©2015 Kim Gyr,
Sustainability designer, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.sustainabilityforever.org,
Skype: Kim.Gyr, 001 231 392 6511
This is a provocative title, but a mandatory one too! How close is our entire species to the edge of a future without any petroleum, and with global climates tending toward what we currently see in the middle of the world’s greatest deserts? The Sahara was once a lush savannah, and before that a vast swamp. So, what future have we, given that it is now the world’s greatest desert?
Many are awakening to the fact that tomorrow must be very different from the present that we all live and breath every day! When all the petroleum is gone, and before climates transform all continents toward drier conditions, we must have built a global infrastructure that can accommodate all of this planet’s current residents – animal, plant, and human!
The alternative is what – a slide into environments that can no longer provide what we all take for granted right now: energy, food, housing, jobs, transportation, education and stable politics? How well could we all do on much less of every one of the above list? How many of us could survive, literally?
Both Peak Oil and Global Climate Change discussions have been around long enough to have credibility to all but those in the pockets of our major corporations – and they are both killers on a truly massive scale! Consider that global population reached 1 billion only in about 1820, just before the Industrial Revolution began, and that by 2 estimates it reached 7 billion sometime between October 2011 and March 2012.
When global temperatures rise and there is no more petroleum, how might humans on this planet, you and I and all of our children, survive when under the no petroleum scenario alone, back before 1820, there was almost always conflict between only 1 billion inhabitants, that is only 1/7th of the planet’s current population?
You and I need to immediately look around and decide what we might be able to build to keep all of us alive, given that petroleum will disappear to nothing, and climate change transform what now produces food into desert! We need to do this rationally, with as little conflict as possible – conflict destroys everything, as seen in the once fertile Middle East, the birthplace of modern agriculture and the Egyptian and Persian Empires!
So, what can we build that will still be here 100, 1,000, and one million years from now, and for the dinosaurs, who dominated Earth for probably , one million years was but a drop in the bucket!
- Our sun is the source of everything that we use today, from the energy that permitted ancient plants and animals to live, die and be transformed to oil and coal, to the energy that we use in real-time for the newer solar, wind and tidal power plants. Therefore, we must base all of our future sources on solar alone! Of course, there will be nuclear and geo-thermal but, like fossil fuels, nuclear and geo-thermal can never be quasi-eternally renewable and sustainable like solar is!
- The cheapest form of solar energy is wind energy, so we must base most of our power supplies on Wind, in new and highly innovative ways!
- Optimizing the synergies between energy supplied and used, in all its applications for food production, transportation, heating, light and power, etc. will be extremely critical for the provision of a viable future for the entire planet!
- The planet’s current human infrastructure is extremely inefficient, particularly for the provision of food, energy, jobs, transportation – everything! Can we not do much much better for the infinite eternity that awaits, starting now?
- Architects, civil engineers, engineers of all kinds, designers, etc. will be key players in the creation of this revolution in global infrastructure, as follows:
- Prevailing wind directions, in the Northern Hemisphere, are from the West. Can we not optimize power generation from these Westerlies by building Linear Cities, north to south, border to border, between our existing cities, across the country in areas with the highest and most consistent wind speeds?
- The first map, below, is color coded for average daily wind speed, with the position of existing cities shown in black.If we add both average wind direction (prevailing westerlies) and average truck traffic on the national highways, some patterns emerge (below). We can use those patterns to imagine/design a national network of Linear Cities, to provide energy from the wind alone, rail transportation, and access to fields to grow crops 100% sustainably!
- There are very few people in our windiest areas, which are also our greatest for food production!We have only to build them alongside existing freeways, and build many more of them through our windiest areas, to begin to realize what is an absolute: that our children’s children can live the eternal future without a drop of petroleum or a lump of coal! The sooner that we build them, the greater the conflict that we will avoid, as well as to preserve petroleum for much more long-term uses: their conversion for use as fertilizers, pesticides, plastics, and even cosmetics.
As we creep toward a future with no remaining fossil fuels, it may be very worth our while to consider that our Great Plains will become the most suitable for the installation of Linear Cities, whose energy can come solely from that wind, as follows:
- As indicated on the map above, we can start 1. By constructing wind turbine arrays along the north-to-south highways through the Great Plains. 2. We can follow that with the installation of both high-, medium-, and low-speed rail along their footings, as well as induction tracks set under the concrete of the adjacent highways to power electric vehicles without the need for those vehicles to stop and recharge their batteries, ever! Such systems are being considered both in Singapore and Lausanne, Switzerland. Finally, 3. we can build the Linear Cities alongside, 3 – 5 stories high with ducted wind turbines along their rooflines, as above and below.
Alternatively, and should the world’s petroleum resources find themselves depleted more rapidly than we currently expect, we can erect the wind turbines and cable coated Kevlar tents between their masts, so that more of our urban populations can move rapidly into fabricated homes that are housed within them. This would enable everyone to walk into fields to tend crops much more rapidly than otherwise!
- By placing these structures along coastlines, as indicated on the above map, greater average wind speeds can be expected, and harvested! This alternative is appropriate for the situation that we rapidly seem to be getting into – waiting so long to respond to the challenges of both climate change and Peak Oil that we then have no recourse but to take the most rapid route to 100% sustainability!
- The last 2 words in the above paragraph define what to me is the only possible outcome to the gigantic problems posed by the collision of enormous and rapidly growing populations, and the eventual disappearance of ALL of this planet’s fossil fuel resources!
- It is an elegant solution in that it exploits, for the first time, the use of the nuclear fusion that has occurred naturally and “forever” in our sun, without any of the Tokamak containment problems that our paltry human efforts to duplicate it here on Earth have so far failed to resolve!
- There are also more intermediate solutions that can help global populations achieve 100% planetary sustainability before we are able to complete the construction of Linear Cities across every continent, or run out of the energy required to keep most of us alive! These are solutions that will enable us to drastically cut the energy currently being swallowed by both personal car use while making their use far safer, and transportation across oceans:
- The car above has a diesel/electromagnetic flywheel hybrid engine, where power can be taken off the flywheel at any radius from its center, at constant RPMs, so that power delivery is as variable, or more so, than from conventional internal combustion engines. The car’s chassis and superstructure are rigid in the green section, while the yellow areas are crumple zones, allowing for much “softer” collisions, and therefore many lives saved!
The Hovercat medley illustrated below will return the world to safe and highly energy-efficient trans-oceanic transportation, to enable populations to continue to cross oceans long after there is no more petroleum to power aircraft, or conventional ships! The three water-level Hovercats all employ hovercraft, catamaran and hydrofoil technologies, to elevate the craft out of the water and keep it there, powered and lifted by their ladder kite-sails. The Blimpfoil uses tethered reverse hydrofoils, that can also have lightweight reverse train bogies, so that they may fly from Kansas City direct to Moscow, on/under rails for the land segments and on hydrofoils for the oceans, with no stops in between! As illustrated, the Blimpfoil can use recycled fuselages from the soon-to-be defunct aircraft, nestled under special blimps!