Whole System Sustainable Developments or systemically sustainable developments are an admirable if not necessary goal for the future of humanity, the planet and the overall capacity for the continuation of human growth and development.
Is it possible though, that there may be times when sustainable development is not possible? What are the contributing factors that would prevent development from being conducted in a sustainable fashion? If a development is not sustainable in nature, should it ever be built?
The answers may be somewhat surprising, if not disturbing at least to a limited degree, but also necessary if a realistic approach is going to be taken to ensure the future of Human Growth and Development for the entirety of humankind.
In some of the crazier conspiracy theories, there are those that believe the proverbial powers that be would like to destroy the majority of the population of the world … that is to say, to kill most of the human beings alive today.
On a more rational side of theories, there are those that believe that not only future growth, but even the current population is unsustainable. There are a great many who support various methods of limiting population growth in order to prevent the global population from growing any larger.
There is no shortage of experts who believe that human growth at least in terms of the population should be put on hold as just a beginning.
Certainly, using the same agricultural methods and techniques that have been in use for hundreds or even thousands of years is not going to sustain any major population growth. However, there is a vast amount of research and many new methods being introduced that could indeed ensure the ability to provide the basic necessities of life for all humanity … but is it sustainable in nature?
Sustainability does have numerous limitations and there may be occasions when those limitations need to be accommodated and even allowed if the human species is to retain its ability to grow and expand … even as such expansion begins moving beyond the confines of our current home planet.
“Think Globally and Act Locally!” This is a very good and sound theory, but not always practical in nature.
The work of Michael Reynolds, sometimes known as “The Garbage Warrior” has seen housing that will not only go through the toughest of winters and the harshest of summers with no need for heating or air conditioning, but also has allowed him to grow tropical fruits in the desert of New Mexico.
His accomplishments on a great many fronts have been nothing less than truly amazing, though even here there are some limitations. No matter how much anyone may live largely off the grid, humanity tends to retain a reliance on interaction and interactivity … virtually nobody is wholly self-sustaining in reality.
On a global scale, these human interactions tend to come in two basic forms. At the most basic level, human interaction occurs globally in terms of Global Trade or Global warfare. The same principles, for better or for worse, also hold true at the national level and to some degree, at the level of the States, Provinces and even counties and cities.
Big city living probably is not an ideal scenario for many of the readers of Mother Earth News, but this does not change the fact that more people live in the cities than live in the more isolated rural environments, at least throughout the industrialized nations.
Furthermore, these cities are relevant and necessary for the purposes of both domestic and international trade, and while they may not be an ideal environmental solution, they are substantially less harmful to the environment than warfare.
As such, even though the large cities may not ever be truly sustainable in nature, they will always retain a purpose and have a place in the world. That is a reality that must be accepted … but it does not mean that a large portion of “flyover country” cannot be made more wholly sustainable in nature.
Like many political ideologies, such as those that worked for the sparse, tribal populations of some native and indigenous populations, Sustainability is limited in its capacity. This is exactly why government begins on the smaller scale at the township level and everything is not run from a centralized, federal system far removed from the people.
Such blanket solutions as are the inevitable result of these distant forms of leadership are rarely good for the individual at the local level.
Sustainable Developments are by nature, limited in size, scope and effectiveness. The presence of cities both large and small offer a convenient means for enacting trade and ultimately, for the avoidance of war … which again, will be substantially more harmful environmentally and socially than the presence of the cities will for both humanity and the planet.
While RUrban design and other concepts are coming out that will help to allow cities to be substantially less detrimental to the environment, these programs must be implemented over the course of time to allow the city dwellers to adjust … and to show them the benefits of the implementation of such systems.
Still, it is imperative to remember that cities are as important to global stability through trade and industry, as the rural farmers are for food production. Furthermore, these cities also serve as global ports, allowing for the free flow of goods and products throughout the world.
As always, please leave any of your thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions in the comment section below so that they can be addressed individually, and perhaps even used for consideration in future articles. None of this work would be possible without you, the reader, and as such, your thoughts and considerations are the most important aspect of any articles published herein.