· There must be a great and noble object.
· Its achievement must be vital.
· The method of achievement must be active, aggressive.
· They must be convinced that the object can be attained, that it is not out of reach.
· They must see, too, that the organization to which they belong, and which is striving to attain the object, is an efficient one.
· They must have confidence in their leaders... [confidence in their leaders — permit me to emphasize].
· They must feel that they will get a fair deal...
· They must, as far as humanly possible, be given the best … equipment for the task.
· Their living and working conditions must be made as good as possible.”
“It was one thing thus neatly to marshal my principles, but quite another to develop them, apply them, and get them recognized...” Field Marshall Sir William Slim, Defeat into Victory, Four Square Book, p. 180.
This man was meditating how to turn a routed army into a triumphant one. His meditations apply just as readily to Learner transformation.
Peace enforcement and disaster relief will provide many opportunities to rework the hardscape of battered cities as well as the software of their governance.
The Shock Doctrine of disaster capitalism prescribes that these disasters neutralize progressive initiatives and replace them with Victorian Era, “laissez-faire” financial piracy. Look where that has got us. This text suggests that they serve to shift humanity in the direction of progress when they occur naturally. They should never be set up deliberately, the way shock doctrinaires would rather.
A planetary reconstruction program will relocate slum populations to idyllic settings for hundreds of thousands or to arcology mega-structures housing tens of millions in apparently miraculous comfort, security and affluence. Beauty and order, jealously guarded by popular support, will replace the squalor, insecurity and criminality that prevails in today’s urban ghettos. These new townships will reduce their urban footprints and deter private motor vehicles.
Nowadays we shrug our shoulders, convinced we can barely afford more slums and prisons much less the urban paradises I foretell. The same goes for other peace technologies; our systems of transport, education, justice and healthcare suffer from inadmissible neglect and decay. How often have we been told that there just isn’t enough money to pay for adequate public services? Yet in wartime, there’s always enough cash. Hang the expense!
Warfare economies demand lavish numbers of personnel and tons of equipment all nonproductive. A reduced tax base must support enormous public expenses for indefinite periods of time. This wartime spending is so prodigious, a few months of the same thing during peacetime would incite the average economist to declare national bankruptcy. Yet wars of this kind can go on for decades, reducing entire countries to Stone Age primitivism. That is, until military defeat flattens the loser’s last money press and bank vault: the very first things, obviously, the invaders will refurbish.
Actually, we cannot afford to degrade the quality of life any further. Cost-cuts in peace management merely generate more frustration, mayhem and secondary expense. In the past, these merciless “savings” were diverted to finance weapon technology. Such anti-profit “austerity programs” are suicidal in the long run: precious savings handed over to ruined and ruinous banks. This has been confirmed by the financial collapse of 2008, sporadic equivalents before and serial disasters soon to come (economic, social and environmental).
A few cosmetic changes could induce dramatic improvements in our cities.
· Fountains and Parks. Along with restoring aquifers and purifying waterways, a new art form of urban park and courtyard garden design will emerge.
· Free pedestrian amenities: benches, trashcans, fountains and walk-in toilets will spring up everywhere in town, unlike current practice.
· Litter disposal. Any needy person could supplement their minimum wage by collecting urban trash, bringing it to a nearby collection station and “selling” it to municipal employees. Littering should become a misdemeanor subject to heavy fines and public disgrace. It might be feasible to train urban rodents and birds to do this kind of work. It is ironic to think that trained rats might become more useful to urban communities than litterers (self-confessed sociopaths of the mediocre sort).
· The magnificent artwork of skilled architects and craftspeople will replace the cheap steel and concrete boxes and urban glass piles we have grown used to. At first, these will imitate the works of Louis Henry Sullivan, Antoni Gaudi and Luigi Colanni; then they will evolve into beautiful designs of their own.
· Cities, great and small, will come to resemble Paolo Soleri’s arcology; rural villages will be built on the model of Nader Khalili's Domes of Rumi.
· We should take into account Frank Lloyd Wright’s advice to bad architects: wrap concrete structures in extensive plantings of trees and vines. Concrete and steel are splendid fortification materials but not so good for habitat construction, given current cladding technologies. It turns out that plantings are excellent heat and noise regulators: the things we need most yet seem unable to adapt to our needs.
