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Re: magic formula (long)
> 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
> appreciate it.
This all very much pie in the sky stuff, but still definitely worth discussing, esp
after several beers to loosen up your imagination.. ;-) I don't have any answers to
these questions, but definitely some ideas.
I have thought privately long and hard about land use and what are "appropriate" and
most importantly sustainable % of developed land by the human population. I think the
only conclusion I have drawn thus far is that the current haphazard way population is
distribued and infrastructure developed across the various bio-regions is pretty much
as poorly designed a system as you can get.
In any land use analysis and solution (as if we could start over like a fresh game of
Sim-Earth) you need to do several things to get started, as design goals. These are
just some ideas that have been kicking around in my head for some time, feel free to
offer constructive criticism.
- identify major bioregions and map them out, document what each region has ample
supply of, as well as what it lacks
- align population centers closest to the area of existing AND sustainable natural
resources, in moderate climates
- minimize, disallow unnecessary transportation of good/materials long distances, i.e.
- establish large contiguous regions of land areas classified as "non-developed" for
wildlife, undisturbed ecosystems, carbon banks, and as air and water "scrubbers". (This
is in complete contrast to Eric's statement above about not separating human vs.
- plan out and implement sufficient infrastructure necessary for the human economy,
i.e. efficient transportation systems and high speed networks.
- embrace and continue to develop new and emerging technologies to enable and extend
most efficient use of what natural resources are still available, inclusing ares of all
types of energy production, genetic engineering, satellite technology and space
- establish north/south trading corridors to efficiently allow movement and trading of
good and materials to support basic necessities, i.e. food, water, some simple
manufactured goods. This would still allow economic specialization and allow active
movement of items that can be better produces in warmer or colder climates, or vice
- setup up a long term (like over 50 years) plan to shift away from intensive
agriculture, and food production systems to more sustainable and permaculture based
Of course *all* of this flies completely in the face of today's reality of a global
economy, of unending consumption, and population growth, and centralized ultra powerful
ecomic entities, i.e. corporations and governements. And of course, not to mention the
forced relocation of possibly millions of people and billions of dollar of new
development and land buyouts. Which will most likely be viewed by the general
population as a conspirarcy theory plot by the wacko environmentalists/UN/New World
Order to take over the earth for their own evil purposes!
Many utopian systems I've read about speak of essentially throwing away most if not all
technology and basically shifting back to "the simpler times" of agriarian societies
from hundreds of years ago. I believe this is dead wrong, and completely pointless,
given the current state and size of the human population. We need to move forward, not
go back. This means continuing to support and develop and embrace new technologies of
all kinds to solve some of the problems we have created for ourselves in this current
mess, continuing on the thought from bullet item six above.
Nevertheless, I think it is fun to step back from reality now and then, and is useful
to think about would we might do if we could take the entire planet, start over from
scratch with a semi clean slate with no design limitations, and reconfigure the
developed (and *undeveloped) land masses (plus bodies of water), better balancing how
the human species interacts, and co-exists as a part of the entire system, not dominate
and eventually destroy it. Even if we never are able come up with the perfect design
and implement it (the hardest part), the current paradigm is so screwed up in so many
ways, it'd be hard NOT to improve things drastically!
> *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?
> Eric Storm
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