|Think Long Term...||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Ronald Frederick Greek (fred.greekyahoo.com)|
|Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2007 10:46:38 -0700 (PDT)|
In a long-term sustainable and stable human community, there would essentially be no new housing construction, other than replacement for such as exceed their useful lifespan. Eventually, regardless of conservation efforts, we will have to end all fossil fuel use (oil, coal, gas, shale oil, tar sands, etc?) While the first-thought for alternative energy sources might be that prices will come down with more demand, and economics of scale for production, there is a barrier to face: An annual human energy use of 30 billion barrels of oil is a lot of energy? Run the numbers in BTU or kilowatt equivalents, and compare to whatever renewable you like, I suspect you will find that there is no practical long-term approach that is going to allow humanity to continue to use energy at the current level. Absent some energy miracle, without the "free" energy from fossil fuels, what works, and what doesn't? Doesn't everything essential need to be re-localized? Soon, many choices will be based not on what is desired, or even economically beneficial, but what is physically possible. Can you meet your life-support needs locally, or preferably at home? If not you are dependent on working for someone, and having someone else produce sufficient surplus to trade with you. I expect that eventually (perhaps soon) will will once again see multi-generation homesteads, potentially stablizing at an average of 8 to 10 people. In the long term, so long as the owners do not encumber the property with debt, and the real property taxes remain modest, this will eventually cover both young and old generations for a place to live. But, contrary to argument in favor of high-rise and small units, if you expect the population to subsist locally, I would argue that each family unit needs to be around 1/4 acre, more in those areas where the growing season is less. Water: While the direct per day water use per person (drinking, cooking, cleaning) can be modest (The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security puts the minimum daily intake at 3 liters, with 20 liters for hygiene, 15 per bathing, 10 for food preparation, or an overall average of 50 liters - around 13.195 gallon), this ignores the water "embedded" in food. In my desert climate, my minimum gardening water needs per person is around 175 gallons per day. (Based on 1,000 ft. sq. garden) Food: This would include the "yuch" factor of re-cycling of human effluent to the crop medium, which in a low energy situation puts the crop area close to the living areas. It requires a minimum area for calorie crops, and a maximum area that can be fertilized using the effluent. My estimates are 1,000 and 1,600 sq. ft. respectively. (All year growing season.) For an eventual multi-generation homestead, it works out to about 1/4 acre per family of good solar exposure. Shelter & More: How far into the future do you care about? If you're planning for the future of your children, and their children, design and build for no fossil fuel use. I urge all though to avoid thoughts of running for the hills or otherwise thinking of solo-survival in a bunker. We do not need survivalist thinking, we need minds working toward re-engineering our infrastructure to allow for full service yet human scale communities. "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations" - From the Great Law of the Iroquois Nation Ronald Frederick Greek Moderator (Electronic Janitor) Sustainable Tucson "Stabilization of human numbers is no solution... To speak of an actual reduction of human population - exactly what is needed if the world is to avoid unprecedented human dieoff through famine, pestilence, and war - is unthinkable and unspeakable, at least in polite company. Not just Catholics and conservatives, but liberals as awll become positively apoplectic if the subject is broached. And so the discussion necessary to understanding our econlogical dilemma, and dealing effectively with it, never occurs." - Richard Heinberg, Power Down --------------------------------- Ready for the edge of your seat? Check out tonight's top picks on Yahoo! TV.
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