Student Corner


Q: Who Am I?

A: You are an "animal" — a hyperactive biped with a big brain. You are solar powered as all your energy needed to move around and live, comes from the sun. Your body is made of 100%-recycled material from somewhere else. You are over 65% di-hydrogen monoxide (H2O) with some macromolecular thickening to keep you from flowing away. As a "water blob" that has sprung numerous 'leaks' (breathing, sweating, peeing) you need to replenish your supply with 2-4 litres of the good stuff each day. You are a member of the species known as Homo sapien sapien — the 'wise one'. Hmmm. There are way over 6 billion of our kind on this planet — the most numerous large animal — and most unexploited food supply on earth.

Q: What Am I?

A: You're composed of about 100 billion cells, roughly the same number as stars in the Milky Way Galaxy or galaxies in the known universe. You are a complex air filter that takes around 18,000 gulps of a nitrogen-oxygen mix each day. When you breathe out, you enrich your surroundings with carbon dioxide. You are a heat machine that produces the same amount of energy as a 100W light bulb. As a solar powered creature you get all your energy from the stored sunlight in the food you eat. You chew between 5,000 to 10,000 times a day (most folks have well developed chaw muscles) depending on how much you eat, whether you're into gum and how much food you swallow whole. You create your body weight in garbage each day the product of the abundant energy and materials used to support your lifestyle.

Q: Where am I?

A: You live on a pale blue dot of a rock as seen from Neptune, a planet way out there on the outer margins of our solar system. Our rock is moving at 100,000 km/hr on an elliptical path around a star — a journey of almost 1 billion km. That takes 365 days to complete. This blue planet, our home, has many names — 'miracle planet', 'oasis in space', 'garden planet', 'sunship 3', or 'home planet' are just a few. Pinned by gravity, you are enmeshed in an interdependent, interconnected web of 10 million plus other species that forms a giant self regulating 'super cell' called Earth. It is 150 million kilometres from a medium sized star or 'yellow dwarf' called Sun — the nearest star in a cluster of 100 billion stars called the Milky Way Galaxy.

The planet that should have been called 'Water' (since that's what covers 75% of it) only has 15% of its surface capable of growing things well. You happen to live in one of the most ecologically productive zones within that small slice of 'living planet'. The temperate rainforest that you live in is up there with tropical rainforests, estuaries, mangrove swamps and coral reefs for highest levels of natural wealth whose value far exceeds the income generated by selling off the trees, harvesting the fish or paving over the land.

This precious place on earth, your home, is downwind of our planet's largest swimming pool (summer) and heat radiator (come winter) — the mighty Pacific Ocean. You live at the leading edge of North America as it drifts westward at the speed your fingernail grows. A big piece of sea floor under the eastern Pacific is moving in the opposite direction sliding beneath the bigger North American plate. Of course it doesn't go down smoothly but rather in a series of sudden lurches. As it descends it melts and so we live atop a major collision zone which of course is going to result in quick, unexpected plate movements (earthquakes) and/or significant 'earth burps' or volcanic eruptions.

"I'd rather sit on a pumpkin and have it to myself than to be crowded on a red velvet cushion."
Henry David Thoreau

Q: What's for dinner?

A: Something that was once alive.

Q: What am I doing here?

A: Good question. Going wild (more time in wild Nature) might help you answer that. So long as part of the time you are silent, all alone and still. There's got to be a reason that we have 2 ears and only one mouth.


Next >> Photo Gallery