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Re: magic formula
> Skye et al, I'm having a problem with this concept of humans having a right
> to a certain area of land. I know you said not to take this too far and
> I'm probably doing just that; however, it begs other questions: If humans
> have a right to 0.25 HA of land, wouldn't deer have rights to that same
> land? What about the trees? Don't they have rights to the land? Are we
> supposed to turn every hectare of land into production to maximize the
> humans? Are we being egocentric here in assuming that humans have rights
> above every other thing?
I think this topic brings up some important issues for Permaculture. Since
Pc concerns itself with human land use and its integration with natural
systems, this brings up issues of scale. The emphasis shifts from "how
much land one may be fortunate enough to buy" to "how much land can one
ethically use". Again, we must take into account all human needs when
thinking about space; the ecological footprint idea seems helpful in this.
And we must think beyond human needs.
I think the term "right" is where things get muddy; it sounds exclusive. I
take Skye's point to be about the _maximum_ space available for human use,
with the intention of pointing out that _even if_ you divided all of the
productive land among all the people, it is less land than most people
realize. It also makes the point that we should not ethically expect to
use more than anyone else. I don't see this to mean that each human should
use that much land, since, as Gene and I said, "what are all the other
creatures supposed to do?", but certainly not more than this. I see
Gerald's original question representing one extreme (minimum amount of land
can we use) and Skye's point about land available as the other (maximum
amount ethically available). Based on the information about Jeavons from
Christopher and Skye's info, the answer to both is "very little", or to be
more specific, "1,200 to 4,350 square feet (100 - 300 square meters)".
[Note that many new American houses are this big!]
Now factor in space for wildlife and natural habitat, and my take on all of
this is that we need to have the smallest ecological footprint we can
manage, probably much smaller than we think. Gene raised good questions.
I'll rewrite them and add some others. I start with the assumption that
dividing lines between human and non-human land is impossible. These are
not meant to be rhetorical; if anyone can help explore answers I'd
*Taking other species into account, how much of the Earth's total land
can humans ethically alter from a natural state?
*Since it seems necessary to overlap human and non-human land use,
how do we do this fairly so that all can flourish?
*What is our share of the solar budget?
*What local factors increase or decrease the amount of land a person
should be using?
*Are there just too many people now, and if so how do we ethically
reduce our numbers? And what do we do in the meantime?
*How small can one's ecological footprint be?
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