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SG-W:/ Re: [RunningOnEmpty] The only way?
To Tom Ellis and other skeptics
You must look at energy starvation logically. First we must cut
consumption per capita probably by at least 70% if there is is to be
survival. Both energy shortages and Global Warming demand this. There is no
hope of an exotic or complete solution because shortages of raw materials,
shortages of funds, and competition from other countries will make many
In cold climates heating is a large part of energy usage. Apartment
buildings and other large buildings can have an improvement in heating
energy per capita from geometry alone. That is, the ratio of exterior wall
to volume decreases as the size goes up. You can say this another way by
saying that shared walls and ceilings reduce heating costs. It is also true
that experiments in alternate energies such as solar, biomass, and wind are
more practical with larger buildings. Combined Heat and Power (CHP), and
Combined Heat and Manufacturing (CHM) which are crucial in saving heat are
easier to implement in larger buildings.
In the future fertilizer will become scarce. In a planned system
all human waste, manure, and ashes can be used for fertilizer thus
completing the cycle of life.
The footprint of large multi story buildings is smaller thus saving
land for agriculture. Clumps of large buildings make regional heating
possible. However the biggest saving of all is in transportation. It is
important to be able to reach farm, garden, work, factory, school, and store
by bicycle or foot. Vehicular transportation must be saved for recreation
and essential transport.
I am not necessarily talking about large cities but also about
single buildings and villages. The problem with large cities is that it is
difficult to reach agriculture from them. The advantage of cities is that
they can support very large industries which consume a lot of power and use
the waste heat from this power.
Look at Europe and at every other country in the world which uses
much less energy than we do. They have mostly apartments and their
transportation is by street car and train. Mass transportation is nearly
impossible in a society of houses.
The best way of starting a movement to save the USA would be
through Sustainable Communities which participate in agricultural and energy
R&D. The only way that we little people can make a difference is by starting
Co-ops, planning these communities, and by working together to start them.
The technology to make them work is also essential. Agriculture,
manufacturing, and power production must be put on a small scale
distributed basis rather than a mass basis. I also firmly believe that in a
time when money is worthless and that may come soon, an investment in an
Ecomindium might be better than gold or anything else.
I am an Engineer and I believe that in my small world I=E/R is a
law I must adhere to. On the same basis I believe that technically strong,
organized, and planned communities are the only way the human race can
survive in comfort for 200 years. I want to save my Grandchildren. Damn the
Kermit Schlansker PE
From: TIELLIS@aol.com <TIELLIS@aol.com>
To: RunningOnEmpty@yahoogroups.com <RunningOnEmpty@yahoogroups.com>
Date: Friday, January 26, 2001 11:21 AM
Subject: [RunningOnEmpty] The only way?
><<I wish to point out that the only way we can reduce consumption is to
> eliminate single family houses and create cities which are so clustered
> transportation can be accomplished by foot or bicycle.>>
>First, don't get me wrong--I'm impressed with a lot of your imaginative and
knowledgeable ideas, and I agree that we need all the creative pragmatism we
can muster, in addition to (not instead of) philosophical discussion.
>The value of the latter lies, among other things, in elevating us to the
recognition that there is no one "only way" to do anything. If you had said
"one way" I would applaud your post without reservation.
>But "the only way"--? This attitude opens the door to fundamentalism--and
the fundamentalism of engineers can be just as stifling as that of the
>Let us therefore embrace plurality in ideas, in coping mechanisms, and in
plans of action. All are interrelated, and we can all learn from each other.
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