Want to learn about the interconnectedness and dependencies of an ecosystem? Build one yourself.
In Second Life, a virtual world where people reinvent themselves, buy real estate, create and sell products, have sex, host charity events, film movies, etc., Laukosargas Svarog has created her own ecosystem on the virtual island of Svarga:
The result of a year’s work, Laukosargas Svarog’s island of Svarga … is a fully-functioning ecosystem, adding life or something like it to the verdant-looking but arid pallette Linden Lab offers with its world. It begins with her artificial clouds, which are pushed along by Linden’s internal wind system.
“If I was to turn off the clouds the whole system would die in about six hours,” she tells me. “Turn off the bees and [the plants stop] growing, because nothing gets pollinated. And it’s the transfer of pollen that signals the plants to drop seeds. The seeds blow in the wind, and if they land on good ground according to different rules for each species, they grow when they receive rain water from the clouds. It’s all interdependent.”