Already in Greek antiquity, but probably elsewhere and at other times, humans wondered to what extent it was possible to break down objects, natural or not, into their primordial elements. One of these decompositions proposed that earth, water, fire and air were the four elements of which everything is constructed, but a fifth element seemed necessary to complete the picture: life.
The Wright 2022 Conference takes these five elements and offers an original and kaleidoscopic look at our planet, Earth. Each of the elements, which the ancients considered fundamental, is part of the structure of our environment. Each one is familiar and yet each one conceals a richness that the science of the last few years allows us to better understand. All are deeply interconnected. The understanding of the nature of these elements is essential to understand our environment, to allow us to better evaluate the human action on the planet and therefore to better preserve it.
Earth: mountains and continents seem immutable, yet they evolve under the influence of underlying movements, but also under the influence of air and water. Fire: volcanoes shape the earth’s surface, they contribute to recycle chemical elements between the earth’s crust and the atmosphere, a cycle that is essential to life. Water: the oceans are not calm and voluptuous under their surface but are subject to movements on all scales. These movements are essential to the distribution of heat and chemical elements. Air: is not only oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, but it also contains fine solid particles, aerosols, coming from the earth and the oceans which play a major role in the formation of clouds for example. Life: its origin, its very nature, is still a mystery and yet, we are here and alive.