How come that such minute physical presence on Earth proves so destructive? Individually we may size up relatively small with a footprint of just 0.25 m2 if we stand up and do not move. But lifestyle wise we use 1000’s of m2 individually up to a point that we reach a point of singularity both in physical available space as our moral usage of it. We need to transform our lifestyles and usage of resources and space.
Usage of space:
When we look at a city and the behavior of a single human being you only have to consider your own daily usage of space to be surprised.
Summing up: We need a home to protect our intimicy and our integrity. We sleep horizontally, occupying already 10 x more space than standing up. We use tables, seats, space for different functions in our daily routine (relax, cook, eat, dress, bath, etc.). In family configuration we share functionality and space but in economic optimization of individualised lifestyles our space is just reserved for a single person.
We have created a culture to go to work nearly every day. We need a place to go where the work is executed. It is mostly a building where many gather for some kind of productivity with facilities, equipment, etc. While at work the space at home remains unused waiting for me to come back and vice versa. Between home and work there is variable distance that is covered with mobility. A diversity of options are at my disposal to choose from. When I choose one than the other options remain unused but occupy space while waiting.
Whatever I choose to use needs storage at the place of arrival and an infrastructure in between. Our individualised consumer culture has stimulated me to have all the options in property including elements, such as a car, that proves extremely space and energy consuming.
In a city we are not consuming what we produce ourselves so our work generally is not related directly to the supply of my basic needs. These I acquire from a parallel infrastructure of logistics, shop surface and storage of my vehicles of access. Waste that I produce has yet another parallel infrastructure.
While this represents my daily routine as average adult citizen we also have children, elderly people, visitors, pets, etc that need their own modified facilities. My life is even more complex because in my spare time or holidays, when not at rest, I seek thrills through recreation, sport, travel, etc. All this needs still different facilities and infrastructures.
Summing up my own space and footprint I come to an astonishing figure that has nothing to do with my physical presence when standing still.
When I realize this and consider the time spent in a traffic jam, wasted at some desk and doing different things in different places. Then I realize that we are doing it all wrong. Reducing my personal footprint requires attention to all the above. When I look at other species dealing with their reality of massive cohabitation I see:
The diversity is huge but the interaction is finetuned and usage of space optimized for self sufficiency. Everything is related to the rest in harmony even though growth, chaos and evolution takes place. The adaptive nature of everything is often breathtaking as well as the multifunctionality of infrastructures and relationships. There is a huge degree of reciprocity among interrelated species while competition is avoided. The footprint of any other species is relative to its size since every is always reusable and temporary in use.
Transforming my own life I become very much more active directly from home. I reduced my living space to a small sleeping area and working space for my laptop. I coordinate Sustainocracy programs with over 30.000 people now involved without hardly the need to travel. When I do I use a bike for local encounters and trains for stuff further away. Videoconference is ideal for metings in between. I have no office, nor does any of my multidisciplinairy ventures.
For food, energy and recreation I established FRE2SH, a co creative exercise to facilitate directly our direct consumption needs without hardly any logistics, loss or distribution system. Sharing our space and productivity with utmost application of innovative enhancements and scientific knowledge we use much more vertical space per m2 than before. We work in 5 levels for food: Under the ground, on the surface, bush and tree levels with animal life in between. We also want to do food exercises with insects and fish in the future. We do not work in mono food cultures but establish diversity of eatable species experimenting with harmony and abundance in productivity.
We hardly work with oil consuming machines. We do not sell products or services but invite people to participate and share in the results. Space previously used for mobility or parking is now used for real productivity. Our self sufficiency from self interest also develops a new biodiversity of species around us. Insects, birds, small animals etc start cohabitation with us demanding a new kind of knowledge development and awareness. We integrate our local rural options with the benefits of the city. A degree of self sufficiency uses up space in a much more efficiënt way reorganizing personal and collective economy too, with less financial dependence and more sense of stressless stability. It is even much less activity demanding while much more rewarding in direct productivity and multiple benefits.
We experiment with the objective of redefining our footprint. Of course we find multiple limitations in our surroundings caused by the fragmented multiplication of wasted space that is kept in place by all those old interests. Still plenty of opportunities arise to learn and do things that start small and start expanding as more effort and people get committed. It is a process that shows exponential growth but starts teasingly slow.
Having pioneered with it I am convinced that we can restructure cities and entire societies by committing to the reducing of our real footprint by letting go of our previous life while reconstructing a new one as we go. My current footprint is probably about 1/1000s of what it used to be and my quality of life has increased by various factors. And I have only started. When further along the line the change will be more and more visible as I get my entire city to transform with me.