Let's start this blog out with some fun.
The Future's So Bright
Remember when this song came out?
Well, most of you probably don't. I do. It is sorta weird, but its sentiment is my point of departure for this week. For this week, I am going to try to put on my optimist glasses and only focus on best case scenario:
I will start out by reiterating my prediction from last week:
As I think about what shelter means to others, I know that we all have are own definitions. For those who are homeless, shelter can be a very simple concept–something to protect one's self from the elements, a place that is dry and warm. I also can't help but think of the trend of tiny houses, especially ones that are portable. I am trying to figure out how that might work in my life. Maybe, at some point, no one will own land, but just own their shelter. People could pick up when they want and go live wherever they want. We could all become nomads.
People all get along and are concerned for the common good of all. We stop our obsessions with "things" and focus on what is really important: survival, love, connectedness. Land and resources are shared with the less fortunate. Everyone has shelter and some land. Homes are built by 100% sustainable methods. Air quality improves because people care about the future and we have no carbon emissions. Homes can adapt to the changing environment–they can float in the case of a flood, burrow when the need to go underground happens, fly when they need to move over things or move quickly. Homes can also change with the changing needs of their owners. For instance, grow with them when they need more space, or shrink when they need less. They might even be able to connect with others' homes when needed. They have filtration systems that clean the air when it becomes dirty. But there are vents to bring in air when fresh air is available. Energy for our homes is 100% clean. We all grow our own food on our homes and our land. There is enough food and water for everyone.
I think the future of shelter could be a hybrid of ideas. It could be something that grows and changes with our needs. My idea for future shelter is inspired by my ideas of home, temporary disaster shelter and tiny portable houses. I think it will be modular with specific modules for specific needs. Each side of the module will have a function. You will be able to add or subtract modules to customize for your needs.
Going forward: if this, then that...then that...then that, etc.
When we, as the human race, come to a general consensus that what is really important is connectedness, we can work together to create an earth that is safe. We can reverse the damage that we have inflicted on our environment and each other. Earth will heal. Animals and plant populations will heal. Humans will heal. We will all thrive together. We will peacefully co-exist.
We will have enough water, food, shelter. We will not have to rob nature of its resources to get the things we need from it. Humans will learn to use earth's resources wisely and also know how to replenish what we have taken. We will then not need to worry about survival and we will see true beauty thrive–we will have an appreciation for our differences, for nature, for our past. We will respect one another. Crime will end. Disease will be obliterated.
There will be no overpopulation because we will allow death to come naturally, from old age–just parts wearing out...and we will be okay with that. We will understand that, in order to foster new life, death must, and will, happen. We will grieve, feel, etc. but we will understand that it is necessary. We will let go of our emotional pasts and be able to be present in the now.
We will be cognizant of our ability to reproduce and the effects that overpopulation might have on the earth and our future and we will do so responsibly. Infertility will not be an issue because our earth will be so clean of toxins that our reproductive organs will not be damaged. The choice will be there to reproduce, or not. Maybe, communities will collectively decide who will have children and who will not and how many, in order to not overpopulate. (Is that taking it too far.)
What will future homes look like?
Our shelters will be a reflection of ourselves. They will reflect lives that only take what we need and no more. They may be simple, but that does not mean impersonal. There will be room to make our homes an expression of self, family and community.
Since the playing field will be so level, our homes will not be a representation of class or status. They might become more standardized. They might be mobile to allow for changing weather/climate patterns. Visually, they could be very interesting. I still think they could be modular. People will be able to personalize their abode with color, embellishments, etc, but do so in an environmentally friendly way. I can't imagine the world in which everyone's house looks the same. My house would be simple, modern, very clean, functional. Someone else might be influenced by styles from a different time period. I think about all of the beautiful historic houses on Summit Avenue in St. Paul and, even though they are not my personal style, I cannot imagine a world without them. Then, the questions arise, How can we preserve what we have and still be respectful of the needs that have evolved from a changing earth? Also, How can we preserve those homes without preserving the ideals of that mentality – without such a massive division among classes? That is a tough one. Because I love those houses doesn't mean I love the ideals of a society in which there is such a gap between cultures and classes.
So, what do we do? Can we preserve the old, but usher in a new mentality of equality? Is this even possible?
The back yard of Gary Konkol's highly touted 2,800-square-foot "House in the Woods" is rich in native plants. The windows are triple-paned, argon-filled glass. The walls are 22 inches thick, compared to a normal 8. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)
This reminds me of an article I read in last week's Sunday paper about a "passive" home that exists in Hudson. It cost over $1 Million to build. It used sustainable building practices, but not everyone can afford a million dollar home. Might there be a time when materials for the building of passive homes don't cost an arm, a leg and then some?