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Natural Sequence Farming

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Old Monday 3rd April 2017, 15:32   #1
Chosun Juan
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Lightbulb Natural Sequence Farming

Water that runs uphill ..... Madness! Or so it was thought - until now ....

Since it is of global significance, I thought I would start a dedicated thread to this revelation, revolution, call it what you will, but the work of visionary, maverick, guru, intuitive landscape whisperer, pioneer, saviour, immovable object/irresistible force, author, oft time pariah, and now OAM, Peter Andrews, is way too important to get lost in the noise.

His Natural Sequence Farming is a glorious legacy to the world, a long awaited and much needed cure to the destruction wrought by modern agricultural and livestock farming man.

I would highly recommend Peter's two brilliant books:
"BACK from the BRINK"
"BEYOND the BRINK"

A brief NSF schematic introduction:
http://www.nsfarming.com/Principles/principles4.html

The main NSF websites:
http://www.nsfarming.com/

http://www.naturalsequencefarming.com/

ABC TV Australian Story NSF documentary series (I suggest you make your own copies of transcripts and additional material as permitted by copyright law):
http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2005/s1383562.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2005/s1388590.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/austory/specia...in/default.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/austory/specia...wo/default.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2015/s4226139.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2015/s4230652.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2015/s4297724.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2015/s4297708.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1925553.htm

http://tarwynpark.com/

Some further references of similar and derivative work:
http://www.watershedartisans.com/ .... Craig Sponholtz
https://earthintegral.com/2012/11/02...nfrastructure/


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Old Wednesday 16th May 2018, 10:47   #2
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Thumbs up

Natural Sequence Farming guru & founder, Peter Andrews OAM has a new website:
https://www.peterandrewsoam.com/

It contains a wealth of information, links, and a host of relevant papers (follow links).

Get into it, get on it, join in, and get it done.



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Old Wednesday 23rd May 2018, 16:17   #3
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Chosun,

Since you seem to be quite a proponent of this, or at least have a passion about the concept, can you provide your own summary here in-forum? Or a link to one?

The Wikipedia article is rather shallow in content, but the other links are either long-winded and lacking even a semblance of depth or conversely are not for casual reading. I was hoping to find a synopsis somewhere in between "cursory" and "needing a degree in horticulture and natural systems science."
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Old Wednesday 23rd May 2018, 18:45   #4
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i wouldn't mind a few square miles to practise this on myself.
all very well for squattocracy to get medals for this but the problem is too many people and ancient soils.
good luck to him and the ideas, yes i read a few links, but it is going to need a bit more than this to be real.
unless they stop immigrants, refuse to allow ownership of more than 20 acres a head, cut out farming of fields mire than 5 acres (especially of horses, sheep, goats and cattle) and give back Land to aboriginals, it is a dream of a middle class, well meaning old white bloke and not much more.

i dont want to be misunderstood, i was privileged to buy 6 acres and live there. but i dont think these ideas work from principle alone. it is a huge continent with little arable land and that is spoken for. first kill all the camels, waterbuffs, rabbits and other vermin and get rid of sheep. that would be a start.

i am not racist at all, by stop immigrants i mean of any kind and take the pressure off where suburbs are eating up precious arable land. you look at the backyards of many of the 1st generation italian immigrants for example and you see prolific gardens but today it is lawns and malls spreading out. bushfires roar through those suburbs too. the best start for any of this would be in local councils planning with requirements of green growth of the right kind and rain water preservation.

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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 05:33   #5
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Arrow

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Originally Posted by CalvinFold View Post
Chosun,

Since you seem to be quite a proponent of this, or at least have a passion about the concept, can you provide your own summary here in-forum? Or a link to one?

