Introduction to Socio-ecological life support systems (SELSS)
Socio-ecological Life Support Systems (SELSS) – A class of Bioregenerative Life Support Systems (BLSS) related to Closed Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS), where human cultural and ecological complexity are driven to emerge as a function of environmental control & life support systems (ECLSS) operation rather than simply exploiting ecological assets for the purpose of maintaining a livable environment.
SELSS can be best understood by its contrast with CELSS specifically the function of the humans and there cultural relationship to its ecology as a regulating mechanism. SELSS are essentially CELSS that fully integrate the self organizing complexity of ecology with humans fulfilling an integrated role within the environment replacing automation technology for the transport of materials such as water and organic wastes, as well as regulation of atmospheric systems through burning of materials or stimulation of plant and algae growth.
This kind of life support systems is an all encompassing way of life where the human culture is entirely integrated with the ecological systems hence the distinction between ecological (E) and socio-ecological (sE). Industry would still need to exist for the maintenance of the shell that contains the CsELSS and for imports of materials for expansion, however by the time we implement this method on mars, industry should be self maintaining and fully automated.
In my view SELSS are a path towards transcending civilization as we know it, and even the human organism. I see an eventuality where SELSS becomes a kind of organelle providing diversity of consciousness to a larger technological organism. Much like mitochondria inhabit our cells, one day we (Gaian ecology) will inhabit the cells of massive organisms that are independent of planets, forming clusters in solar orbit. It is a true fractal iteration of our own evolution, and represents a future of harmony between our technological and our ecological self.