The Biosphere Next Door

By Wendy Cole, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

The Ocean Habitat

The Ocean Habitat

This weekend REALTOR® magazine Editor in Chief Stacey Moncrieff and I entered Biosphere 2, the 7.2 million cubic ft., sealed glass structure where eight Biospherians famously spent two years growing their own food, recycling their own water and waste, and, according to media accounts, getting on each other’s nerves. The experiment, which started in 1991, was intended to increase understanding of the feasibility of space colonization, by recreating Earth’s natural environments under a series of giant lattice-windowed domes.

While the United States isn’t quite ready to develop a subdivision on Mars, our 90-minute tour of the enclosed rainforest, desert, ocean, and residences revealed how prescient the Biospherians and their funders were. Biosphere 2 (Earth itself was considered the original Biosphere) was a shining example of the potential for sustainable, eco-friendly living back in the day when “green” was nothing more than a color. The facility seemed far more expansive than what I remember from TV and is well worth a visit if you’re in the Tucson area.

Ownership of the three-acre facility has changed hands several times since the experiments ended, and Biosphere 2 is now being leased by the University of Arizona for further research on climate change and other Earthly matters.

One thing that hasn’t changed is its next-door neighbor. The sprawling ranch adjacent to Biosphere 2 is owned by 2009 NAR President-Elect Vicki Cox Golder and her husband Lloyd Golder, who we were visiting for an upcoming magazine feature.

It really is a small world.

Wendy Cole

Wendy Cole is the Editor of REALTOR® Magazine.

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