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TOWARD A DIFFERENT HABITAT
36 projects of
Luigi Pellegrin architect
an e-book by Dott. Arch. Michele Leonardi
© all rights reserved
Do we want a
Toward a different habitat - Volume I, Chapter 1
translated by courtesy of Stefania Ciocchetti ©
Translator and Certified Court Interpreter
At the end of 18th Century the English economist Thomas Robert Malthus in his An Essay on the Principle of Population, as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society, predicted an inevitable future of poverty for all mankind.
The Malthus’ Theory postulates that the human population tends to rapidly increase exponentially faster than resources which increase in aritmetical linear progression.
According to this principle the growth of the number of individuals is not connected with the attendant ability of population to make available adequate means of substistance for all individuals.
Hence, the shortage of those consumer staples which are not available for the entire population may be covered only with late marriages, or consequently with wars, famine or epidemics.
We do not need diagrams or graphs to understand that if we cover with asphalt or concrete the most fertile territories which are often close to the cities, if we go fishing the biggest number of fish without following any rule, if we set forest on fire both directly and indirectly , our excessive consumption on behalf of the economic growth will lead us to have the same destiny of the Easter Island’s inhabitants.
We do not want to call into question the strong existing link between human beings and available resources, between men and environment and we do not want to discuss about the issue of the birth control, one of the most important problems together with the dangerous binomial tecnique-neoliberalism, namely capitalism with no rules matching the tecnique serving itself. However we would here underline that contrary to all realistic expectations of the tragic destiny of individuals, more than two centuries have passed since 1798 namely the year when the Malthus essay was published and total destructions were more o less explicitly announced but they did not take place until now. Fate or Fortune? or something more? The end has not arrived yet for all human beings civilizations. However Apocalypse is on.
We live in times of big economic social political changes and the end of the word is always very close: it may be nuclear wars, new millenium plagues or mineral resources’ shortage , avian plague or something even more impredictable.
However this list may be longer. The global stock markets crashes, the impact of an asteroid having few kilometres’ diameter on our planet and its powders obscuring the sky for a long time , an inexorable plague due to a latent retrovirus in the Equatorial forest, a quiescent bacteria in the glaciers, a progressive nuclear conflict started with a false alarm, degradation or collapse of the big systems and needed by the sophisticated contemporary civilization , the proliferation of chemical and nuclear weapons, deplition of fossil fuel , the greenhouse effect, raising of the average temperature at planetary scale leading to extreme weather phenomena such as drought, alluvion, twister, large hail or methan hidrates are released in the atmosphere until the melting of Antartic Polar cap and the sea level would rise of dozens of metres.
This is how the mankind civilization is also its sword of Damocles and also the same source of new terrible mass distructions for other living species at its mercy. This is the price to be paid on behalf of an out-of control economic growth bringing material well-being based on excesses and consumerism counter to common sense. The distribution of wealth has never led to an increasing happiness of both individuals and peoples. On the contrary this has led to an increasing and insatiable greed for riches due to the emulation of both false and inhuman life styles however considered winning behaviours.
After the horrors of both Nazi fascism and Soviet concentration camps, the abomination of both lager and gulac labour camps the mankind exceeded one more extreme threshold during the last century. Since the human beings have exploded the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert they are responsible for life or death on this planet.
Despite of all those dangers the world population officially recorded the significant number of six billion people  in April 1999 while about ten years later at the end of 2011 we reached 7 billion people.
This did not happen by chance. There has always been a driving force.
Those seven billion of individuals and their ancestors have never been billion units of inert matter waiting for their inevitable and catastrophic fate. And which resources we mean?
Oil? Coal? Uranium?
At the time of Mathus, the underground oil was considered a resource having poor performances and its use was very limited.
However the 20th century saw a cheap but profitable energy market due to the oil exploitation as well as coal which was not completely exploited during the Industrial revolution.
In the Middle Ages was hard coal widely used? No. Did Romans use hard coal to warm water in their watering places? No, they destroyed forests or they might have produced charcoal resulting in destroying a large quantity of forests in any case.