· The twenty-foot rule: according to the best practice of Canadian urban design, the first twenty feet at the base of every downtown building should be turned into an optimal setting for pedestrians. Attractive shops, courtyards, arcades and other amenities should line their sidewalks on a comfortably human scale. Above those twenty feet, architects and developers may do as they please to meet urban zoning and cost-cutting requirements.
Baron Haussmann demolished thousands of tenements to build the Grands Boulevards of Paris. Besides unclogging Parisian streets and thus the cerebral arteries of the French body politic, his work leveled many squalid, labyrinthine and rebellious slums. Haussmann fulfilled his weapons obligation by widening boulevards enough for cavalry to charge the mob and straightening them enough so government artillery could pulverize insurgent barricades.
In 1871, thousands of French progressives were executed for trying to defend Paris against victorious Prussian militarists and their re-armed French prisoners of war led by vengeance-crazed French reactionaries.
Battles and natural disasters have always induced massive urban destruction; no doubt they will continue to do so. Following on their heels, however, Learners will discard wasteful zoning practices and rebuild urban hardscapes for optimal efficiency.
For example, the unwise habit of segregating residential, light industrial and commercial neighborhoods will cease. Most Americans will live, shop and work in the same neighborhood. This zoning revision will rule out ridiculous automotive commutes, reduce rental and utility overheads, bring somnolent neighborhoods back to life and make pollution, slum housing and other urban pathologies more conspicuous and less profitable.
Many more pedestrian amenities will spring up. Public gardens, fountains, arcades and billions of new urban trees will replace the triple monstrosities of urban vehicular traffic, commercial signage and “public” art as currently conceived.
New regulations will mandate that an urban tree be planted for every advertising sign and every few parking spaces. Anyone felling a tree in a built-up area will pay a fine for the deed, the proceeds going to replant more trees nearby. One way or another, fifty percent of urban surfaces should go to trees — future Learners will consider this allocation laughably inadequate.
During Europe’s Darkest Age, the Dar-al-Islam reached its zenith of glory largely because able Muslims promoted the ablest non-Muslims. This was Islam’s first Golden Age as well as that of the Sephardic Jews. Together, wise Arabs, Persians and others; Muslims, Jews, Christians and others, preserved what little remained of civilization. Working together, they added glorious new increments of wisdom and beauty. Around 820 CE, the House of Wisdom was established in Baghdad to collect, translate and improve on ancient texts. Learners should improve on that Convivencia and learn how to live in harmony.
Despite their concerted efforts, the need to pay for growing armies crippled this broad-minded approach. A resurgence of militant fundamentalism laid waste what little good will had been retained from Mongol devastation. Neighboring provinces retained armies just as large and costly. Those troops wound up turning against their own people and administration to sustain themselves in the short term. This upheaval aggravated the devastation. It provoked such a crisis in the Islamic world that foreign imperialists overcame Muslim self-rule for centuries.
The same thing happened in China. Just like China is doing these days, Islam is due for a second Golden Age in large part by rejecting terrorism in favor of Jihad for Peace. This much can be expected from every world religion. In the near future, major creeds will sponsor a flowering of peaceful civilization — once they’ve recovered their sensibility like hats swept away by a windstorm. It looks like Pope Francis is leading the way.
This was also the Golden Age of the Muslim garden complete with canals, tanks, fountains, pools and lakes; inner-facing courtyards and outward-looking parks; flowers, shrubs and trees for shade, scent and fruit; habitats for birds and beasts wild and tame. Muslims reserved these sites of tranquility for private meditation. In their crowded circumstances, privacy and contemplation were beyond their reach everywhere except there.
The word “paradise” derives from the Persian term for a garden. The Koran (Qran) describes heaven as tree-shaded park under which a cool river flows. The Bible’s ideal human habitat is the Garden of Eden.
