Between Earth and Atmosphere

Between Earth and Atmosphere is a field guide to climate change in the cloud forest. The narrative follows Utah State University Ph.D. ecologist Jessica Murray, who studies the canopy ecosystem of Monteverde, Costa Rica. Jessica uses sensors and datasets to quantify an intricate network of plants, animals, and microorganisms, and her research has global implications. My goal is to connect a wider audience to this research. Though its reality increasingly pervades daily life, climate change is such an all-encompassing issue that it often feels abstract and distant. I examine a sliver of the issue and make it more tangible and personal through narrative and illustrations.

Calculation of a human being:

two lungs, twelve ribs; twenty-six teeth, a tongue, one trillion cells of skin and twenty-five trillion cells of blood; plus brain, nerves, spine.

In sum: thirty-seven-point-two trillion bits of being­—breathing, beating, eating, excreting—

and this: our own cells outnumbered ten to one.

Our skin, our guts, our lungs—colonized and cultivated by a community of microbes that make our bodies home.  

How do you quantify “humanity” if a human is a habitat?

not a species, but a system—our evolution inextricable from all else that exists between the earth and atmosphere?


Marissa Devey ©2022 - Design & Illustration

Based in UT