The Wikipedia article is rather shallow in content, but the other links are either long-winded and lacking even a semblance of depth or conversely are not for casual reading. I was hoping to find a synopsis somewhere in between "cursory" and "needing a degree in horticulture and natural systems science."
Whoa - no small task ! :)

I will try and give a quick reponse for now, and give a more detailed response later when time allows. Really the best bet is to read his two books (several times of necessity!) and see working demonstration sites. I have met him, and he is an intuitive genius. I have seen the two feet of topsoil generated on his property while surrounding property's are more thin precarious topsoils tending to gravel and dust.

The reason that a simple "prescriptive formula" is elusive is because of the complex and individual analysis required for each case. In nearly all instances you are starting from heavily heavily damaged landscapes, and so some intermediary repair processes are required.

It is even recorded in religious tomes throughout the world that this mob or that mob "salted" the landscape and laid waste to it so that rivals were left with a barren prize. Nothing more than the salinity and desertification as a result of grazing/ agriculture as it has been practised since its invention.

In Australia this situation is exacerbated since the landscape evolved without hard-hoofed animals - consequently, invaders were able to destroy the natural functioning in a matter of decades, particularly by destroying the integral wetlands in a chain of ponds.

As a quick summary - water should remain within the soil and vegetation, water should run on higher points of the landscape (this is a mind bender to get your head around until the penny drops). Weeds are to be viewed (and used) as regenerative colonisers, and soil should be formed - not lost.

Contrast this to the present degraded landscape - chemically poisoned, cleared, incised, eroded watercourses act as drains - drying the land, carting soil and fertility out to sea in an increasing vicious cycle.

Research is thin on the ground but this is THE major cause of global warming, compounded by clapped out and economically unviable former arable land being concreted over for cities and ever expanding suburbs.



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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 08:17   #6
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Hi Chosun,

Thanks for sharing! I've not had time to look at the details but the principle looks great - and the aspiration is certainly something that should be applauded (and applied as widely as possible in my opinion).

I couldn't help but notice you mentioning it's THE major cause of global warming which it isn't - that dubious honour still goes to us transferring carbon stored in the geosphere to the atmosphere/hydrosphere/biosphere. Total global estimates for soil carbon are in the range of 1500 Pg , around 600 Pg for the biosphere, and around 4000 Pg for the fossil fuel reservoirs. Human activity is estimated to account for a CO2 emission flux of ~10 Pg per year, of which 87% is accounted for by fossil fuel combustion and industrial activity, and most of the remaining 13% by land use changes - so a very important factor indeed (and one that needs to addressed urgently and has loads of other benefits too as you point out), but not the major cause. Sorry to be pedantic

Cheers,
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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 11:37   #7
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Originally Posted by Nohatch View Post
Hi Chosun,

Thanks for sharing! I've not had time to look at the details but the principle looks great - and the aspiration is certainly something that should be applauded (and applied as widely as possible in my opinion).

I couldn't help but notice you mentioning it's THE major cause of global warming which it isn't - that dubious honour still goes to us transferring carbon stored in the geosphere to the atmosphere/hydrosphere/biosphere. Total global estimates for soil carbon are in the range of 1500 Pg , around 600 Pg for the biosphere, and around 4000 Pg for the fossil fuel reservoirs. Human activity is estimated to account for a CO2 emission flux of ~10 Pg per year, of which 87% is accounted for by fossil fuel combustion and industrial activity, and most of the remaining 13% by land use changes - so a very important factor indeed (and one that needs to addressed urgently and has loads of other benefits too as you point out), but not the major cause. Sorry to be pedantic

Cheers,
Joost
Hi Joost,

It is indeed a critically important revolution in thinking (well for Western, and modern Eastern culture anyway - Indigenous cultures understand this concept and 'country' much more innately). I know you'd appreciate the learning contained in the two books written by Peter Andrews and I strongly recommend them to you.

I think I posted somewhere in the AGW thread that (from memory) the soil carbon effects were ~10x greater than other factors. I don't recall the source (it may even have been IPCC based). I am certain that it is an under researched area.

I'm not convinced that the CO2 levels are precursors rather than symptoms - I can't plough past all the assumptions in the literature because it just sets off too many red flags for me. I think basic thermodynamics has been forgotten.

