LIFE UNDER DOMES
Oda Molden, Bachelor program in physiotherapy, Institute for Health and Care Sciences,
UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
‘Life under domes’ is set in a futuristic world after considerable further destruction has led to inhospitable, unstable weather conditions. While this has pushed human, animal and plant life into new urban settings inside domes that are safe for living, there seems to be a positive and hopefully energy contained within these domes. Technology is highly advanced and humans, robots, and artificial intelligence seem to live and work peacefully side-by-side, ensuring healthy ecosystems, fostering biodiversity, and good mental and physical health alike. Building domes and a variety of ecosystems within them becomes a healthcare intervention in itself, as it provides shelter and rehabilitative spaces for humans, plants and animals. In its exploration of new tasks for both well-established and new reasons, ‘Life under domes’ transports a sense that future societies cannot repeat what has happened ‘out there’ before. To have good health, the environmental must be protected wherever we are.
Life under domes
It’s an entirely normal day. The year is 2139. The sun shines in the window and fills the room with a warm and lovely color. Cathrine wakes up and stretches in bed. She gets up slowly as she tries to rub the sleep out of her eyes. She sticks her feet into the furry, pink slippers that stand below the bed and reaches for the gray dressing gown that wraps around you like a big blanket. Then she wanders out of the room and into the kitchen. As she enters the kitchen, she mumbles, “a cup of black coffee,” walks to the kitchen counter and leans against it. With tired eyes she sees that the machine puts out a cup and starts brewing. The black coffee begins to fill the cup and an artificial smell spreads in the room.
After only a few seconds, she hears a cheerful little melody that signals that her coffee is ready. She grimaces a little smile as she puts her lips to the cup – she just can’t get completely used to the artificial taste. Coffee is now a commodity that is almost impossible to obtain. This is because global warming over the last hundred years has caused the climate to change drastically. It has become warmer and wetter, and the coffee bushes are unable to live in too hot a climate, which has led to coffee now being in short supply. Cathrine got to taste coffee when she was younger, while she now only ever gets artificial coffee. Only the very richest in society now have the money and resources to get real coffee.
Cathrine takes the steaming hot cup with her and sits down in the armchair in the living room. Here she has large panoramic windows that open up to a completely unique view. Just now, the sun is shining, and it is almost completely cloudless, but she knows that this can change quickly. Due to climate change in the last hundred years, the weather has now become extremely changeable, such that it can go from relatively high temperatures to low temperatures very quickly. Cathrine takes another sip of coffee before calling out into the room: “Aurora, get the weather forecast and temperature for today.” “Right away”, you hear a soft female voice answer. “The weather for today starts with sun and 17 degrees, but in the afternoon, it will be cloudy, rain, strong wind and as low as 4 degrees. At night, the temperature will drop to -7 and it will freeze”, says the female voice into the room.
Cathrine sighs quietly to herself as she replies, “Thank you. Turn on the water purifier, please, and prepare a shower”. Not everyone has access to clean water anymore, but machines have been invented that can purify and reuse the water that comes down in the frequent, large storms. She puts her coffee cup on the kitchen counter and then wanders into the bathroom. The digital clock that hangs on the wall shows the numbers 07:45 as she wanders past. She realizes that she has spent a little longer than usual and is starting to to run a little later. “Aurora, put out a new uniform, socks and underwear for me, please,” says Cathrine as she enters the bathroom to undress. “Right away,” a voice replies from within the house. Cathrine smiles to herself and goes into the shower.
Exactly 15 minutes later, Cathrine is ready to dress and comb out the tangles in her wet hair. When she’s done, she quickly brushes her teeth and grins at herself in the mirror before picking up a bag and going out the door. On the way out the door she shouts: “Aurora, please lock up for me, I’m going to work!”. The door closes and you hear it lock. Cathrine presses the bracelet around her wrist and a digital screen appears that lights up at 08:05. “Damn!” She hisses. “Too late for work – again!”, she says to herself as she jumps on her jet board parked downstairs and whizzes down the road.
