Tuesday, January 15, 2008

20 billion Population sustainable

When I started his blog, my central thesis was that the global need to reorganize the way we handled CO2, called for nothing less than the terra forming of the Earth. My central tool was the establishment of a well planned global silviculture support system. This was because agriculture and forest management are close enough that it is possible to establish mutual support.

What our investigation has brought home is that our tool kit is much better than anyone imagined and even more invasive than anyone imagined. And I mean invasive in a good manner. We can often help mother nature to maximize results.

The core economic unit is still the private farm. Preferably the village farm, although the family farm will still be important.

I have discussed the need to tie our civilization more directly to our agricultural roots. This will mean that a farm unit needs to be integrated with a condominium tower containing a couple hundred families with rapid access to the urban job market. This supplies the farm with a ready supply of temporary labor as needed to take advantage of higher yield crops and supply labor intensive maintenance.

A single family can operate a thousand acre $200 gross per grain farm. That same family could just as easily operate a high yielding crop worth several times as much on a fraction of the land. Somewhere in between there is an agricultural coop type system as used for centuries in Europe in which all labor was honored and valuable.

The point that I want to make is that part time labor must be available if we hope to harness the potential that we are describing in these posts. And it has to be welcome labor respecting a person's time and place in life and honoring his input. This problem has been well solved in the past, but has been forgotten in the rush to the family farm and the industrial farm.

Our hypothetical farm unit today can be built around several new virtuous cycles.

1 The terra preta - corn culture builds soils and restores full fertility while permanently sequestering one ton per acre of carbon per year.

2 Woodlot management produces forest products and a steady stream of waste wood chips while building up to 25 to 50 tons of sequestered carbon per year. The wood chips make a good feedstock for methanol production, but not as likely for biochar since it requires grinding.

3 Cattle culture produces a waste stream that may now be diverted into algae production. This will produce an oil byproduct that makes good biodiesel and a solid byproduct that may either be used as cattle feed or used in fermentation or both. That is still a speculation, but something like this seems possible. It would be clearly superior to prior practice which has always been unsatisfactory.

4 Atmospheric water production will open up progressively the earth's arid lands. I say progressively since it is all about growing trees that then dump the moisture back into the atmosphere for reuse. The same rainfall can theoretically water the Sahara desert over and over again. Of course it is not that simple and will require progressive tweaking even when the cost of the technology has become cheaper than needed.

5 Woodlot management that produces economic amounts of forest products and also a viable fuel will progressively convert the wildwood into viable farm units, even in the rainforests. Good management will become possible even while maximizing diversity. Again, the main challenge is to eliminate short term exploitation tenures. And the best way to do that is to do that is to tax the resource through a long term partnership that demands a sustained species mix. It is pretty hard to cut all the oak if you are going to be taxed in perpetuity for those non existent oaks at current market value. Inflation alone will bankrupt such a practitioner eventually.

6 Proper wildlife husbandry is completely feasible and needs only the establishment of proper ownership to bring under effective management.

The main business of mankind is to produce enough food and now, enough fuel through sustainable sources. These protocols make a global population of even 20 billion possible and sustainable.

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