A look at the future...A
By Henry Lamb 12/11/06
Land and resource use is strictly controlled by
government. At least half of the land area,
perhaps more, is wilderness. Only individuals who
are given a permit by the government may enter the
wilderness, and then, only on foot.
Wilderness areas, called "Biosphere Reserves," are
connected by corridors of wilderness, so wildlife
can move freely, without interference by humans.
Surrounding the Biosphere Reserves, and the
wilderness corridors, are "buffer zones," where
public/private partnerships are allowed to farm,
and engage in essential, sustainable
manufacturing. The buffer zones are connected by
"zones of cooperation," in which sustainable
communities are located. (1) All the communities
are quite similar.
As if an invisible wall surrounded the community,
all development stops at the urban boundary. A
"green belt" surrounds every community. Beyond the
green belt lies the buffer zone where a few people
are allowed to live, if they are employed by a
public/private partnership performing an essential
service. There are no single-family homes in the
community, except for those owned by the
government for use by community officials. Large
blocks of low-rise, high-density apartments are
arranged in neighborhood units. Each neighborhood
unit contains several apartment buildings that
look the same.
Each building is set back from the street to
provide an off-street driveway around the entire
block. This is for back-door deliveries to the
shops that occupy the ground floor of every
building. The buildings face inwards, toward a
courtyard area with playground equipment and
walkways. An area of the courtyard is reserved for
a community garden for those residents who wish to
plant vegetables. Each of these neighborhood units
is a project of a public/private partnership,
funded by government and constructed and managed
by an NGO partner. All structures comply with
federal standards in design, using materials that
carry the "Green-label" of approval. Rooftops are
used for solar panels which provide supplemental
energy to each building.
The resident-mix in each building within the
neighborhood unit, must reflect both an ethnic and
income balance, according to a formula established
by government. Apartments are not available for
purchase; rent is determined by the tenant's
ability to pay, based on income; priority is given
to the individuals who are employed in the shops
within the neighborhood unit.
Each neighborhood unit provides a school, and day
care facilities, as well as clinic-level medical
services. The schools are designed to accept
children at age two, and prepare students to take
their appropriate place in the neighborhood, and
in the larger society. The School-to-work program
sorts children on the basis of aptitude and
directs their education toward meeting projected
community needs. There is an auditorium/gymnasium
facility that doubles as a recreational area and a
place for neighborhood meetings and performances.
There are no garages, parking spaces, or cars.
There is no need for them. Shopping, and other
services are all available within the neighborhood
unit - within walking distance.
Shops are permitted on the basis of providing the
goods and services needed by the residents, as
determined by the neighborhood council.
Thoroughfares separate the neighborhood units.
Traffic is limited to bicycles, pedestrians,
emergency, and other official vehicles.
Electric-powered light-rail trams occupy the
center of the thoroughfares.
People who work in the community's center, or in
the buffer zones surrounding the community,
commute on public transportation. Open space and
parks are scattered among the neighborhood units.
Bike and hike paths crisscross the community.
The NGO partner is responsible to the government
for maintenance of the neighborhood unit, and
compliance with regional, bioregional, and federal
policies. Each neighborhood unit is governed by a
neighborhood council, consisting of the board of
directors of the NGO responsible for the
neighborhood unit, and a minority of
representatives elected by the residents. This
council settles neighborhood disputes, rules on
business permits for the shops, permits for use of
the recreational/performance facilities, and
approves all new renters and evictions.
Each neighborhood council elects one
representative to the Community Council which is
the governing board for the entire community. The
Council hires the administrator, and approves the
administrator's choice for department heads.
The police department serves the Community Council
and maintains a precinct station in each
neighborhood unit. Police have "on-demand"
authority for "compliance inspections." The
Council sets the local tax rate, and chooses one
of its members to serve on the Regional Council.
The Regional Council issues permits for activities
within the zone of cooperation which connects the
buffer zones. Light industry and farming that is
deemed essential to the communities within the
region may be permitted in this area. This Council
is responsible for regional transportation and
other issues of a transboundary nature. The
Regional Council elects one of its members to
serve on the Bioregional Council. The Bioregional
Council is responsible for the entire bioregion.
Its primary function is to decide, and permit the
activities that occur within the bioregion's
buffer zones. Public/private partnership are
awarded permits for food and energy production
within the buffer zones. The Bioregional Council
decides which crops are to be produced, how the
crops will be processed and distributed to the
communities within the Bioregion, and which crops,
if any, will be produced for export to other
Movement within the urban boundaries is open for
the residents of the community. Travel to the
zones of cooperation, or to the buffer zones,
requires a permit issued by the community council,
and approved by the council of the zone to be
visited. Movement from one Bioregion to another
requires a special purpose permit. Vacations, for
example, to a federal park in another Bioregion,
would be permitted, if scheduled in advance.
Travel for other purposes may, or may not, be
Transportation, generally, accommodates the
movement of goods as required to support
communities. The need for personal travel is rare.
Personal requirements can be met within the
community, or the bioregion. The Inter-region
Transport system was constructed from the
turn-of-the-century Interstate highway system. Key
routes between urban centers contain light-rail
train systems as well as highways for vehicle
transport. The transport system utilizes bridges
over wilderness corridors, often, several miles
long, a hundred feet or more above ground.
