Scans of my sketchbook

Writing exercise guided by Nora Khan 

The year is now 4020. Tardigrades roam the new planet like nomads in a place that was once uninhabitable due to environmental catastrophes causing human extinction. This new planet was unlike what was known before to mankind. The 8 ecosystems of the earth were no longer; they had evolved into ecosystems post eco-disaster. As Tardigrades were the occupiers of this new planet, new life emerged from them such as diverse flora and fauna. The key in the Tardigrades survival was their ability to conduct cryptobiosis, a state in which the metabolic rate becomes undetectable. Once in the state of cryptobiosis, the Tardigrade shriveled like a ball and was light and airy enough to be blown in the wind like a dust particle. They became almost immortal because they were able to survive years and years of dehydration and rehydration and withstand the vacuum of space. Having evolved, Tardigrades were no longer limited to their previous characteristics. They evolved to the size of humans, about 5 feet tall and roamed the new planet in search of the rich foods that covered the terrains. Because Tardigrades could survive so well everywhere, the planet was their oyster. When they traveled to new locations in search of food, their bodies and the ecosystems were in harmony, each benefitting from the fruits of labor they were offering each other. Their primary mode of transportation was on their 4 pairs of feet, therefore their feet needed to have a multitude of purposes because they were so important.

Like humans wear shoes, Tardigrades grew a thick layer of skin on their feet which were hosts for collecting seeds in the terrains that they traveled in. As they moved across these ecosystems, their skin grew all sorts of vegetation from collecting spores and seeds from the terrain. These also became a host for mini-ecosystem simulations of the very ecosystem they were traveling in. Therefore their footprints were just kisses to the planet’s floor. Once all the vegetation grew, the tardigrade would harvest all the food for consumption. The thick skin and roots from the vegetation would then shed off and nourish the very ecosystem it shed in. This would happen in a cyclical symbiotic nature. Their bodies, their lives, and their magnificent mode of transportation, and the planet were constantly in harmony, thus becoming the blueprint for ultimate survival on this new planet.

When the planet is sustained and enriched by living without a mark, living with respect to the resources that are plenty, and living while being conscious to the environment in which one inhabits what does this look like? How can we use this speculative new planet of Tardigrades and the philosophy behind Tardigradism as a model for existing human life on earth? What does footwear in 4020 look like and how can we use biomimicry from Tardigrades to speculate that?


Ecosystem of the Earth 2020
Ecosystem of the New Planet 4020

Tropical Rainforest
Dense jungles, diverse ecosystem, thick vegetation, mostly evergreen, blocks Sunlight, high temperatures, nutrient rich.

Vegetation=coffee, bananas, lemons, peanuts, vines, palm trees, orchids, ferns
Hydrological engine fails, degradation of freshwater systems,  loss of valuable soils, increase erosion, insect infestation, spread of infectious disease, dry Savana, a net source of co2
Dryland, flora can survive intense dehydrated states, some vegetation grows back, their skins containing some moisture, and the insides, completely dehydrated

Temperate Deciduous Forest
Trees that lose their leaves during the autumn and winter 

Vegetation= oaks, maples, beeches, shrubs, perennial herbs, mosses, oak, maple, hickory, chestnut trees, mosses, ants, flies, bees, wasps, cicadas, mosquit
Higher temperatures -> warmer winter, reduced regional snow, spread of insects and pathogens, increased ozone
Ozone is completely hazardous, trees grow back with patches on them due to spread of germs and diseases, exotic herbs grow and bloom


Below freezing for six months, Warm summers -> abundance of plant life, lichens and moss common, lakes and wetlands plentiful.

Vegetation= shrubs, mosses carnivorous plants, arboreal species, pine trees, willows, alders, poplars, conifer needles, mosses, liverworts, sphagnum, peat mosses/bogs

Increase in forest fires frequency and strength, natural regeneration processes thrown out of balance,  deforestation, animals unable to survive in warmer climates, glaciers x snow melt, snow runs of mountains and floods taiga, increased water from glacial melting causes the forest floor to floor, trees do not thrive well & begin to die out, favors plants that like increased moisture

Terrain is extremely moist and marsh-like, moss flourishes

Temperatures very low, low plant life, harsh winter, almost no trees due to short growing seasons & permafrost, wet, low temps = slower evaporation of water, rain & fog in summer, gathers water in bogs and ponds.

Vegetation: lichens, mosses, grasses, sedges, shrubs, trees close to ground for insulation.
Permafrost is thawing, source of greenhouse gas emissions, soil microbes convert carbon into carbon dioxide and methane, disappearance of lakes, wildfires, drought, air pollution (black carbon decreases ability to reflect sunlight causing faster melting), toxic mercury from coal-burning & industrial activity, pipeline construction damages soil and prevents vegetation from returning, toxic spills, increase in parasites x disease, shrubs & wold spiders thrive
Terrain is a mix of camouflage from black carbon, and newly grown shrubs, ponds are of black, viscous liquids


Plants adapt to weather and low water, animals burrow.

Vegetation= cacti, small bushes, short grasses, perennials, annuals, plants store water in their stems, bushes grow few leaves or have large root systems to gather water.

Increase drought dries up water holes, wildfires alter desert landscape by eliminating slow-growing trees, fast growing grasses, high salt levels in the soil from agriculture, cannot support plants, potassium cyanide poisons wildlife

Salt geodes cover the land, the ground is so dry there is not a drop of water to be found on the surface of the terrains, rooted plants dig miles underground to get an ounce of hydration


Light rains, mammals. Grasses die back to their roots annually & the soil/sod protect the roots, few trees due to lack of rainfall.

Vegetation= grasses (prairie clover, saliva, oats, wheat, barley, potatoes, coneflowers), buffalo grass, cacti, sagebush, perennial grasses, sunflowers, clovers, wild indigos

Wildfire, changing precipitation patterns, dry, elevation, desertification

Grass is nonexistent, little mountains of dried soil cover the land


Dry winter, hot summer, cacti, scrub, rabbits, lizards, eucalyptus trees.

Vegetation= aromatic herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, shrubs, acacia, chamise, grasses , plants have adaptations to fires caused by lightning in the hot, dry summers, plants have small needle-like leaves that help to conserve water, leaves have waxy coating that reflect sunlight, some plants are fire resistant

Short lived ecosystems, abundance of wildfires

Vegetation of plants that are fire-resistant flourish, the land is continuously on fire, the ground a waxy candle-like texture

Temperate Rainforest

Precipitation is dominant, moderate temperatures, high humidity, lots of rain.

Vegetation: epiphytes (plants growing on other plants), mosses, ferns, lichens, large old trees, decaying trees, elk slugs, cellulose, cricket fungi, mycelia, slime mold.

Deforestation, silt, pest infections, disease, drought, humidity drop, massive amounts of co2

Unbreathable air, only dead trees remain with disease ridden patterns covering their toxic fungi covered barks