This was demonstrated amply for me over summer when a river valley I overlook (on the western edge of the Sydney basin abutting the Blue Mountains), Penrith, NSW was THE hottest place on earth that day @47.3C ! That's ridiculous - it's a river valley .... the trouble is that the hydrolic arteries have been clogged with concrete - the majority of the natural cooling vegetation replaced with a gazillion tons of concrete. Massive heat island effects and destruction of microclimate mechanisms.

It is sad that something like 99% of these natural arteries have been degraded or destroyed. I wonder sometimes whether society has the appetite, or insight, to rip up swathes of housing, roads, bridges, drains, concrete lined canals etc to restore this natural functioning ..... ???


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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 13:47   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
I wonder sometimes whether society has the appetite, or insight, to rip up swathes of housing, roads, bridges, drains, concrete lined canals etc to restore this natural functioning ..... ???
I don't wonder, I know....they don't.

To implement land use like this would require a sharp reduction in world populations and/or compressing humanity into denser and denser urban environments (think "urbon monads").

The former is nature's way of handling it, though I think most empathetic humans wouldn't wish it on the world. The second is artificial and incredibly antithetical to life as a human being (though urban planners don't seem to agree).
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Old Saturday 7th July 2018, 15:09   #9
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Thumbs up Call of the Reed Warbler - Charles Massy

I just wanted to thank Mike in HK for putting me onto this book ..... more good work in the Regenerative Agriculture space.

Important because in this country with it's 'iron'bark trees, lack of woodpeckers (who lets face it would only end up with a massive headache and nothing to show for it anyway :) , and ancient soils, the first step in providing a hollow in a mature tree for birds to live in, many hundreds or even thousands and tens of thousands of years down the track, is the formation grain by grain of healthy soils.

https://www.theguardian.com/environm...s-not-genocide

Excellent interview with the author here:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5xlc-5gnbaQ

And a beautiful Reed Warbler here :)
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tHHovIAT7BU



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Old Sunday 8th July 2018, 14:24   #10
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Peter Andrews on Weeds

Simply, Elegantly, Beautiful - and not a chemical in sight. Very concise and readily digested treatise on weeds by Peter
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qjlia4DjgKg



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Old Wednesday 11th July 2018, 13:31   #11
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Fascinating information has come to light as highlighted in recent books such as "Dark Emu" https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=364276

Carefully, sympathetically managed, and even cultivated landscapes, evolved over thousands and thousands of years by traditional owners (Indigenous Australian habitation has now been dated to 65,000+ years) , was destroyed by hard hoofed invading sheep in a matter of mere years ......



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Old Thursday 12th July 2018, 15:32   #12
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Thumbs up Mulloon Creek - practical demonstration - Part I

For those that wanted a more practical demonstration try these 2 parts of a project (and history) at Mulloon Creek, Southern NSW.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=d7abgyVMMHA



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Old Thursday 12th July 2018, 15:35   #13
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Mulloon Creek - practical demonstration - Part II

Mulloon Creek history and explanation of pre white "settlement" (still no /@&^#! treaty) functioning of creek /wetland systems and floodplain ....

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jFV9J9pwjgc



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Old Saturday 28th July 2018, 02:48   #14
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Exclamation What NOT to do - Massive gully erosion of boggy meadow

These two posts will graphically demonstrate just how easy it is to stuff the landscape very quickly (and how to fix it).

At the property 'Jinglemoney' on the east coast of Australia, the simple act of digging a drainage ditch ~50 years ago, that a child could jump over - has now resulted in massive gully erosion that's bigger than Ben Hur - 20m deep in places and still not fully stabilized .....

Tens of thousands of years of organic matter accumulation and soil and carbon formation gone in the blink of an eye .... millions upon millions upon millions of tons of fertile soil lost .....