Every mature civilization has treasured its parks and gardens; every Golden Age has presented them to us to show off its elegance, wisdom and grace. We, who busy ourselves poisoning the world and refusing to acknowledge that tendency, should take a page from the Arabs who escaped the desert into their garden. They, at least, had no choice in the matter. Since we’ve opted to mass-produce desert by dismantling the natural world, we should turn all our public and private spaces into scale models of Eden. We should stop harassing indigents and install luxury pedestrian amenities.
Without exception, legitimate churches will respond to the needs of the poor as their first priority. God favors dignified provision of the poor. In the Qran, this was the only lawful reason to tax the faithful. Once again, it looks like Pope Francis is leading the way.
Pedestrian areas should be made more inviting and enjoyable, not less so. American elites disgrace themselves by tolerating litter everywhere; by neglecting public fountains, toilets, park benches and other pedestrian amenities for the passerby; and by displaying inexplicable incompetence at public signage. American cities are strewn with misplaced and torn-down street signs, puzzling directional signage and buildings lacking street numbers. What signage lines the highway is so poorly designed and sited that it can only serve as a memory enhancer for drivers who’ve already found their way by trial and error. Answering the call for more complicated traffic laws that produce more traffic tickets and fines and thus city revenue, urban street signage is plastered with long essays instead of a few clear ideograms, making it harder to understand and obey before traffic cameras have played gotcha with disoriented drivers. This despite the fact that signage design has become a graduate degree program in American colleges. Like most modern administrative practices, they have “innovated, standardized and optimized” themselves beyond practical usefulness for anyone but special interests.
Anything we allow to be less than magnificent just accustoms us to spirit-death of our inner cities and our inner life. It promotes a prison-block siege mentality ripe for weapons exploitation. Urban wellbeing cannot be degraded, in order to chase the poor off our streets without worsening the lot of every passerby. More and more frequently these days, downtowns are fit only for a handful of millionaires and many homeless people while a daily tide of suburban salaried commuters rises before sunrise and falls just as quickly by sunset.
In the future, city centers will house millions of urban inhabitants who will work at home. Agglomerations of office towers will become virtual and disappear with the exception of one floor of office space for multiple floors of home space in every urban tower.
Motor roads will gird acres of motor-free urban parkland. American college campuses operate quite well this way. The best college campuses imitate the ergonomics of a Renaissance city. Equipped with comprehensive mass transit, modern plumbing, optical cable and power, these new campuses provide ideal layouts for future Learner achievement.
Only pedestrians, animals, bicycles and rare service vehicles would be allowed within these zones otherwise off-limits to autos. Greenbelts will extend the length and breadth of future cities, providing excellent right-of-ways for bicycles and pedestrians. They’ll serve as runways for public transit vehicles whether under ground, on the surface or LTA.
Bicycles are very efficient modes of transportation; they will be adopted wherever autos are forbidden. Those modes of transport should not be mixed. Otherwise, as often happens today, common steel crushes the finest bone as mediocre car drivers run down laudable bicyclists. Instead, cantilevered bicycle/pedestrian arterials will bridge auto-road networks in built-up areas. At other intersections, pedestrians and bicycles will gain right of way over cars, the same way sailboats claim priority over motor vessels on the high seas.
Modern combatants are expected to drive and maintain military vehicles. All-consuming industrial cartels spawn the huge vehicle fleets that mechanized armies require. The average civilian has to maintain a private vehicle both to keep in practice and to subsidize giant automotive piecework, assembly and maintenance complexes. Once war erupts, it would take too long to train novice mechanics, build new factories from scratch and grow the sickly corporate hierarchies needed to run them.
The replacement of private vehicles by omnipresent public transport offers obvious peace advantages. By public transit, I don’t mean a fleet of ugly, stinking, roaring poisonous, decrepit, crowded, clumsy, untimely, uncomfortable and crime-ridden busses that force commuters to share each other’s courtesy and hygiene failures. Bus fleets pick them up and drop them off in mini-garbage dumps; fleets that deafen them both inside and outside the vehicle; that paint them with carcinogenic, immune-suppressing and spirit-crushing diesel stink every hour of the day. No new automobile could be sold if it deafened its occupants the way busses do, if it stank half as bad and were half as uncomfortable.
