Hi Franz and Gary,
Franz, I hope that you can forgive me for speaking so strongly of the inadequacy of traditional building design to face the urgent challenges of this century. I feel strongly that we must be open to inventing some truly new patterns for Eco Living - thus there is a need for receptiveness for new methods to restore and renew old values. Though these innovations will be expressed in the form of new technology, such technology is not always "Hi Tech" - but it will be appropriate and often "Low Tech" technology that is "not out of control" and is based on truly ecological design that is adapted to each community. These "living structures" will support human life by a very high productivity of food, water, biofuel and other renewable resources. It is my view that these developments are actually the answer to the hopelessness that is expressed by many (most) of today's "experts" - as for example the Life After The Oil Crash website by Matt Savinar
Our problems do have solutions. The difficulty for the experts is that they cannot make the leap from problem analysis to innovative, new patterns. Take landuse for example: "In the US, roughly 450 million acres of land is used for growing crops, with the majority of that actually being used for producing animal feed for the meat industry. Another 580 million acres is used for grassland pasture and range, according to the USDA's Economic Research Service. This accounts for nearly half of the 2.3 billion acres within the US." The expert opinion is that the Biomass Crops cannot be a solution to energy supply because there is not enough land and the energy imputs for growing the crops is too large.
However, with our new Sola Roof paradigm, land and conventional crops are no longer the issue. Our innovative solution produces the renewable resources that we need solely from our urban area (only 3% of landuse, or 66 million acres) by our buildings (about one trillion square feet of roof area) when they are constructed with a new approach. The efficient and productive (transparent) Sola Roof Building Envelope - this is a step further than Green, which is about the environment - to a Blue Green solution which is for people and their human habitation. We need to achieve a new level of self reliant living that achieves a "supernatural" level of ecological life support within the our controlled environment structures.
Then, without any need to impose agricultural and forestry mono cultures on the landscape, which are so destructive to the soils and natural ecology of the planet, we can live without doing harm. Rather, we can focus on the positive; the restoration of nature and of wilderness. Human habitat and lifestyle will actually operate to clean and renew the air and water and build up natural ecological capacities. Our Blue Green habitats, with their own built in ecological life support can therefore interface more directly and closely with the natural environment and cultivated landscapes, including gardens and permaculture. Perhaps new communities will be built in a dense "ribbon style" Arcology? will be born out of this new Eco Living solution that will be a synthesis of man and nature - to reach the supernatural. It would be a non intrusive web of human habitat resting lightly upon the landscape - no heavy footprint that obliterates. As Franz said:
"Our built environment must have proximity of various forms and layers of nature: the intensive rural, the extensive rural, the shared natural, the protected natural. Permaculture and many other ways show that humans can immensely increase their cooperation with nature and also gain from it while nature gains. Humans orchestrating natures cycles so species survive instead of being extinct.”
As this pattern becomes is adopted universally (adaptation to local cultures and conditions is guaranteed by our DIY grass roots method) the negative trends will be arrested and then rolled back - something that no other proposal is offering. A vast rate of removal of CO 2 from the atmosphere is possible through the Sola Roof Mass Algae Culture concept, which is independent of "land" since it uses our building envelopes. Using no more than the building envelope area required by our residential habitat (although all structures are adaptable to the Sola Roof method) we can be self reliant in terms of liquid fuel replacement (all diesel and gasoline). The algae, so produced, is 50% vegetable oil by weight and would be separated and processed into Bio Diesel and other natural by products resulting in dense CO 2 storage as a sequestration solution.