This is the same process that has occurred (and is occuring) the world over. I note that aerial video footage of European (and British) landscapes during the current heatwave shows a completely dried out landscape due to this - further deleteriously feeding back into the heatwave vicious loop. Such is the scale of poor land management damage that cumulative micro site damage is having macro climate effects .......

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ghl1R1CVZ0c





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Old Saturday 28th July 2018, 02:49   #15
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Thumbs up What TO DO - Chain of ponds formation

This video shows Peter Andrews clearly explaining the restorative processes of chain of ponds wetlands creation in degraded creek systems via the building of 'messy' rock walls and leaky weirs at 'Barramul Stud' NSW. He explains the positive soil, moisture profile, fertility building, and vegetation growth and carbon sequestration processes and results of doing so.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jx94ZVxmoVU




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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 12:18   #16
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Exclamation Paradise lost .... and found ? Global Carbon Problems Solved

Peter Andrews at Baramul Stud - Wetlands 2

"Jerry (Harvey) probably got a million tons of just that (compost) ..... he's made a $100 million bucks"
"We're fixing the carbon problems in the atmosphere"

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t43y3v0SDZQ

MUST WATCH !!




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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 15:26   #17
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I can't disagree with the wisdom of this technique (and similar ideas like it that have popped-up over the years).

But jape's earlier comments are equally true.

And as wildly unpopular as the concept is: these sorts of "solutions" seem to come back to the idea that there needs to be alot less people around for this planet to support. We're just a blight and I'm not convinced technology will solve the problem of, in my mind, overpopulation.

Still, I enjoy seeing these examples of land management wisdom...keep them coming.
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Old Friday 17th August 2018, 15:21   #18
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Originally Posted by CalvinFold View Post
I can't disagree with the wisdom of this technique (and similar ideas like it that have popped-up over the years).

But jape's earlier comments are equally true.

And as wildly unpopular as the concept is: these sorts of "solutions" seem to come back to the idea that there needs to be alot less people around for this planet to support. We're just a blight and I'm not convinced technology will solve the problem of, in my mind, overpopulation.

Still, I enjoy seeing these examples of land management wisdom...keep them coming.
I don't think we necessarily need a population reduction per se, or other drastic controlling measures as Jape suggested.

We do though need a new paradigm for living - a lot of it 180 from where we've been and are headed at an accelerated rate.

We need:
1. To stop any further damage whatsoever, repair the land (wetlands and hydrological functioning a`la Peter Andrews), and reestablish at least a minimum of natural connectivity and old growth viability.
2. Further, we need to restore the arterial and lung functioning of the land - the unhindered creek /wetland / floodplain /river systems. We need to be building soil - not flushing it one- way down 'drains' into the oceans.
3. Further to that we need to establish humanity on a minimum footprint - islands of humanity in a vast sea of wilderness instead of the other way around as now.
4. These islands of humanity need to be logically arranged along a minimum number of transport corridors (that don't interrupt wilderness but rather fly over, tunnel under, or go around wilderness). Return to wilderness any presently humanised parts of the landscape not required to meet this condition. Minimum footprint mile high plus sky cities - correctly orientated and placed to maximize solar, wind (and wave and geothermal, where applicable) renewable resources.
5. Moreover, we need closed recyclable life cycles for our designed, produced, and consumed products and services. Waste is food.
6. We need a new paradigm where the 'True Cost' of any damage proposed to be done to the environment is quantified prior and fully accounted for. Mine /extraction sites that are returned to full natural functioning (aquifers and old growth vegetation etc).

Pretty easy really.





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Old Friday 17th August 2018, 16:46   #19
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Since we'll be using less land for actual production of food, your plan to compact humans into a smaller place is certainly one idea to offset that. But at present, it would be like an urban monad...no thanks.

And you'd have to write-off the USA in this scheme; we can't seem to figure out culturally how to respect our neighbors when living in close quarters. Ask any apartment, condo, or even townhome dweller how well being elbow-to-elbow with your neighbors works.

