the nature and impact of climate change on various ecosystems. But, my readers will either think its total BS and the climate is fine, or, they’ll agree but won’t be nearly as alarmed as they should be. Both groups thinking they have a grip on climate science when climate scientists don’t really have a grip on climate science. The grip they do have scares the hell out of most of ’em. The ones who get the law of unintended consequences? They’re terrified. Me? I’m inclined to go stand in the corner at the end-times party and just watch while I wait for Jesus to show up. 

I never expected this much absurdity. Okay, that was a depressing start. But how else do you start after a visit to a really awesome collection of ecosystems under domes in the desert devoted to researching climate change? Yeah well, all that is what it is. And as long as big oil has control of the legislative process and consumerism with all the trimmings has control of people’s hearts it is what it is and will be what it will be and all I can do is offer the warning. You’ve been warned.

A Beautiful Spot to Relax and Learn

Okay, one ot the things M loves about me is that I am a child. When I am somewhere new and cool I turn from a crochety doom-singing 61-year old into an exuberant 8-year old with a camera who knows how to take great pictures of things he kind of sees. 

Probably one of the reasons I am so generally happy and positive most of the time. The 8-year old is easy to reach, all that takes is some pencils. And I realize the weight of climate change isn’t mine to carry.  It’s my job to live responsibly with regards to resource usage and waste footprint. Its also my job to understand the problem as best I can in order to effectively execute strategies within the scope of that individual responsibility. Fixing people who live in disregard for such concerns and get their understanding of the issue from social media memes and well paid “experts” parroting biased politicized viewpoints? Not remotely my job.

Biosphere 2 Entrance
Biosphere 2 Entrance
Thergrounds Outside Have Abundant Native Plant Life
Abundant Native Plant Life
Rocks And Minerals From The Region Are All Over
Rocks And Minerals From The Region Are All Over

If I were a smart man...

I would take notes so I could look back at all these pictures when I am posting this a year after the fact and be able to say… “And here is the Baja Coastal Desert environment.” But no. I’m too busy being a child. When was the last time you asked an 8 year old to slow down and do something as mundane as note-taking when there was things to be seen and experienced?

Thus we have no idea what pictures were taken in what ecosystem except for the obvious ones. So you get my impressions and general thoughts about the place. The Basics? Currently managed by the University of Arizona, which conducts research on issues like climate change, water use, and sustainability. The facility covers 3.14 acres and consists of several biome areas, including a rainforest, an ocean with a coral reef, mangrove wetlands, a savannah grassland, a fog desert, and agricultural areas.

My favorite was the Baja Coastal Fog Desert, but each ecosystem has its own set of awesomeness to enjoy. It is a place best given a few a few hours. If you’re a plaque reader give yourself the day. Did you ever try and get an eight year old to stop and read plaques?

At one point I remember thinking they should have native reptiles in each biome. I mean, good science requires replicating the environment exactly right? 

“And step quickly and carefully through the rainforest folks in here is a seven-foot murder missile that looks like a pile of moss. If it bites you, you’ll miss the mangrove biome.”

Domes In The Desert
Domes In The Desert And Plants From Practically Everywhere
The Giant Terrarium Takes Time To Walk Through
The Giant Terrarium Takes Time To Walk Through
But It Was Worth Every Step Through Ecosystem After Magical Ecosystem
But It Was Worth Every Step Through Ecosystem After Magical Ecosystem

Would I go Back

Oh sure. I thought the place was fantastic, but once I turn into a child anywhere is. And what’s more fun than A giant Terrarium, even without the snakes?

Honestly, it would be great to revisit and see what new has been learned in their research. I encourage everyone to go for and let your inner eight-year-old out, but also learn about a critical issue facing us in an environment of science, not political rhetoric.

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What’s more fun than A giant Terrarium, even without the snakes?

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