Picture instead a continuous capillary flow of private but subsidized jitneys and microbuses powered by quiet, non-polluting engines. This stream would feed arteries of mixed transit including articulated busses, monorails, light rail, walk-on ferries and lighter-than-air commuter transports. This door-to-door service would be spiced with stimulating walkabouts through pleasant neighborhoods at a fraction of current costs. A dollar spent on mass transit generates more jobs than the same dollar spent on private automobiles, more so than one spent on military highways and many more than on weapons … So what are we waiting for?
In due course, cars will be confined to interurban highways, to suburban park-and-ride facilities, to highrise and underground garages — then to recycling plants. Horses and mules will stage comebacks in the countryside as will camels in arid climes and dromedaries, llama and alpaca in mountain regions. A new industry of wheeled carriages and agricultural machinery will emerge. Good use will be made of new draught animals (with machines in their train collecting and burning dung as fuel, for example); solar electric power; high-strength, low weight polymers; and virtually frictionless, space-manufactured moving parts.
Learner consumers will witness another cultural evolution. They will favor the repair of high-quality equipment over its cheap replacement. High quality, simplicity and sturdiness will be the ultimate intent of design; as will longevity, dependability and ease of repair. Those not handcrafted locally will be dropped to the surface from orbital factories with gravity-cheapened delivery charges. Lengthy technical apprenticeships will reappear along with master craftsmanship.
Incompetent administrators will disappear as political terms are reduced and wary amateurs assume their responsibilities. Unrelenting political overwatch will become a spectator sport; behind-the-scenes politics will come under intense public scrutiny. Political secrets and scandals will attract aggressive investigators the way today’s paparazzi pursue reclusive media stars.
Small family stores, shops and coops will flourish once again at the expense of corporate chains boycotted. Pollution problems will shrink as automobiles are relegated to bulk transport and emergency services, and as new conservation technologies reduce energy demands. General health will improve with more exercise. Automotive pollution will disappear and environmental health will recover synergistically.
Nowadays, we shop for labor saving household devices and expensive exercise machines. This combination is profitable for the few but a waste of time and money for us common folk. Instead, people will get back on their feet and walk. Perhaps they – and especially their tireless children – will visit exercise stations where their aerobic efforts will generate a little electricity, improve their health, and earn them a little pocket change — the way today’s indigents earn a few bucks for their blood.
The protagonists of Secrets of the Soil: New Age Solutions for Restoring our Planet, Harper Collins & Row, 1989, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, (who co-authored The Secret Life of Plants), provide interesting cases of future cottage industries that specialize in organic soil restoration by means of microbial, insect, fungus and plant symbiotic mixtures as substitutes for synthetic fertilizers and toxic “pest control” agents that jeopardize the biosphere. Net increases in soil depth by microbiological ministrations will outstrip global soil depletion induced by industrial agriculture with its chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
The practice of industrial terra preta (biochar, agrichar) may bring about two vital outcomes:
· millions of tons per year of biocharcoal to serve as high-carbon fertilizer for depleted soils; and
· the systematic reduction of humanity’s CO2 production and its global warming.
Factories will be installed at the mouth of great rivers to harvest chemical fertilizers and other toxic ingredients before they flow out to sea. Future farmers will exploit sea-floor soil mining, composting, crop rotation, reforestation and accelerated aging of artificial ponds and lakes.guidance will regulate genetic architecture. Learners will dismantle outrageous industrial cartels that:
· factory-farm neomutant, pseudo-food beasts stuffed with antibiotics;
· raise industrial crops loaded with gene-engineered toxins;
· peddle mountains of pesticides that sterilize the soil, along with surplus chemical and animal manures that eutrophy waterways; and
· commit agricultural strip-mining in general.
Organic pest controls and fertility enhancers will replace those hydra-headed monsters. Food animals will be tailored for strength and health, not enfeebled to increase their dependence on corporate pharmaceuticals. Their digestive tracts will be tailored to digest re-architected versions of prolific native weeds. In this manner, their oft-contaminated feed supplements may be eliminated.
