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Feb 11, 2022

Spaceship Earth

We recently watched a documentary called Spaceship Earth. If you're like me, the image above is reason enough to check it out.

The documentary shares the story of a counterculture group that set out to build a massive biosphere designed to replicate the earth's ecosystem. The biosphere was constructed in the middle of Arizona as part of an experiment to see if it was possible to establish human existence on other planets. In 1991, the group of eight quarantined themselves in the biosphere where they encountered several ecological issues and nearly die.

But the biosphere is only part of the story. Using archive footage, the documentary starts out by showing this same group in the 1970s... plot twist living in a commune in New Mexico. The hippy leader, John Allen starts a group called Institute of Ecotechnics (sick name btw) and somehow partners with a billionaire, Ed Bass, who proceeds to fund a series of strange projects around the globe. 

The group builds a ship (of course they do) and sails to the UK to... you guessed it... open an art gallery. According to, The research vessel HERACLITUS was a Chinese-junk research ship built by the Institute of Ecotechnics in 1975 and sailed the world’s oceans for over forty years, traveling more than 270,000 nautical miles in every sea except the Arctic. YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS SHIT UP!

Next, they buy and manage a rain forest in Puerto Rico. They even started a traveling theatre group called the Theatre of All Possibilities (seriously, these people knew how to come up with some killer names!) that performed in Australia, the Peruvian Amazon, and in the sacred forest of Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove in Nigeria. They did all of this and more, before deciding to construct a 3-acre biodome in Arizona which is the focus of the documentary. If it all sounds too strange to be true, you can fact-check like I did – The Institute of Ecotechnics is a real thing and all of their projects/properties are listed on their website:

side note: The group reminds me a lot of the Zissou Society (research + academia + strange worldly adventures + uniforms)

Today, the same group lives together back at the Synergia Ranch in Santa Fe. I am actively working to schedule a corporate retreat on the ranch.