Cathrine jumps off the board and runs the last few meters into the dome. There she scans her fingerprints and iris before a green light comes up around the door and it opens. Cathrine hurries into the office. “Hectic morning?”, asks one of her colleagues called Finn. She replies breathlessly, “Sorry, I promise I’ll work overtime today!” as she throws her bag on the table. “You know we have a lot to do today, new trees are to be planted down on the east side and we are almost done with the new domes at the center,” says Finn, as he looks at her over his big glasses. “Yes, I know, I’ll get there right away,” says Catherine as she puts her hair up in a ponytail.
There has been a big problem with more and more people being inactive due to new technologies and few physically active jobs. Those who are active usually train indoors and do not often venture out due to the changing weather. The plan is therefore to make a dome with a lot of trees and other plants so that it becomes a kind of "outdoor" exercise park – yet without being completely outdoors!
Cathrine works as a physiotherapist and has worked as one for 10 years now. Her day is varied, and she does a lot of different things, but she mostly works with the domes, where most of her days are spent. Due to the varying weather and temperatures, there are no longer any places that have a stable temperature or climate that is not too hot or too cold and more and more people are struggling with arthritis. Therefore, physiotherapists (along with other professions) have now built domes where they plant trees and create their own small ecosystems with a good, stable temperature. There are also animals in these domes for the ecosystems to be complete. The domes function both as a place of residence and a place of treatment. There are more and more people who can’t handle the big weather differences, so there are hundreds of domes in many different sizes and with different purposes.
In the largest domes where people live most of the time, Cathrine and the others work to keep the temperature stable, plant trees and take care of grass, plants, flowers, and create a kind of artificial sun so that both people and plants can live well in there. In other domes, more focus has been placed on wildlife, and they work to create forests so that there are different ecosystems that can become so large that they may eventually lead to a larger animal and plant life outside the domain as well. Here, the breeding of different animal species and close monitoring of the animal population are taking place to ensure the best possible conditions for their lives and the creation of a rich diversity of animals. The new domes down by the center are where Cathrine will spend her day today.
Cathrine has already jumped on her jet board again and rushed down to the center. She drives to the parking lot and jumps off the board while grabbing one side of it and lifting it up under her arm. Row after row there are parking spaces for different jet boards. They are similar to old bicycle parking spaces but designed so that you can place your board vertically. Cathrine puts down the board in one of the vacant slots, and it is locked with her fingerprint. She glances at the gigantic structure in front of her. “OMG, this is going to be good,” she says to herself, feeling a big grin on her face as she approaches the entrance.
This dome is extra special to Cathrine. Not only because she is one of those who have the main responsibility for organizing, building, planting and monitoring, but because it is built for a purpose that is close to her heart. The purpose of the dome is to strengthen both the physical and mental health of the population in the city. There has been a big problem with more and more people being inactive due to new technologies and few physically active jobs. Those who are active usually train indoors and do not often venture out due to the changing weather. The plan is therefore to make a dome with a lot of trees and other plants so that it becomes a kind of “outdoor” exercise park – yet without being completely outdoors! In addition, it will provide more habitat for animals and insects that help to create a good climate. This will then help to improve general physical, but also mental health of the population. Being able to have access to nature, being able to be physically active and interact with animals and humans will help to improve mental health very much.
“Hey, Cathrine! Finally, you are here! We need help to plant the last trees on the other side of the dome!”, a colleague shouts a few meters away. “I'm coming!”, Catherine shouts back as she takes one last look around her before turning around and jogging further into the dome. In just a few seconds, she disappears into the jumble of voices, humans, robots and nature.
Cathrine enters the dome, and it is already full of both humans and robots building, planting, carrying and seeding. She sees that there is not much left on the construction of the dome itself and that a lot of plants and trees have already arrived. Fortunately, they have created a wonder mix for trees and plants to grow super-fast so that it does not take long to get the environment inside the dome finished. Once inside the dome, it feels like Cathrine is on a giant construction site. There is one large hum resulting from all the voices that speak at the same time and the building, hammering, cutting and transportation being done around everyone. Cathrine rests her hands and takes some time to just look around and take in all these impressions. She is so looking forward to this whole room being filled with birdsong.
“Hey, Cathrine! Finally, you are here! We need help to plant the last trees on the other side of the dome!”, a colleague shouts a few meters away. “I’m coming!”, Catherine shouts back as she takes one last look around her before turning around and jogging further into the dome. In just a few seconds, she disappears into the jumble of voices, humans, robots and nature.