The good news is that we have the brains and creativity to solve our energy, shelter, food, and water challenges in the 21st century. It’s really quite simple, in all areas the Trifecta is Conserve, Combine, and Create. How does this apply?
- With energy, first we conserve the wasted energy that leaves through cracks, windows, and inadequate insulation; then we use the wasted energy we used to reject to the atmosphere while generating something- whether it be domestic hot water that can be reclaimed from a powerplant nearby, or the stack heat from a coffee roasting operation that is heating process water electrically; and finally, create energy from the sun and wind (which is really solar energy in disguise).
- applying this to shelter, first we limit our appetites for size and ostentation (conserve); then we combine function or adaptively reuse existing buildings and land; and then finally we create efficient shelter on a 250-350 sf per occupant model.
- with food, we could feed a nation with the leftovers in our garbage; then we can grow crops that work in combination with the land, for example, soy improves the ground and can provide food or fuel (corn takes more energy to create than it provides); and then diverse crops creating food for a stable population.
- by now I hope you will all be able to see how this applies to water? Don’t use so much, don’t throw it away, don’t irrigate deserts; recycle grey water; and then, we hope we don’t have to create water except on a limited basis from the byproduct of “the hydrogen economy” (whatever happened to that?) or desalinization plants using waste heat from a local power plant.
The planet will be just fine, let’s worry about humankind!