Also oil had its struggle before recognizing it as a valid alternative to coal. This means that the civilizations’ revolutions do not occur by chance or coincidences but human beings belonging to those civilizations may do that.
The true resource is our humanity, our cleverness, our feelings, our ambition to overcome thresholds and may be also the fear of death and not of life, our full presence until the end.
As gamblers, the contemporary societies have played in order to raise a bid for the interests at stake, from the East to the West from North to South for dozen years. Are there losers? The issue is that when playing and raising bids we plunge into future debts due to the erosion of non renewable resources of the planet and achieving credit on resources which might never exist.
Is there a real impact of those gambling activities anywhere? The impact involves the collapse and distruction of ecosystems and the extinction of living species in few decades . Nowadays the Earth is paying for our mistakes and it is mainly paying the price of our irresponsibility. There is no global political coordination, the UN is not seriously considered and the countries do not agree on a cooperation taking into consideration the human well-being, neither a peaceful future for all nor “one future”.
Nowadays the common ground of peoples, dictatorships, democratic and oligarchic regimes, former communist countries and residual communists, teocracies, monarchies and constitutional monarchies is mainly based on two elements: the air we breath namely the Earth’s atmosphere and the trade exchanges namely money.
The conclusion is that there is not a long term strategy. Is Money a strategy? May hidden pillages be considered a strategy? Have the locustes a strategy?
Nowadays our behaviour is similar to grasshoppers. We voraciously eat everything we find. There are those unlucky who escape their desperate conditions and emigrate while others live as tourists or stay home swalling up frivolous things such as rhino horns or friendly piton, etc. The damage is always the same: we are too much , even if the overpopulation is a fake problem it will betrue that many unsatisfiable individuals join us too avidly day by day.
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 "we set forest on fire directly” as mankind or in order to better explain we know that some specific local and non-autochthonous populations do it, for example in Brazil and in many other territories, in order to leave space for new cultivations and grazing lands; “indirectly” because acting as consumers we are partly responsible for events happening elsewhere considering that our excessive levels of consumption may be liable for distructions of huge areas due to tropical forest fire in order to leave space to breeding or pure plantation. Other fires destroy coniferous forest, the Siberian forest connected with wood processing industry and consequently our nice parquet or a tasteful steak may lead to entire deforestation considering that we are billions of “harmless” consumers in the world. Our consumers’ behaviour is “harmless” and it is only a way of saying".
 Although it may seem a pessimistic book, read Ugo Bardi: “La Terra svuotata. Il futuro dell’uomo dopo l’esaurimento dei minerali”, Roma, 2011. The author describes a feasible and winning strategy facing the issue at stake. Written by the same author in English: “Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Plundering the Planet. The Past, Present and Future of Global Mineral Depletion” by Ugo Bardi, Chelsea Green Publishing, U.S.A., 2014.
 As to potential natural disasters of the Earth , read the book written by the English geophysicist Bill McGuire: “A Guide to the End of the World. Everything you never wanted to know”, New York, 2002.
 Written in 1973 the evergreen book “The Coming Dark Age” by Roberto Vacca. This is also an opportunity to thank him for sending me the book when this was sold out. The book describes the contemporary word and it is essential for issues the book faces.
 References on depletion of fossil fuel resources and dual fuels, read Richard Heinberg: “The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies”, 2004; di Paul Roberts: “The End of Oil. On the Edge of a Perilous New World”, New York, 2004.
 Both are estimations. No available data to establish the precise day when the number was reached.
 How societies choose to survive or to collapse by Jared Diamond “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”, New York – London, 2005.
 On both demographic and devolopment limits by Giovanni Sartori: “La terra scoppia – sovrappopolazione e sviluppo”, Milano 2003; and essential theme by Donatella Meadows and various authors: “The Limits to growth”, on demand of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from the Club di Roma, 1972, subsequent updating in 1992 (“Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future”), and 2004 ( “Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update”).