The Sky is Filled With Aliens
by Adam Robbert
Still reeling about the excellence of the Living Books About Life Series (see previous). This passage is from the introduction to The Life of Air: Dwelling, Communicating, Manipulating by Monika Bakke:
‘It’s alive!’ we could certainly exclaim if confronted with a microscopic view of air. As aerobiologists observe, ‘[h]undreds of thousands of individual microbial cells can exist in a cubic metre of air, representing perhaps hundreds of unique taxa’ (Womack et al., 2010: 3645). But what deserves special attention here is not only that air is full of life but also that, apart from being a mean of transport and communication, air is a habitat in its own right. The zoe of air comes in abundance and we – breathing organisms – are all in this together for better and for worse, dead or alive. We have finally come to realize that air is messy, being neither an empty space nor a void, but a space where species meet. And like any other life form, as Donna Haraway emphasizes, we find ourselves ‘in a knot of species coshaping one another in layers of reciprocating complexity all the way down’ (2008: 42).