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SG-W:/ Sustainable Washtenaw
paper was sent to AA News as an "Other Voices". Since it is unlikely
that they will print it, I am putting it on line.
Note the reference to support of present land
conservation groups. Sustainable Washtenaw could possibly be a vehicle for
getting additional money for land if the group were infiltrated by vocal
environmentalists. I urge you to consider supporting an experimental Ecomindium
as a long term means of saving land. If people are to survive on limited
resources then geometry which decreases all travel is essential. This means
planned complexes and larger buildings. Biomass will be the cheapest and most
useful energy source of the future. We must have the morality to plant it. The
only philosophy that applies here is that of the Golden Rule.
The recent conferences on
Sustainable Washtenaw were so ineffective that they seem to me to be bogus in
nature. There were as many people there who wanted to destroy Sustainability as
there were people who had any belief in the morality of creating a sustainable
society. It is my belief that our present society is unsustainable and will fail
within 50 years due to lack of oil if major changes in lifestyle are not made.
Global Warming may trigger Global Cooling and that would kill billions.
I would like to make the following suggestions to this
1 The group is too
large to make progress. Try to separate out the people who have a serious desire
to protect their grandchildren from those who do not. Make subcommittees. Try to
define major objectives of Sustainability. Get people to write position papers
on various topics. Allow people to make presentations.
2 Make farm and nature land conservation into a top
priority. Find funding sources for all of the local land conservancy groups. Try
to get both the county and city to increase funding for land purchases. Try to
get both the city and county to buy and operate farms which grow food and are
3 Try to form county
ordinances and mailings which encourage people to plant more trees, plant more
perennial fruits, use less lawn fertilizer, and mow less. Ban 1 acre non farm
lots. Allow construction only in quarter acre lot villages. Encourage communal
sewage systems which make energy and fertilizer. Support mandatory cogeneration
for new construction. Discourage new house building in any way possible. Put
farming above Urban sprawl in any way possible.
Help to develop the concept of the "Ecomindium" which is a condominium
completely designed to save energy and reduce the cost of living. This is the
only way to create a sustainable society. Require that all new buildings have an
energy consumption per inhabitant number computed. Try all means to reduce this
5 Define the missions of existing
bureaucracies such as the drain commission, city parks, county parks, and school
system to include the concept of Sustainability. Enlarge their mission to
include mass tree planting, execute nature projects, plant perennial food
plants, and protect land.
6 Start massive tree
planting programs. Form a "Civilian Conservation Corps" and a
system of using prison labor to get the labor to do this. Get all bureaucracies
including schools involved.
7 Make it mandatory that
new shopping centers be multi storied buildings which incorporate energy saving
measures and are built in areas of dense population. Devise a plan for shopping
centers which reduces driving.
8 Traffic is dense
now due to spread out living styles, lack of car pools, and frequent shopping
trips. Look at various methods of reducing traffic through car pools,
neighborhood organizations, etc. Publicize the danger to children caused by too
9 Try to form a lobby to influence
state government. Lobbying should be performed to increase energy taxes, reduce
highway construction, promote state financed tree planting, reduce lawn mowing,
reduce lawn fertilization, and reduce construction. If all car fees, licenses,
and part of the insurance were paid by gasoline taxes then drivers would have an
incentive to drive fewer miles but taxes would not be increased. Any local tax
on electricity would cause new companies and new jobs to be formed in alternate
energy. Cogeneration is almost cost effective now. Recognize the huge potential
for job creation of higher energy taxes.
10 Form an
organization which would specifically write proposals to the Federal government
to get support for sustainability research projects. Such projects could include
cogeneration, Ecomindiums for the elderly, Ecomindiums for the poor, mass tree
planting programs, and multi purpose sewage plants. Work with the Universities
on this. Lobby the Federal government to put more money into alternate energy
and tree planting jobs for the poor.
11 Work with
the University to create a new course called "Sustainability
Engineering". Watered down versions of this should be created for non
engineering students. Work with public schools to incorporate courses in
Horticulture and sustainability into the curriculum. In the future much of our
energy must come from crops. Every one will have to garden in order to survive.
Biomass energy production must be totally integrated into nature, food
production, and lumber production.
12 Try to
reduce the size of the useless bureaucracy in local government so that more
money can be spent on Sustainability. Require that every project have multiple
goals. Stop government agencies such as parks from squandering money on
buildings, parking lots, excessive park improvements, and excessive nature
13 Encourage the formation of city and
county organizations on energy and sustainability. Link these organizations with
similar organizations in Lansing, Detroit, and all other cities. Encourage the
city to get its engineering department involved in Sustainability
14 Promote the local construction in
a building of a cogeneration power plant which burns a mixture of wood and waste
paper. This will contribute to local recycling and biomass usage. Use this power
plant as a research vehicle to explore cogeneration, thermal efficiency
improvement, and pollution reduction. Realize that the inherent pollution per
kwhr from such a plant is probably far less than that of coal. Also realize that
the present practice of burning wood in stoves and fireplaces is far more
polluting and far less efficient than burning waste wood in properly designed
15 Build a small prison in Ann
Arbor as a means of providing labor for total recycling, planting trees, and
research on low energy buildings. Make the prison into a work shop on
If we do not
incorporate Sustainability into all of our plans and occupations then there is
no hope for the babies of
Kermit Schlansker PE 971 5283