Concurrently our transparent building envelope system produces comfortable, low energy controlled environments with daylight for living and working and for growing higher plants (within the Solar Controlled Environment) for food, feed, fiber and biotech purposes in addition to producing large quantities of fresh water from condensation of plant transpired moisture (Transpiration Condensate?). Also, living Plant Culture? systems are used to treat and purify gray water while using Bio Digester systems to reduce plant solids to methane and nutrient rich organic fertilizer. Zero Waste? means no pollution and many closed cycles. The EcoSphere is a modular unit in which a synthesis of all these closed (and controlled) systems can be shown as an "Sola Roof/Archology". It builds on the fundamental positive directions mapped by Paolo and Bucky by enclosing within a light tensegrity dodecahedron structure a complete demonstration of such synthesis. These Eco Sphere modules would form interconnected arcs and clusters of intersecting "great circles" forming dome like Arcology cluster as a Village Vision?. The controlled environment spaces are within the 3D structure of the arcs and clusters, while modified environment spaces can be managed below (especially under the dome like clusters) or, the natural landscape can be built over, but almost undisturbed.
Traditional buildings can co-exist with this new Arcology vision and it is not necessary to see an immediate application of an Arcology vision to most situations. However, the vast amount of new construction that is needed for both poor (for example the 400 million homeless will increase to 800 million by 2020 on present trends) and rich communities (California's residential growth is projected to expand 40% in the next ten years) indicates that it is a breakthrough in building methods that is needed if we are to avoid crushing the planetary ecology under the heavy footprint of humanity. A growing percentage of people will desire to shift from the old to the new Eco Living paradigm. The Eco Sphere? Sola Roof/Arcology is a high profile "futuristic" concept that would bring attention and interest to the paradigm shift - but solaroof can also be incorporated in low profile solutions that can be so integrated that the roof is practically invisible (and it is transparent) and has a more subtle presence.
I also would like to make a note for Gary that I would like very much to discuss how we can bring the solaroof community into the framework of the Open Coop and perhaps have support from the Open University for our continued growth and development. Perhaps it would be possible to meet with you Gary and any key people in the Open Coop (perhaps Mamading) that you might like to join with us. As we discussed briefly on the phone, I would like to see us partner with others that have a a good platform of technologies and integration or synthesis of "best of" ICT solutions in the framework of the Firefox Browser. Skype is another group that I would like to seek to partner with and also a merged and powerful but simple Wiki technology. I believe that some of the leaders of Wiki development (including Patrick Michaud's Pm Wiki team) would be willing to form a collaboration that would allow the Wiki endusers to move easily between wiki communities and groups and also to navigate the "Wiki World" - initially we could focus on our Global social community that we are calling the Open Eco? movement.
I predict that this community will include most of the environmental and conservation movement but will also expand on those constituencies by vast numbers as we see people transforming their lifestyles to that of Eco Living. Eco Living embraces urban, rural, village, city, traditional and progressive people. It will be a powerful grass roots community that will have a world transformation mission that will play a key role in building a sustainable future (of our dreams) and avoiding the overshoot and collapse scenario (of our nightmares). This global transformation is reflected in local and personal transformations of our home environment, communities and lifestyle - this is the reason why we need a tremendous capacity to support personal action and to make our ICT tools accessible, affordable and adaptable. They will support DIY methods that empower our enduser community and will engage a vast number enthusiasts who will form our collaborative and interactive development community. There will also be a strong and growing "group" and enterprise network that will prosper in the Open Source business environment.
If Open Coop, in partnership with other very significant Open Source Enterprises, can create the right environment - then on a social level I can promise that a significant and rapidly growing Global community is ready and "actively" waiting for these systems to empower a global shift in lifestyle. It is a match that is destined to restore hope and capacity and will banish worries of scarcity and conflict while rooting out the actual causes of poverty.
No doubt I have belaboured my message - since I know that you are all well informed and moving in the same direction.. However, many people can only see dead end avenues ahead and there are to many predictions that disaster is inevitable - so I just want to make sure that it is clear that our community has seen the light at the end of the tunnel and we are proving that a way forward is at hand and within reach of everyone. Sola Roof will appreciate all the help that can be offered since there is such a great urgency to move rapidly from present constraints and limitations to expanding opportunities and implementing a vast and holistic action agenda.
Franz, I hope we meet again soon. Gary, I feel that meeting with you again is a very high priority and I wonder if it would be possible this week?