Re: Urban Sprawl
From: Buzz & Denise (
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 1995 21:32:14 -0500
Rob wrote:

"So, build a grow room in your commonhouse basement and you can produce =
more usable protein in a year than a community garden twice the size.=20"

!!! This is going to be a real interesting room... a few cows, a wheatfield,
some 40' high coffee trees, an acre or so of corn... (Please excuse the sarcasm;
I couldn't resist  :-).

"Now of course, the real environmental costs of hydroponics vs. farming =
might not be very favorable, but once again, technology can create =
systems which allows humans to continue our ever expanding populations."

I wrote a short article on high intensive agriculture (the term was
"Metro-Farming") in an early RM Cohousing Newsletter.  I think Rob is completely
correct in that new methods and materials allow very high yields from very small
spaces.  However, this can only be taken so far.  Most people eat a lot more
than lettuce and tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Still, there is no
doubt that with a dramatic change in diet, lifestyle, and agriculture, a large
portion of a subsistence diet could be grown in a tight community environment. 

However, to me the crux of the good old "better living through chemistry"
argument is not that it *can* be done, but do you *want* to live in the results
of a technological solution?   Homo Sapiens can adapt to anything, but
personally, I don't want to adapt to a population of 400 million Americans
spread out all over the landscape, consuming vast amounts of energy, material,
water, and space.  Actually, I doubt Rob or anyone of this List does either.  By
our current standards, it would not be a pretty sight.  I was in India this last
winter, and if you want a whiff of things to come, its there for the viewing.

In all likelhood, such a scenario would not be sustained by advanced
agricultural technology, but probably by subjucating and pillaging the rest of
the planet.  As everyone knows, this already accounts for much of our material
wealth;  we've all heard the old saw that Americans are 5% of the worlds'
population and consume 35% of the worlds resources.

At any rate, if you ask me, I highly recommend sustainable levels of population,
land use, and resource utilization as more effective stradegies for creating a
world that we would want to live in.  As for the technological solution ...
remember Charlton Heston in "Solyent Green"?

Buzz Burrell
Paonia, CO
72252.2101 [at]

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