As Chief Engineering Officer for a major security systems company and owner of By Referral Only Electric, Roy Bartholomew of Sonora, California, provides engineering, design work, and consulting services for biodomes and other engineered ecosystems. He knows that since the beginning of mankind, the human race has always sought ways to harness the power of nature for sustainability and shelter.
But, today’s ecological environment is facing unprecedented challenges, from global climate change to air pollution and overcoming drainage and sewage problems that can lead to flooding – which creates a negative quality of life and the destruction of plants, livestock, and wildlife.
Even under optimistic climate change scenarios, where societies enact ambitious efforts to limit global temperature rise, global agriculture is facing a new climate reality.”
Bartholomew sees biodomes, which are engineered ecosystems, as the future of farming. The name biodome literally means “house of life.” Here, scientists can create a healthy environment where winter and summer are the same, and the air quality is promoted through a natural air purification system.
This scientific approach to ecosystems can prove to be a major benefit to future agriculture in many ways. According to NASA, global climate change is expected to have a profound and negative effect on our food supply within ten years. In urban communities, the creation of more vertical tower farming, biodomes, aeroponics, aquaculture, and hydroponic ways of growing crops will be necessary, Roy Bartholomew believes.
“Climate change may affect the production of maize (corn) and wheat as early as 2030 under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario.”
Even rural farms may need to transition to this urban biodome farming method because the list of biodiversity issues in rural spaces continues to develop. This includes land degradation caused by soil contamination and soil erosion. Also, the very process of clearing land for agriculture and deforestation creates even more agricultural issues that are only enhanced by the greenhouse effect and climate change.
The University of California at Berkley cites the depletion of many old-growth temperate forests due to logging that has destroyed many biological communities where multiple species depend on each other to survive. We are currently seeing the state of California, which is renowned for its bounty of dairy products, row crops, vine crops, fruit trees, and animal-feed crops, experiencing extreme drought conditions, dry wells, and government-regulated water usage for farmers.
Biodomes create a perfect environment for animals and plants and can be the answer to many farming issues. We need more government and private sector funding and research to explore the endless opportunities of engineered environments to support agriculture and possible space colonization, such as the project spearheaded by billionaire and environmentalist Ed Bass.
“In the middle of the Arizona desert lies a 12700m2 (3.14 acre) research facility that was designed to mimic earth’s complex natural systems. This giant greenhouse building is known as Biosphere. The project hoped to demonstrate the feasibility of space colonization by recreating the earth’s ecological systems inside of an artificial habitat.”
Roy Bartholomew of Sonora, CA, believes there will be difficulties growing and harvesting enough food to feed a growing global population. Maybe biodome farming can prevent a future shortage of crop yield and even currently serve arid countries that have access to plenty of solar energy but are very short on rainfall.