Learners will ban engineered cannibalism altogether. Reprocessed flesh is often fed to penned livestock, poultry and fish stocks, relying on the different physiologies of species to prevent the eaten from cross-infecting the eater. Yet that is still the likeliest route of vicious infections and prion pandemics. Attempts to raise factory beasts in static lots will be curtailed along with other factory farming abuses.
Or else humanity will adopt vegetarianism and/or insectivorism and suffer from existential nausea at the idea of ingesting beasts that bleed and suffer the same way we do. Our descendants may well think of us, primitive omnivores by choice, as monstrous spendthrifts and monsters of cruelty.
Learners will develop high-protein, high vitamin foods based on microorganisms like Chlorella, Wolffia and Spirulina. The advanced cultivation of microorganisms, insects and aquaculture fish will replace domesticated livestock and marine fisheries: archaic industries whose luxury products will be consigned to rare, ritual consumption. Instead of spoiling half the world harvest every year, cultivated pests could supply half our protein requirements and reduce our farmed acreage.
Towns will have at least one large structure (several, to ensure redundancy during urban emergencies) in which enough insects, bacteria and algae would be raised to provide the city’s inhabitants with their basic daily nutritional requirements. These harvests may proliferate in urban settings and elsewhere once they are provided with sufficient quantities of clean water and sunlight. Those urban factories might reduce the farm acreage required to support city populations, perhaps by several times; they might also serve as heat pumps and water purification plants.
Today’s cardboard-flavored soy burgers and half-cooked, “hand-cut” fries will evolve into nutritious gourmet items with the mouthwatering crunch and delicate savor of golden crisp french fries and top-grade hamburgers cooked medium rare, exceeding their nutritional content and eliminating toxic ingredients. Of course, other flavors and mouth feels will be perfected.
Splendid foodstuffs can be grown in the desert: cholla buds, chia seeds, tepary beans, pads of prickly pear cactus and flour made from mesquite pods. These items are among the healthiest foods on Earth. The Tohona O’dham tribe of Tucson, Arizona specializes in growing these kinds of crops.
The Mongongo nut tree (Ricinodendron Rautanenii or Euphorbiaceae Schinziophyton) is a drought-resistant plant that provides abundant nutrition to hunter-gatherers in Africa. A given weight of its nuts offers twice as much protein as steak and five times as many calories as rice.
The Moringa (Moringa Oleifera) is a tree with many medicinal and nutritious attributes. Its seeds bear 30% cooking oil and the remaining seedcake can serve as a flocculent to purify water. Its seedpods are called drumsticks and prepared like pea pods, its seeds and flowers are edible. Its leaves are said to contain more Vitamin A than carrots, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more Vitamin C than oranges, and more potassium than bananas. It is drought resistant, grows on almost every continent and restores fertility to poor soils. But it can’t tolerate freezing or frost. In that case, grow industrial lots of it under greenhouse glass.
Other desert desserts may replace the over-processed flour, toxin-laced fat, diabetes-inducing sugar and even more toxic sugar substitutes with which we dose ourselves these days.
In 2008, Carl Hodges grew a crop of Salicornia (sea asparagus) and other halophytes (salt-loving plants) by irrigating desert crop fields using seawater from the Sea of Cortez. Salicornia can be eaten steamed or fresh, squeezed for cooking oil and ground into high-protein flour. Let’s hope it tastes good.
An Israeli researcher discovered that regular crops can be drip-irrigated with salt water provided that their root beds are never allowed to dry. Tremendous stretches of desert could be covered with salt-tolerant ground cover edible or otherwise.
As for hemp, here are 101 uses for it as a food item, medicine, article of toiletry and industrial component: http://www.recipenet.org/health/articles/101_uses_hemp_chart.htm Its criminalization, merely because it is one of the finest psychotropic drugs in history, is a crime against humanity.
Genetic architecture and economies of scale promise to accelerate the development of algal food technologies. By genetic architecture, I do not mean trial and error manipulations of genetic material to satisfy corporate specifications for absurd offspring: flat-bottomed, tasteless, always red tomatoes; herbicide-resistant weeds; etc. Rather, as part of a mystical transformation of human awareness, the(spirit architects of biological organisms) will teach useful details of biomimicry to teams of genetic architects, biologists, ethnobotanists and shamans. Working together, they’ll show us how best to serve Gaia and Learners.
