Tunnelling for thermal comfort

Probably the best incentive (but not the only reason) to consider our fellow mobile inhabitants of planet earth in our designs is their incredible cuteness. Unfortuneately, even the cutest of creatures, the wombat can be considered a ‘pest’ because they damage crops and fences and cattle may break their legs when they step in their burrows and because their burrows provide shelter for that other notorious crop damaging pest the rabbit. However the wombat apart from its cuteness has some interesting tunneling experience from which the astute engineer could learn. Wombat burrows are well designed and well ventilated.  “Since temperatures underground are more moderate (less variable), the burrows help keep the wombat cooler in the warm months, and warmer in the cooler months. The burrow’s design provides a stable micro-environment for the wombat by controlling the temperature, oxygen, and carbon dioxide levels.”

4 thoughts on “Tunnelling for thermal comfort

  1. Tom Turner

    ‘Aaaagh’ was the sound I made on glimpsing the photograph and ‘cute’ is a great adjective for them. Its worth remembering that some of the first dwellings, in China and also in the Levantine Corridor (not to mention Alice Springs) were semi-subterranean. As you say and the wombats know, there are great advantages in living this way. ‘From dust we came, and unto dust we must return.’ There must be a great future for earth sheltered dwellings (eg under vegetated roofs). And ‘may we all be recompensed at the resurrection of the just’.

  2. Tom Turner

    ‘Spiritual’ is an interesting word, particularly when ued apart from religion. The Wiki entry notes that ‘Traditionally, religions have regarded spirituality as an integral aspect of religious experience and have long claimed that secular (non-religious) people cannot experience “true” spirituality. Many do still equate spirituality with religion, but declining membership of organised religions and the growth of secularism in the western world has given rise to a broader view of spirituality.’
    As a generalization, one could say that temple gardens dominate the garden history of East Eurasia and palaces dominte in West Eursia. But I would also say that a ‘spiritual’ (ie non-material) motive has been of great significance in the west. And I would also say that a good many churches lack spirituality – thinking particularly of commercial pentecostal churches. This takes us to an important question: can wombats have a spiritual experience?

  3. Christine

    Some suggest that spirituality should have a very broad meaning akin to “a unique, personally meaningful experience (Shafranske & Gorsuch, 1984)” which as a definition gives a very broad church indeed. There is no idea in this definition of a spiritual experience being in anyway connected to spirit of any sort, the experience merely needs to be meaningful.

    Under this definition a wombat undoubtably has spiritual experiences ie. the birth of young.

    But I don’t think this definition is helpful when considering the sort of spiritual experience which is associated with religion in its various forms and hence temples and monasteries.


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