Pushing Our Limits
Insights from Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2 helped change public understanding of what our global biosphere is and how it provides for our health and well-being. However, the experiment is often dismissed as a failure, and news outlets at the time focused on interpersonal conflicts and unexpected problems that arose. Delving past the sensationalism, Nelson presents the goals and results of the experiment, addresses the implications of the project for our global situation, and discusses how the project’s challenges and successes can change our thinking about Biosphere 1: the Earth.
Pushing Our Limits offers insights from the project that can help us deal with our global ecological challenges. It also shows the intense and fulfilling connection the biospherians felt with their life support system and how this led to their vigilant attention to its needs.
With current concerns of sustainability and protection of our global biosphere, as well as the challenge of learning how to support life in space and on Mars, the largest, longest, and most important experiment in closed ecosystems is more relevant than ever. The book explores Biosphere 2’s lessons for changing technology to support and not destroy nature and for reconnecting people to a healthy relationship with nature.
“With a fascinating account of the challenges faced in maintaining quality of the air and water inside, the author makes the case that many of the lasting lessons of the experiment may be applicable right here on Earth where
climate change and environmental pollution have assumed centre stage in a way not foreseen at the time of the closure of Biosphere 2.”—Conservation and Society
“For those who wish to understand B2’s history and the impact it had on those involved, I commend Mark’s candid account.”—Geographical
“A fascinating account of the largest, longest, and most important experiment in closed ecosystems ever conducted.”—Chris McKay, Senior Scientist, NASA
“In the early 1990s eight people sealed themselves into a self-contained ecosystem in the Arizona desert. Two decades later, Mark Nelson reflects on his experience inside Biosphere 2 as a microcosm of our global challenges with water, food, and energy. Only with a deep understanding of the biosphere’s workings, Nelson argues, can humanity craft an ethical relationship with the planet Earth.”—Melissa L. Sevigny, author of Under Desert Skies: How Tucson Mapped the Way to the Moon and Planets