Buffalo, wildebeest, deer and antelope will graze vast regions returned to wildlife ecology along with their natural predators. This mix of beasts is most likely to knead the soil back into its maximum productivity. Spirit-reverent nomad hunter-gatherers may reclaim their ancestral homelands.
In the past, pastoral nomads menaced the sedentary farmer. The former had to prove ‒ anywhere, any time and anyhow ‒ that they could defend their herds and their honor; the latter, that they could cooperate with their neighbors. With but a few exceptions, this made for victims and aggressors. All three face annihilation at the hands of industrial weapon technicians. On the other hand, peace technicians will welcome those cultural offshoots as self-sufficient recreational communities. After all, hunter-gathering, nomadic herding and freehold farming have been natural human lifestyles for quite some time. Habitats along these lines could become “tourist attractions” for urbanites so inclined.
Have you become an obese, sluggish city rat like me? Take up the hard life of a deep-forest hunter-gatherer for six months. Come back in a lot better shape, your spirit revived and your skewed priorities redefined — or don’t come back at all. Survival will be tough out there.
As a priority, coastlines, riverfronts, latitude and altitude growth boundaries will be re-edenized as a new form of worship and a sinkhole for new, surplus wealth. Learners will cultivate climax ecology biohabitats for their aesthetic, ecological, climatic and spiritual benefits much more so than for mere profit — even though they may prove to be much more profitable in the long run.
Commercial fishing enthusiasts have promised unlimited tonnages of seafood into the distant future, even though the sea has become a problematic source of sustenance — more so every day. Such diverse authorities as J.E. Lovelock, the author of The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth, Bantam Books, New York, 1990; Elisabet Sahtouris, the author of Gaia, Pocket Books, New York, 1989; and Lynn Margulis have warned us against unlimited commercial fishing. They have argued that land-bound ecocide may destroy humanity but not all life. Earth’s primal life force won’t go into serious death spasms until algae-moderated oceanic heat, salinity and carbon dioxide regimes undergo a serious imbalance.
Human encroachment is threatening to do just that. Marine ecologies undergo sewage-and-fertilizer-induced oxygen depletion (eutrophication), toxin dumping, frenetic over-fishing, greenhouse ice-melt cooling and oil spills: especially countless minor spills and ship ballast releases. Compared to them, dramatic supertanker disasters are surprisingly less significant. Red and black tides are further symptoms of this accelerating decay, whose impact corporate media fall over themselves to trivialize. Catastrophic oil spills and methane releases have become more and more common and widespread.
Factory-ships rake the ocean floor with four-meter (eleven-foot wide) beam trawls. These armored dredge nets annihilate biota and their habitats indiscriminately; they leave a mud-clouded desert in their wake, heedless of ocean depth and ecological stability. Such cold, dark and fragile ecologies will take decades or longer to recover, assuming they ever do so before human civilization disappears.
This is the way to trigger a new age of piracy on the Somali coast and elsewhere, using corporate factory trawlers that burn government subsidized fuel to empty the nets of local fishermen across the world’s oceans for years to come.
Other industrial fishermen have cast so many mile-long, forty-foot deep drift nets that they could encircle the Earth a couple times a year. These imperishable nylon nets are often lost at sea and turn into “ghost nets.” The death-throes of their initial victims attract many more and kill them uselessly for years on end.
That lovely fish filet on your dinner plate represents uncounted pounds of sea life ripped from the sea and gone to waste.
It is scary to contemplate capitalist enterprise rolling up its sleeves, spitting into its hands and wading out into the deep ocean to reap raw profit. We should withdraw it from the oceans for a few decades, if only to let them recover. Failing that, reduce its impact on the sea in other significant ways. This exclusion would not be too difficult since long-distance fishing requires massive government subsidies to pay for its fuel bills.
Learners will establish thousands of Maritime Parks (starting with the Great Barrier Reef currently moribund), including the most fertile and damaged stretches of the sea. Often, unfortunately, they are the same. Protective legislation will accelerate natural recovery by means of draconian fisheries management, toxic cleanup, runoff regulation and biological reinforcement. Surplus submarines will monitor commercial fishing and pollution dumping. Vessels abusing such activities should be monitored and overtaken by obsolete nuclear submarines, then confiscated, stripped down and sunk with great fanfare to form artificial reefs.
