The various sizes of and shapes of Ecospheres

The various sizes of and shapes of Ecospheres

As you may know, I am very passionate about the concepts of sustainability.  For my birthday this year, my thoughtful wife and son gave me a living example of sustainability that sits on my desk and reminds me to work on this topic everyday.  It is called an EcoSphere and I got it from EcoProducts Home Store here in Boulder (they are folks who also provide all of our compostables that help us approach zero waste here at Rally – they are a great Boulder success story).

The Ecosphere is a completely closed world and is self-sustainable. It was developed by two NASA scientists (the late Dr. Joe Hanson and the late Dr. Clair Folsome) trying to create models for long-term space flight.  In it you will find algae, shrimp and bacteria living in a closed cycle with sun light as energy. (Learn more about EcoSphere’s sustainable model on their site.)

At $125 for a small sphere they are a bit pricey, but they are fun to watch, people always notice the shrimp moving around on my desk.  After attending Thomas Friedman’s talk on “Hot, Flat and Crowded,” I realize they are just another part of my “work in progress” to living sustainably in the U.S.  These do not feed me like my chickens and goats, but they also do not eat like my dogs and cats.

EcoSphere and sustainability

Here is mine on my desk - cool eh?

Definitely the most common question is:  “Are those sea monkeys?“  According to the web site, they live 2 to 7 years with really no maintenance and NO they are not sea monkey branded brine shrimp.

This EcoSphere keeps me focused on the long road of continuous improvement needed to make our industry a zero carbon footprint or sustainable industry.  We are currently on the road to be a larger emitter of CO2 than the airline industry by 2020.

We have to find the innovations in infrastructure, the methods and tools to reverse this.  My of view of how to reverse this behavior is through the emerging software value cycle that is made possible by SaaS/Clouds, Agile development and Web 2.0 customer communities.  You can read my thoughts on these topics or hear a MassTech webinar.

shrimp in Eco-sphere

I have about 15 of these guys in my Eco-sphere.

I believe that with the change to Lean thinking – from products to services and with virtual connections to customers – we can learn to quickly adapt and adopt to new sustainable products and behaviors.

We need a value chain in the IT industry that is closed loop and sustainable, not open loop like the Story of Stuff.

I encourage you to take a moment and consider getting one of these model worlds for yourself or your best friends.  It will keep you on the road to smarter, leaner and greener.

About the Author: Ryan Martens is an avid outdoorsman, founding board member of the EFCO, and Founder and CTO at Rally Software Development. Subscribe today to get free updates by email or RSS.

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