The New World

The new undiscovered world captures the imagination and calls to explorers and scientists alike. The “New World” for Europeans in the 1400s didn’t just bring us Columbus, Vespucci, and colonization, but it also brought the scientists, the travel journals, and the botanists. Today, environmentalists, naturalists, botanists, hobbyists look to enclosed systems for study. On a small scale, a terrarium can show kids how a world might begin, change, grow. (If you’re interested in this science experiment, take a look at the article on Lifehaker & the Instructions at Instructable.)

Reusing Lightbulbs as Planters or Mini-Terrariums

Reusing Lightbulbs as Planters or Mini-Terrariums by Jason Fitzpatrick at

On an even larger scale, we have the Biosphere 2 in Arizona and BIOS-3 in Siberia. These are large bio-domes with not only enclosed ecosystems, but human habitation as well. Biosphere 2 has been considered a failure. It failed in the ability for humans to live in the dome for long periods (as you might expect, there was infighting of the full-on soap opera sort). It failed in a business sense, and as the ecosystem didn’t sustain itself, it failed in the scientific sense. Both of these projects are no longer sustained.

All that aside, it does bring the question of how man approaches the new world and new ecosystems. Must man colonize and overtake, as the example of the Americas so well represents? Can man create a livable ecosystem for space travel, exploration, and settling?

The most recent and most notable look at this concept is the movie Avatar. The idea of Earth and how it approaches the resources of a un-plundered new world.

Two recent science fiction romance reads are also wonderful looks at the concept of a future Earth/Human kind and their approach to new worlds and indigenous people. Take a look at Close Encounters by Katherine Allred, a prime example of an indigenous people endangered by the corporation (advanced civilization). And The Host by Stephanie Meyer, where the concept is turned on its head. Humans are the “backward” indigenous and a more civilized alien race comes to call.


Ella Drake is a dark paranormal and science fiction romance author. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, & Goodreads.


  1. Love the lightbaulb as a planter. Great idea!

  2. I love the lightbulb terrarium!

    as for new worlds to conquer/colonise. Oh lordy. It’s the weekend and I’m too tired … maybe Monday 🙂

  3. I’m not sure I have any “regular” lightbulbs in my house anymore. They all seem to be the curly fluorescent kind. Hard to make a terrarium out of those 🙂

    I think it’s human nature to be the master of the domain, but I like the turned on its head concept of humans being the conquered. Kind of a wake-up call to how we tend to treat other civilizations/environments. However, I don’t know if creating a sustainable habitat like Biosphere will “fix” our need to be in charge of everything we touch. Just because we’d be able to control a man-made environment won’t guarantee we’d leave others alone.

  4. I didn’t realize Biosphere 3 had also failed. Too bad. I fear for life on Mars. 😉 I do think it is part of our nature to push to be in control. I hope we have learned some thing about what our controlling does to other societies, but I fear the reality would be the same event happening again and again. Asuming we survive first contact of course. It isn’t the aliens that will take us out but the alien germs.

    PS, My daughter now NEEDS a lightbulb terrarium, thanks.

  5. So… this is a bit embarrassing, but I can’t stop thinking of that movie, Bio-Dome. And I’m imagining those other attempts ending in a similar, but much less spectacular manner. It doesn’t bode well for space colonization, assuming that will ever be in the cards!

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