We may achieve a better understanding of oceanic currents, and mine the sea bottom not only for magnesium nodules and suchlike trash but for sea bottom nutrients. Future technologies as-yet-unknown may allow us to raise cold, abyssal waters full of nutrients to the ocean’s surface. This would create artificial reef effects as bountiful as natural cold-water currents.
I foresee underwater power plants whose waste heat would raise these cold currents to coastal surfaces, uplift untold amounts of submarine nutrients and thus explode fish populations while accelerating and fine-tuning the climate-stabilizing properties of underwater currents. We would have to find new sites for these projects that would interfere with neither the natural fisheries described below nor with the major oceanic currents.
Such currents rise to 0.1 percent of the ocean surface just off the coasts of Peru, California and Africa (Mauritania, Namibia and Somalia). Another significant fishery is the Kildinbaken fishing ground in the Barents Sea. These tiny fisheries produce half the world’s fish harvest per Brian Fagan’s Floods, Famines and Emperors: El Niño and the Fate of Civilizations, Basic Books, New York, 1999, p. 31. All of them should become Marine Sanctuaries. Eventually, they we can be restocked with fully mature species both enormous and plentiful.
Even more significantly, we should engage in the equivalent a new planetary Manhattan Project to develop photosynthetic capabilities in human skin and free us from our need to kill to feed. The details of this technology exhaust my imagination as do its long-term consequences. Nancy Kress’ elitist science fiction novel, Beggars and Choosers has scooped me on this topic. Others have shown us the social nightmare that such a technology could generate at the hands of the usual psychopaths who would fill the world with miserable beings who could not starve to death quickly.
Some clever real estate magnates have discovered that sound ecological investments generate enormous profits. In Alexandria, Virginia, my father spent his last few years protecting the suburban landscape from cost-cutting developers. In such lucky communities, real-estate revenues skyrocketed through loving attention to environmental detail. In general, I despise most developers: serial eradicators of forest cover for profit: they wind up being worse than invasive, tree-eating insect species.
A few industrialists slightly less stupid have spun off superior production and quality control methods by going green, as well as superb advertising opportunities. But most of them have paid mere lip service to their stewardship responsibilities. Like the econologicians they must have studied in school, they have abandoned sustainability in practice — to their ultimate disgrace.
The impulsive rage the business community displays towards each new environmental and labor challenge resembles the frustrated temper tantrums of a spoiled child. The merchant community can’t afford this spoiled-brat attitude much longer. Scrupulous attention to ecology and human rights is going to become just another business expense less negotiable than outlays on plant, payroll and marketing. In the long run, such expenditures will be far more profitable than warfare taxes.
New regulations will prevent potential polluters and their patrons from doing business unless they move with their families to the site of their potential disaster. Local administrations will share power with their constituencies. Slumlords, bank and insurance executives, supervisors of police, judiciary and municipal services; all of them will need to revise their routines to retain their jobs. These officials will relocate with their families into the least well-run neighborhood in their care. The children of the rich may not attend the school of their choice until per capita funding has been equalized for every schoolchild in that bioregion.
In The Earth in the Balance, Vice President Al Gore suggests that the world’s bookkeepers enter environmental impacts and resource exhaustion in their Depreciation column. First World banks could credit Third World countries for forest parklands they set aside and high-pollution technologies they renounce. They would shelve power plants that burned sulfurous coal, for example, and massive slash-and-burn land grabs. Said credits could finance state-of-the-art, low-pollution technologies of native design.
I got some free advice quite some time ago. If just one penny a day had been invested in my name since the day I was born, this account would have allowed me to live my adult life in comfort off the interest. Well, since its infancy, humanity has bled off at least a third of its income – every day of every year – into weapons activities and their peripheral wastage. No wonder we can’t afford peace improvements!
In truth, we can afford everything we need for PeaceWorld. We cannot afford to do anything less, since poverty is by far the most expensive social policy.
Get used to that at least.