Even cities with alot of practice with this (like NY, NY) are far from ideal living conditions. The places where it does "work" seem to have such a regimented culture than any USA citizen would have a mental breakdown even trying (i.e., parts of Southeast Asia).

Not that I am advocating urban sprawl mind you, but I can see why it happens and works that way right now.

Personally, I also think it's unnatural (as in "goes against nature") for animals to live in compressed spaces like dense urban centers; and we're animals, in the end. Especially for primates and creatures near the top of the food chain (depending on how you choose to bestow that honor). We need space and in the end suffer for the lack of it, both physically and mentally (fair bit of study in this area).
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Old Saturday 18th August 2018, 12:41   #20
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Since we'll be using less land for actual production of food, your plan to compact humans into a smaller place is certainly one idea to offset that. But at present, it would be like an urban monad...no thanks.

And you'd have to write-off the USA in this scheme; we can't seem to figure out culturally how to respect our neighbors when living in close quarters. Ask any apartment, condo, or even townhome dweller how well being elbow-to-elbow with your neighbors works.

Even cities with alot of practice with this (like NY, NY) are far from ideal living conditions. The places where it does "work" seem to have such a regimented culture than any USA citizen would have a mental breakdown even trying (i.e., parts of Southeast Asia).

Not that I am advocating urban sprawl mind you, but I can see why it happens and works that way right now.

Personally, I also think it's unnatural (as in "goes against nature") for animals to live in compressed spaces like dense urban centers; and we're animals, in the end. Especially for primates and creatures near the top of the food chain (depending on how you choose to bestow that honor). We need space and in the end suffer for the lack of it, both physically and mentally (fair bit of study in this area).
What I would say is that high density living would be far different and much better than our cities of today. I'm talking networks of buildings over a mile high - harvesting solar power, sunlight, wind and water. Powered by a combination of that and offshore wave power and perhaps trigeneration plants and geothermal heat cycling in each major building.

Access to space and sunlight would be far superior to today. Vegetation would drape down the buildings on the side opposite to the sun. Vegetables/food would be grown in part in vertical farms within the building, and in individual and communal gardens at all levels of the building. Convection (stack effect) would be harvested for cooling and power, as would falling (under gravity) water.

Essentially I am talking about something totally visionary and different to what we have today. These crystal cities would be surrounded by parkland, entertainment and cultural precincts, beaches, sporting fields and arenas etc. We would still be able to access camping and walking trails etc in national parks as now. I imagine there would also be very small amounts of sustainable suburbia type living where those areas offer highly desirable things like views etc, though 90% of the worldwide urban sprawl that we see now would be returned to fully functioning wild nature.

Similarly a lot of the agricultural and grazing lands would be restored back to nature (particularly along the riparian and wetland 'lungs' and 'arteries' of the land. The rest would be run along regenerative agriculture and sustainable practices (see S McIntyre et al.) I imagine those working on the small area of land / national parks / sustainable native forestry plantations / conservation / restoration / tourism works would also live in small appropriately located communities. For those that would go absolutely mental without space and silence, I imagine they would gravitate to these jobs / areas - pretty much as they do now. If that's too many people still - then there's always Antarctic Research or even Space Travel / Colonization!

I take the point about cultural proclivity to such close quarters living, but really I am imagining a vastly superior situation to today. I think those stuck in the traffic jams of suburbia would flock to a better form of living.

It is interesting that when I was at Uni, the industry was opened up to full fee paying global students. Those that were from Asian backgrounds showed a distinct preference for living cheek by jowl in high density apartment living - even when given any alternative choice.

At the moment 99% of NSW is in drought - the historical ways of farming / grazing just won't cut it. Unless we restore the entire Murray-Darling wetland and soil moisture storage system with continual vegetation cover .... we're stuffed. There is one progressive young(ish) farmer who I have met, who once again is ahead of his time and a global innovator - Nigel Kerin http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/201...ought/10084358

The current trajectory is unsustainable - this proposal is the only hope for our wildlife and natural ecosystems that I can see. A massive change for sure ..... but the alternative doesn't bear thinking about ......