Air travel is limited to cross-continent, or
inter-continental transport of goods, and council
members traveling on official business. There is
little need for personal air travel; business is
conducted by telephone and Internet. Airports are
located strategically as hubs, fed by a network of
small, vertical- lift airplanes operating from
bioregional centers. (2) Governance Neighborhood
councils, consisting of the board of directors of
the public/private partner, and a minority number
of representatives elected by the residents of the
neighborhood, constitute the basic element of
governance, closest to the people. Its function is
to apply government policy equitably within the
The council elects a representative to the
community council, whose function is to implement
government policy equitably throughout the entire
The regional council consists of representatives
elected by the various community councils within
the region to see that government policy is
implemented equitably throughout the region.
The bioregional council consists of
representatives elected by each regional council
within the bioregion. Each council is responsible
for hiring the administrative personnel required
to implement the policies for which it is
Each bioregional council elects an equal number of
representatives to the national council, which is
also the national delegation to the Global Forum.
In many nations, the national council hires the
national administrator, but in America, remnants
of the U.S. Constitution still provide for the
popular election of the chief executive officer -
As the emergence of community, and regional
councils replaced the city-council and
county-commissioner form of government, the need
for county boundaries diminished. As Bioregions
became defined, the need for state boundaries
diminished. City agencies easily adapted to
community council control. County agencies, with
more difficulty, were blended into regional
agencies that answer to the regional council.
Bioregional councils reorganized state agencies,
eliminating many positions that had been
duplicated in each state, in favor of an
administrative team for the Bioregion to provide
only those services required to support the
The Global Forum serves as the Global Council to
the United Nations General Assembly, which
consists of delegates appointed by the chief
executive of each nation. Global governance is
said to be the "final phase" of the evolution of
self-governance, providing the perfect balance of
bottom-up democracy with efficient, professional,
Global policies are enacted when adopted by both
the Global Forum, and the General Assembly. Once
adopted, agencies of the U.N. are responsible for
equitable implementation around the world. The
World Food Organization is responsible for
tracking world food needs and world food
production, and arranging the distribution
Grain produced in the Great Prairie Bioregion
feeds much of the world. Most other foods,
however, must be produced within the Bioregion.
War is impossible. National borders have been
dissolved, and Bioregional disputes are resolved
by the national council or by the Global Forum.
The only weapons available are manufactured by a
factory operated directly by the United Nations
for United Nations police agencies. National
police agencies are responsible for the weapons
issued to them, and individuals face severe
penalties for loss, misuse, or abuse of their
Any weapon of any kind may be turned over to the
police voluntarily for a reward - with no
questions asked. Any individual found with an
unauthorized weapon is subject to immediate
incarceration - no questions asked.
The International Criminal Court, founded in 2002,
has little activity except for the occasional
revolutionaries who attempt to inflame rebellion.
Non-compliance issues are handled at the
community, regional, bioregional, or national
levels with denial of activity requests, fines,
relocation, or jail. (3) It is said to be the
perfect society, indeed, the final phase of
societal evolution. The needs of people are
equitably met while assuring that the earth's
resources are not exploited beyond what is
required to sustain human life. People have
neither reason, nor resources to disturb the
peaceful enjoyment of life. Without the need for
investment in technology and tools for war,
resources are available to expand prosperity
around the world.
By permitting and regulating all business
activity, extravagance is virtually eliminated, as
is the wasteful duplication of multiple versions
of the same product. People are freed from the
daily rigor of providing food and shelter, and
have more leisure time to enjoy recreation and
The future of the world looks extremely bright.
Children begin almost at birth, to learn that
happiness is defined by compliance, and
unhappiness is the certain result of
non-compliance. Group harmony is the ultimate
Education is continual reinforcement of the value
of group harmony and preparation for fulfilling
each individual's niche within the group. Only
students with demonstrated aptitude are permitted
to study sciences and art, in sufficient numbers
to provide the community's needs.
Students learn that any individual may rise to the
height of influence and prestige by maintaining a
spotless compliance record and participating in
council activity within the neighborhood, and
advancing through the council structure by always
performing his responsibilities as required.
This is a reasonable description of a sustainable
world as suggested in the literature now
available. This sustainable future is the logical
destination of the policies now in place, or
currently under development. There is no
identifiable, significant opposition to this
future. There is, however, a better alternative.
(See the January 1, 2003 issue).
1. Based on Chapter 13 of the Global Biodiversity
Assessment; the Seville Strategy, and the
Statutory Framework for Biosphere Reserves; "The
Wildlands Project," and the EPA's and Department
of Interior internal working documents on
Ecosystem Management Policy.
2. Sustainable communities are described from the
1976 Report of Habitat I; Agenda 21; Reports to
and from the United Nations Development Program,
particularly, COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY; AGENDAS
FOR CHOICE-MAKING & ACTION
submitted by the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development to the U.N. Conference on Human
Settlements in Istanbul, 1996.
3. Global governance is described from Our Global
Neighborhood, the report of the Commission on
Global Governance; the "Millennium Declaration,"
and reports of the United Nations Development
* * * * * * * "Go on, then, in your generous
enterprise with gratitude to Heaven for past
success, and confidence of it in the future. For
my own part, I ask no greater blessing than to
share with you the common danger and common glory
... that these American States may never cease to
be free and independent." --Samuel Adams