Greenhouse Effect

Photography by Ivan Ruberto
Fashion by Grace Joel

Hair: Tori Hutchinson using Aveda
Make Up: Louise O’Neill using INIKA Cosmetics
Model: Charlotte Tomas at The Squad
Casting: Carmel Reeves at D&V
Photography Assistant: Piero M Bressan
Stylist’s Assistant: Yuji Takahashi
Special thanks to Jessi Hill & Ben Foster at The Eden Project

“We are ordinary people trying to change the world”

The futuristic, bubble-like biomes of the Eden Project are nestled in a former clay mine in Cornwall, housing the world’s largest man-made rainforest in captivity. A steamy tropical jungle exists within, where the climes of South America and South East Asia are found between waterfalls and a spiralling canopy trail, in the heart of the English countryside. The story of man and his dependence on the natural world is told in sustainable and groundbreaking architecture. Welcome to the Garden of Eden.

Your first glimpse of the biomes makes you question what you have seen. You then circle around the top of the huge crater that the project is housed by, and you start to feel the full weight of what the founders and people working at the project have achieved. The structures are leviathan, and what is contained within is even more awe inspiring.

There is a synergy here between technology and the natural world which is impossible to ignore. The gigantic biomes were designed to mimic soap bubbles, which settle and adapt to any surface. They were constructed using pioneering technologies and some recycled materials. Instead of using glass between the hex- tri-hex frames, there are three layers of a unique polymer which is then inflated to create a two metre thick pillow, providing insulation for the rainforest plants. The material that encases the tropical and Mediterranean worlds appears both space age and diaphanous- an unlikely combination- especially when the sun shines on it. There is a flimsiness to the structures; the biomes are more likely to float off in the wind then be pulled down by it. This quality belies the seriousness of the inner workings of the Eden Project and what they have set out to achieve.

The Eden Project is not just a botanical garden, but a social enterprise which educates. It is a living example to Cornwall and the rest of the world that sustainability is not only a very real possibility, but that it is what makes the most sense for planet Earth environmentally, socially and economically. While the Eden Project aims to inform people about the living world and underline our dependency upon it, it is also a testament to what humans can achieve with the help of technology.

Last year a deal was finalised to build a new Eden Project in Qingdao, Shangdong province of China. This new site will dwarf the current site in terms of size and perhaps its mission. Building an Eden Project in the most densely populated country in the world where social change and economic prosperity were achieved through the sacking of its natural resources and what was essentially a war against the environment, show just how serious the very real threats of pollution, deforestation and climate change are.

Planning permission has been granted to build the UKs first geothermal power plant at the Project, which will create heat and electricity by using the natural heat from the rocks on which it sits. Enough power will be generated to heat over 4,000 homes and will provide the Project with all the power it needs. This year saw the planting of the first Redwood saplings at the Eden site, the first to be planted in Britain. These tree giants are no longer thriving in California and Washington state because of climate change, but the temperate climes of Cornwall could see them thrive and a fully matured forest in a thousand years, a true and long lasting legacy.

These people are ordinary, trying- and succeeding- to change the world.