Scientists Created An Enclosed, Artificial Environment That Failed Due To One Crucial Mistake Necessary For All Life To Thrive

December 30, 2014

It's amazing what humanity can learn from nature.

The Biosphere 2 project was created in 1991 as a research tool for scientists to study Earth's living systems, and it allowed scientists to play with farming and innovation in a way that didn't harm the planet.

Biosphere 2 failed from wind and stress
Credit: Rex and Nancy Travels

One of the most profound discoveries made by the scientists had nothing to do with a cure for some new disease or a new way of farming land. Rather, the discovery had to do with the wind's role in a tree's life.

The trees inside Biosphere 2 grew rapidly, more rapidly than they did outside of the dome, but they also fell over before reaching maturation. After looking at the root systems and outer layers of bark, the scientists came to realize that a lack of wind in Biosphere 2 caused a deficiency of stress wood. Stress wood helps a tree position itself for optimal sun absorption and it also helps trees grow more solidly.

Without stress wood, a tree can grow quickly, but it cannot support itself fully. It cannot withstand normal wear and tear, and survive. In other words, the trees needed some stress in order to thrive in the long run.

Biosphere 2 failed from wind and stress
Credit: Lauren Easby

So what can we learn from this about ourselves?

For us to reach our full potential, we need stress too.

Learning to engage with stress and manage the consequences of choices is actually the richer, more fulfilling road to success. Rather than avoid stress, we need to embrace it - turn our sails toward the wind, make decisions, and learn to adapt.

In the long run - the deeper your roots will grow, the stronger your skills will be, and the more successful you will become.

Via Travis Brownley, The Necessity Of Stress.

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