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Old Saturday 18th August 2018, 16:32   #21
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You were thinking of a future much farther away than our lifetimes and definitely some sort of epiphany from a large chunk of the population, not to mention governments. Kudos for that; I was just thinking much shorter timeframe. :)

Actually, I like quiet but don't drift towards those professions. I consider quiet the natural state of the world: machinery, dozens of voices, loud music, etc. are all antithetical to peacefulness. (I don't consider the sounds of nature to be intrusive noise; that is "necessary" noise.) Sure, you can learn to ignore the din, but that doesn't mean it doesn't affect you subconciously. And much of it isn't "din" around here, it's abject intrusion onto my auditory calm, unbidden, carelessly, and thoughtlessly.

But again...your vision isn't half bad. I just don't give humanity enough credit to achieve it until it becomes necessary because of some cataclysm. Profit motive will forever get in the way (which is why they don't even bother to put good sound insulation into affordable apartments).
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Old Saturday 18th August 2018, 17:20   #22
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Originally Posted by CalvinFold View Post
You were thinking of a future much farther away than our lifetimes and definitely some sort of epiphany from a large chunk of the population, not to mention governments. Kudos for that; I was just thinking much shorter timeframe. :)

Actually, I like quiet but don't drift towards those professions. I consider quiet the natural state of the world: machinery, dozens of voices, loud music, etc. are all antithetical to peacefulness. (I don't consider the sounds of nature to be intrusive noise; that is "necessary" noise.) Sure, you can learn to ignore the din, but that doesn't mean it doesn't affect you subconciously. And much of it isn't "din" around here, it's abject intrusion onto my auditory calm, unbidden, carelessly, and thoughtlessly.

But again...your vision isn't half bad. I just don't give humanity enough credit to achieve it until it becomes necessary because of some cataclysm. Profit motive will forever get in the way (which is why they don't even bother to put good sound insulation into affordable apartments).
Yes, that epiphany will be required to push governments to enact such a plan via planning legislation and collaboration, and importantly a whole host of issues around the sanctity of natural capital, and fully recycled and accounted for life cycles of products and services. I don't think it will take beyond our lifetimes - a start now could see a large chunk of it in place by their ends .... wouldn't that be something to see !

The engineering technology is there for mile high buildings - the 828m Burj Khalifa was built for only 1.5 Billion $. We seem to be flat out constructing a couple of kms of motorway for that spend! Much the same as Elon Musk has demonstrated the viability of electric cars, it would only take one mile high building for people to sit up and take notice. I was super disappointed when after 9-eleven that America didn't rebuild the World Trade Centre towers as a single building 1000m high .... too much sentiment and not enough goddammit we'll bl**dywell show you !!

I envisage these super towers such that most apartments are home sized each with multiple courtyards for sunlight access, water ponds, greenwalls, veggie gardens, terraces for outdoor living etc. Sunlight could be piped throughout the building with optical fibre cables and diffusers. Large communal sky gardens, parks, waterfalls, atriums, and outdoor decks could be scattered throughout, along with commercial, education, health, and entertainment facilities, etc. Construction could be to such a high standard (which will aid energy efficiency and reduce running costs - actually I envisage the buildings being net producers of energy) so as to offer residents the necessary silence - nothing but the whisper of the clouds floating by, and the odd whoosh of the resident peregrine falcons :) Electric and Hydrogen FCV'S will go a long way to removing a large chunk of the noise of the cities - as long as we can keep taxi drivers off their horns - actually by that time taxi drivers will largely be a footnote in history ....

It was interesting in the last Peter Andrews video that I posted (post#16) that he said that a couple of little rain and flooding events down a creek deposited $100 Million dollars worth of compost/soil ! Reorganizing the world largely in this 'islands of humanity' way will also knock a couple of degrees off average maximum global temperatures too



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