So it's pretty safe to say that our society is heading towards urban development. Over the past few decades people have slowly been moving out of the country and into urban areas, where currently we are around 50/50 if not more in urban than rural.
This has many advantages, but has some major disadvantages as well. Some of this blog is not necesarly straight up facts, but it is based off the knowledge that I have from what I have experienced, and information that I have learned.
The first positive factor when talking about urbanization is free land. With the rural areas emptying out there is more land for farming. With the rapid growth of our population, there is always the issue of feeding it. This will either prove to be harder or easier, depending on the direction we go as a society. Currently, the industry is full of farming giants who produce mass amounts of food and can sell for a decent price. While this is good for the customer it hurts the smaller farmers - so this leaves the small time farmer with two options... grow enough crops to get his own family by (while finding some service for society to afford the seeds), or move out and let the corprete farmers take over.
But, it is urbanization that is threatening the industry possibly than environmental issues. Suburban sprawl (mainly in 1st World Nations where they have the money to build big) is spreading at an alarming rate. And while building big seams good, it has major disadvantages. The main issue with urbanization is accesability. Anyone who has spent time in a ski town (or any small town) knows how easy it can be to get stuff done. You don't need a car, you can just walk anywhere you need to go. This used to be true for cities as well. But now cities are so spread out that in some areas you are a 30min walk from the nearest convenience store. How is that convenient? If you don't have a car you are forced to take the bus system everytime you need to leave your house (and when the bus's stop running at 12:20am like they do in Vancouver it makes going out to the bar almost impossible). Since you now have to commute to everywhere you want to go in the city you have traffic problems.
Toronto is a big city. It also has a very, very intense freeway system (there is one section of the 401 that is 18 lanes!) and yet 'rush hour' is literally all day. rapid transit is too expensive to go everywhere, and the freeways are always congested. It is very obvious (at least to me) that our system of getting places is not even close to efficiant as it should be. Vancouver (a much smaller city - but still big in it's own right) doesn't really have a freeway system and everyday the roads get busier and busier... I fear that in the near future traffic will become a major problem in that city.
What does the future hold for city life? every vehicle bigger than a 'smart car' banned from city streets? highly unlikley - I'm seeing more and more hummers on the streets everyday - but I have only seen one hummer in my life outside of the city. Some cities (Victoria for example) now have smart car parking spots that are cheaper than normal parking spots. In Japan they are developing buildings (they could currently be building them if not living in them) that are huge apartment buildings with everything one needs to survive in the building. It is possible to live in the building and never have the need to go outside to get anything - it's all there. But it's more than just what we build that will decide the future, it's how we build it.
In Brazil there are numerous bird species that are rapidly disapearing, and we now know why. We are all aware of the clear cutting going on in the brazilian forests. Well, when they were logging their forest down there (mainly for fields for cattle) the birds were stuck in isolated patches of forest. Now in some areas of the world large amounts of research is done to make sure that there are sufficiant greenways so the animal population in the area can live without the stress of their habitat being destoroyed.
This will be my last blog about sustainability so I am going to close with ways you can help. First off we will start with the logical ones - recycle, reuse, and reduce. Self explanitory.
Carpool, pick up hitch hikers (well, just pick me up at least), walk, bike, skateboard, etc...
next time you are going to buy a house (or your parents are), don't just think about price and location - keep in consideration if the house is environmentally sound - you can build a house so that it takes advantage of the sun for heating and lighting, trees for cooling, have good air flow, and have your vents in the right location, keep your windows air tight... (here's a fact - if you treat energy as units - out of 100 units that leave the power plant only 9 units of energy actually make it to your house. that is very poor. while you can't change that in your house, if you use less energy than we don't have to burn as much.
lastly - we all need to hike for turns (talking skiing now) more. if we all use the chair lifts less than we will be able to keep the sport of skiing around for a hell of a lot longer. I am done with blogs about sustainability. It will be an interesting 50 years.