One of the many focuses of the Integrated and Adaptive Community Developments is the provision of housing for virtually all of the homeless and indigent people of the world. There have been more than a few highly ... motivated ... for lack of a better, kinder or more gentle word ... contractors with one particular agency who have professed the ability to build a million homes in each and every nation of the worldi ... so long as it is done with their patented and innovative technology.
Forgetting for a moment, the logistics involved in such a herculean undertaking, it is just not scientifically, mathematically or otherwise even a remote possibility that such a feat could be accomplished. At least not if it was all going to be using the very same materials and technologies. No matter what the technologies involved or what their materials were comprised of, there just are not enough natural resources available to build a million different homes utilizing the same, limited natural resources, much less to build a million homes in over two hundred nations.
Natural Resource Sustainability involves proper natural resource management first and foremost in addition to utilizing new and innovative technologies that allow those resources to be used as thoroughly as possible before producing any real waste. Natural Resource Management means considering all of the relevant factors regarding the resources to be utilized, all the way through to the end, not just to the point of consumption. The fact remains that we have just scratched the surface, literally and figuratively, when it comes to our understanding of the planet and our environment. Even with space exploration, it is mandatory that we become better stewards of our planet here first.
Natural resources are in fact very limited. A great many of the technologies within the Integrated and Adaptive Community Developments utilize solid waste and solid waste refuseii but even still, it is not a limitless supply that can just be produced out of thin air. Lithium Ion batteries are one example that would be beneficial for teaching a lesson here. While the batteries themselves may be more environmentally friendly, the lithium mines are horrible on the surrounding environment.
Consideration must be given to the original extraction of the raw materials, the pollution created in refining the raw materials into a viable resource and even more, whether or not those resources can be recycled or even disposed of efficientlyiii and re-utilized or re-purposed either in their original state or in some other form.
Technology is currently available that has the capacity to turn an entire mountain into viable resources, separating each and every mineral in anything that is run through the process without leaving any waste in its wake ... or any remnant of the mountain itselfiv. Gold, steel, lead, copper and even rare earth minerals in addition to virtually anything else that can be utilized, can all be separated and put in their respective piles to be utilized by whoever needs them for whatever purpose. Still, just because something can be done does not necessarily make it a good idea. Conversely, it should not be automatically dismissed either. The very idea of turning a mountain range into a sand plain is foolhardy at best and potentially devastating at worst though the ability to utilize all of the available resources on any construction site may certainly have merits worthy of consideration.
What about underground projects? What about all of those locations where tunnels must be dug out or sewers or even underground cities? Is it more viable to take all of the materials out and just unceremoniously dump them in a different location or to utilize all of the resources that are available while building up instead of through the process of mining merely for the sake of mining?
What if no trucks were needed to haul out any waste from the digging projects for new subways and underground high-speed trains? What if these projects produced enough or at least portions of the very resources that they were utilizing for construction in the first place? Is this not going to lessen the adverse environmental impact to a great enough degree to give the technology at least some pause for consideration? The technology in and of itself is not good or bad, but how it is utilized that matters. In this case, raw materials are gathered without the need for unsightly mines that adversely impact the surrounding environment.
Oil is another excellent example and one which needs to be factored into any potential for a balance between nature and the environment and the continued evolution of the human species. At present, oil and natural gas are the most efficient resources available for producing energy that can be used for a multitude of purposes. While the traditional thinking indicates that this is an organic product resulting from rotting carcasses of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, new studies present a strong case that it is in fact, an abiotic and naturally produced substance from the earth itself. Even if this holds to be true, the human race still has no idea why it is there or what its function inside the earth may be. While nobody is suggesting that the world just wake up one morning and wean itself, cold-turkey from oil and oil-based products, is it not a worthwhile and even important effort to find alternative resources no matter what the origins may be?
i One of the stated goals of one group we worked with, was to build a minimum of one million homes in each nation of the earth (insofar as the nation(s) are large enough to accommodate such a number of homes) for the purpose of not only developing additional variations of the Community Developments but also to ensure that all of the homeless and indigent people of the world are provided with safe and secure housing in a clean and sanitary ... and safe and secure community setting. The logistics and limitations and restrictions however, do not support the viability of such a project, nor did their idea of funding.
ii REFUSE: matter thrown away or rejected as worthless; trash. While a discussion of solid waste refuse may sound redundant, it is not. Many of the new and innovative technologies utilized within the Integrated and Adaptive Community Developments utilize solid waste for building materials, fuel sources, energy generation and other uses. Some of these technologies produce a residual product which can also be utilized in other technologies and/or for other purposes.
iii While many products can be recycled, it is not always a truly viable option merely for the sake of replenishing or sustaining the original source materials. In the case of recycling for the purposes of going back to the original material, the only substance that does not cost more and create more pollution than the original process, is with regards to aluminum. While other recycling programs may make people feel better, they do little to help financially or environmentally. Some major cities such as New York have had to discontinue their recycling programs for financial reasons but there are environmental concerns as well that need to be addressed realistically.
iv This technology is highly proprietary and protected in nature and is limited at the time of this writing. However, discussions have already been made with the corporation to buy them outright allowing them to maintain all rights to the technology while granting exclusivity to its use.