Can we dream a better world?

How can we best prepare this world for the seventh generation to come? What can we reasonably plan for? What mistakes can we avoid? What contingency plans can we make?

Trends

Based on current trends, we can expect population doubling every 40 – 50 years. Which may result in a quadrupling of population in 2110, and eightfold by 2150.
To illustrate –
2010: 7 billions
2060: 14 billions
2110: 28 billions
2150: 56 billions

Needs

Such a population will need that much more food production, that much more habitat. This obviously will require an expansion of land used for agriculture, and a multiplication of output, from it, and other forms of food production.

Goal

Civilization is based on cooperation. By combining the resources and abilities of many individuals, large scale tasks can be accomplished. We need a common vision for the future, so our efforts are not wasted in contrary pursuits.
The common vision is not to be exclusive of other ideas, but that we had better come to some consensus on what vision we wish to make manifest. Parallel efforts are reasonably as long as they moving in the same direction. Conflicting efforts impede resolution.
One way to come to consensus is to create a compendium of reference material, speculative ideas, logical progressions, logistical reasoning, and hope.

Why?

We are instinctive mimics, and often learn by observation as much as by original thinking. When shown images from fictional entertainment, we absorb those ideas. Often, we even assume that such ideas are inevitable or plausible.
Therefore, let’s try to portray a different scenario, one in which we aren’t doomed to destruction.

Tactics

What kind of tactics will allow for such an increase in human population?

“thickening” the life bearing volume

Man, among animals, is most skilled at increasing the life bearing surface, via multilevel construction. There is no physical reason why human habitat must be exclusive and that multilevel construction not include agriculture and wildlife habitat.

efficiency

Why seek efficiency?
Doing more with less, so more can enjoy is the reason. The opposite, doing less with more, is counter productive. Mass production, automation, and every tool that multiplies human labor can be part of the solution.

frugality

Why seek frugality?
Unfortunately, there is a component of human nature that is not satisfied, and often seeks more than he needs. What we may be comfortable with is often at odds with what we want. But there is no reason why being frugal must mean being deprived or somehow in want. Transportation is useful, but do we need to own multiple vehicles, especially expensive, wasteful, and underused?

conservation

Why conserve?
If we can meet our needs with “just enough”, we don’t need more. If we take only what we need, and leave a bit for others, we may not run out.

recycle

Capturing and recycling wastes instead of throwing them out of sight / out of mind is another important strategy. Discarding valuable resources is foolish, and short sighted, to say the least.

General Ideas:

A sane economy would promote prosperity – the creation, trade and enjoyment of surplus goods and services.
The watchword would be : “Do more with less, make more with less, so more can enjoy…”
The most admired people would be those who were prodigious producers, not the most mindless consumers.
A working economy would rely on the law of Physics, not the law of lunatics.
A wise people would plan for future generations, building the infrastructure now, that will be needed then.
Poisoning should not be tolerated, nor should there be legalized poisoning.

Specific projects or ideas:

[] Transition to electrified rail transportation (Assuming that a better solution is not found)

1. Transfer cargo from long haul trucks to rail (local delivery with short haul hybrid trucks)
2. Construct Moderate Speed Rail corridors, for passenger and fast freight (High Speed Rail is not advisable until the rail network is re-established)
3. Rebuild urban electric mass transit (Subway, streetcar, tram, funicular, interurban, express)

[] Build high population density mixed use developments served by rail mass transit
[] “Thicken” the life bearing volume, by multilevel construction, incorporating agriculture and wildlife habitat where feasible
[] Recover arable land lost to suburban sprawl, consolidate rural populations into villages, where feasible. (i.e., instead of isolated family farms, have farming villages surrounded by farmland)
[] Synergistic development of power distribution for electric rail in parallel with alternative power sources (wind turbines, solar, etc).

1. Overhead catenary power for streetcars / trams and trolley buses
2. Design Electric vehicles that can tap into the catenary, to extend range

[] Engineer more navigable waterways, rebuild / restore canals.
[] Encourage, but do not subsidize, alternative transportation systems (ex: mag-lev trains, hybrid compound gyroplanes (VTOL)).
Conclusion / Summary

Let us ponder how we will provide for their needs
[] Design high population density, livable villages, towns, cities
[] Design transportation that is frugal, efficient, and durable
[] Conserve, recycle, re-use resources
[] Focus on sustainability, long term, long view, and more abundance


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