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SG-W:/ Urban Sprawl



     This is a copy of an opinion which I hope to give to council. Urban Sprawl is the reason our energy consumption is so high. The curve in Popular Science should be an alarm bell to all. 
 
   citg.400                                            Natural Gas
 
    Recently I had a letter in the AA News which talked about Urban Sprawl and about shortages in natural gas. The editor does not like numbers and removed them. The number quoted to a Senate committee was 885 trillion cubic feet. Our present consumption is about 23 trillion cubic feet which would imply gas for 38 years. However we are using considerably more oil now than natural gas. If we use gas to replace oil and coal to reduce Global Warming, then our consumption could double and reduce time to 19 years. Substituting gas for oil is not a long term strategy.
    The May 2000 Popular Science has an article about cars  which includes a curve of future oil availability (Page 56). The curve indicates present production as being 75 million barrels /day. In 2030 it will be only 20 million barrels, and by 2050 it will be 10 million barrels. This means gas rationing is coming soon. Don't expect much from tar sands, shale, or heavy oil. It will be difficult to get them into production, They will be costly, and if successful will cause more Global Warming. The problem in retrieving the harder to get fossil fuels is that it takes enormous amounts of oil to get them. For example coal is mined now by cutting off entire mountain tops with bulldozers fueled by oil. We can do without airplanes but we need bulldozers.
    Hydrogen as a fuel is a mirage because the only way we could produce it now in quantities would be from fossil fuels. The investment to even produce a quarter of our present usage from solar or wind would be in the trillions of dollars.
     If something is not done it is my prediction that within 30 years there will be widespread poverty, joblessness, civil unrest, and hunger. Finally there would be the starvation of millions of people. The only way to fight this problem is by sharply reducing consumption and investing trillions in alternate energy. We will have to tear down houses and replace them with apartments. Cities must be redesigned to eliminate cars for going to work, for shopping, and for every other use. This means a city design which starts with a power plant in the center, then there would be factories, then apartments, and then farms nearby. We must go back to agriculture. The construction of small buildings must be totally eliminated. Geometry is all important.
     An environmental committee will do nothing to solve this problem. What is needed is to change the Environmental committee to a Sustainability committee. Then we must try to educate local scientists and engineers in the magnitude of the problem and enlist their help in finding diverse solutions. A large Sustainability group would not only devise strategies but would also educate the population in the dangers that are confronting our children.
     One of the strategies is to create an Ecomindium at the landfill site which would research all of the problems of housing, energy, and food in a real environment. The facility would serve as both a research place and a publicity forum. Please help me save our Grand children from the disaster which is about to occur.
 
                                                             Kermit Schlansker 971 5283