Heinz Aeschbach, M.D.  
Humane Civilization Andean Vendors


  A Draft Manuscript

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Ethics, Economics and the Future of the World

  Environment / Global Warming

Environment / Climate Change / Global Warming     [last revised 3/2018, 2019]

Greta Thunberg letter to politicians
Food production and meat consumption; returning land to natural state
Transportation: Ideas and proposals
   Train system,  Long-distance and intercontinental transportation,  Road traffic
Renewable energy and minimizing energy losses 
[added 2/2019]
Population density, improved housing and living culture
Pets - Sacred animals
Reversing desertification, decreasing day-night temperature differences and need for irrigation, bringing rain to arid areas (unproven proposal)

Carbon sequestration
  [added 2/2019]

Greta Thunberg letter to politicians   [Sept. 2019]

Climate: stop setting goals, do what is possible, now. And addressing most
pressing changes in the economic system that may be a condition to make
necessary climate change policies feasible!

Necessary immediate action on climate is a matter of conscience, ethics,
compassion for our younger relatives and particularly the poor young people
of the world. It is a duty of politicians. Non-action due to pressures from
interest groups and climate change deniers is acting against vital
interests of the U.S. and world population, it is corruption, it is
callously causing the death of millions of people.

Immediate action on climate:

1. Listening to scientists is not enough: we, our government need concrete
plans to immediately enact what is feasible, first without considering
political resistance, then immediately working to overcome them. Obviously,
how one individual lives will not make a dent in global warming; however,
when most people or everybody is compelled to participate, resistance to
change quickly weakens and people readily adapt to new conditions, and the
quality of life of most people will improve when living simpler and
healthier. As in cases such a gun control in Australia and New Zealand, the
majority of thinking, voting citizens and politicians had to coerce the
resisting minority. In case of climate change, a majority will agree that
beef and many other animal products should be more or less rare luxuries,
not daily food: this majority must force the daily beef eaters to cut down
on their meat consumption. Most people know that pick-up trucks and SUVs
are dangerous and polluting, particularly if driving as fast as sedans:
this majority must coerce drivers of pick-up trucks and SUVs to drive much
slower. Most people would appreciate a good light-rail network that is much
faster than road traffic and which is supplemented by clean buses: this
majority must ascertain that such an efficient public transportation system
is built with no delay. Etc.
   Concerns about the economy not growing or even temporarily shrinking,
and employment opportunities shifting rapidly are not reasonable: If
regulations and policies are adapted to the economy's needs, important
branches of the economy will grow. More importantly, people do not feel
good because of a high income but because of security and meaning in life.
We do terrible with regard to general quality of life, high rates of
anxiety, depression and suicides affecting even children. Our economy would
collapse if consumer confidence would drop, meaning if people would save
rather than buy on credit; however, being indebted leads to low
functioning, discounting of own future, illegal behaviors, substance abuse
and suicides.

2. Climate change efforts; we must introduce and start:
- Carbon tax: high taxation on fossil fuels, etc.
- High taxation on beef, other animal products - graded according to
greenhouse gas production (and considering animal cruelty). [When there is
a shortage of hay and feed, many animals may be slaughtered and stored
frozen in cold climates, to be used very gradually as luxury food.]
- Incentives particularly for soy bean products for people, other
vegetarian products for health and carbon efficiency.
- Laws requiring lower speed limits for all types/sizes of trucks and SUVs,
and a universal speed limit of at most 70miles/hour (from 1973 to the early
1990s, we lived with low speed limits because of the fuel shortage of the
early 1970s).
- Concentrated effort to build (hydrogen-electric) buses and train engines.
- Rapid development of rail system: high-speed intercity trains, otherwise
mostly light rail, narrow track, quadruple lines for fast and frequently
stopping trains in each direction (narrow track lines, 100cm or, in
sparsely populated and mountainous areas 60-80cm, are much cheaper to build
and serve light rail cars well; though going at lower speed, more frequent
smaller trains are generally preferable for commuters. All trains are much
more efficient and safer than trucks.
- Building and promoting (regular and recumbent) bi- and tricycles with
fairing and rain cover, with and without batteries/electric assist.
- Solar panels on roofs, shades, walk and bike ways, roofs of trains;
further development of wind energy, energy from tides and streams in
oceans, etc.
- Improving energy efficiency of existing buildings, setting standards of
cooling and heating buildings less, and using more climate or
temperature-adjusted clothing.
- Planning and constructing dwellings more densely with focus on smaller
units (and smaller furniture); camps with high quality tents and/or small
cabins and good facilities in urban and rural areas for the homeless and
new, poor immigrants; etc.
- Plants producing hydrogen for energy storage, for use in power stations;
for trains, ships and cars; and for heating.
- Solar hot water installations; possibly storage of hot water of summer
for heating in winter.
- AC and refrigeration may produce large ice junks, for basement bins, when
there is excess electricity production to run air through for cooling;
possibly producing ice in very cold areas and shipping it to populated
areas in subtropics and tropics. Systems for storing ice produced in winter
for summer.
- Planting trees, fast growing plants; maintaining or returning 50% of land
to natural state.
- Taxing and regulating pet ownership; addressing feral cats and other
feral animals
- Avoiding food waste, using experience of France.
- Declaring the burning and clear cutting of forests, particularly rain
forests an emergency for the US and the world and making efforts with other
countries and the United Nations to stop burning rain forests in Brazil,
Peru, Indonesia, etc., providing assistance in policing these areas and
providing economic help for local economies. A goal should be to maintain
or return half of the land to a natural state.
- To alleviate suffering and deaths, and to decrease the number of climate
refugees, further population growth must be decreased by making means of
effective family planning readily accessible in all parts of the world.

3. Protect people from negative consequences of economic adaptations,
needed changes in the economic system and in job markets. Needed steps
- Introduce a negative income tax (or minimum basic income).
- Taxes on unearned income must be higher than taxation of earned income.
- Taxation on securities' trade is appropriate and, by slowing
transactions, is expected to have many beneficial effects.
- Governments must create "print" new money for climate change projects,
largely replacing banks' creating money by increasing their lending,
issuing loans many times the amount they have in reserve.
- Requiring that banks hold 100% of checking account deposits in reserve.
- Bank regulations must enact increasing reserve requirements on savings
- Nonprofit insurance enterprises must protect agriculture, new 'risky'
enterprises, etc. from major losses. These must replace derivatives and
other "financial instruments," that are designed to "hedge" against losses
and/or bring high profits from successful 'start-ups,' etc.

Appendix regarding the economy:

    Few economists appear to recognize the extremely serious problem of private
banks, rather than governmental banks, creating and allocating much of our
circulating money supply.
    The government must reclaim a primary role in creating and allocating
money that will belong to the people, institutions and agencies that work
with it.
    While the economy is growing, that growth has to be backed by an
enlarged money supply; but we and our governments must stop borrowing and
restrict rather than encourage bank lending; newly issued money must
expand the money supply. If bank lending is properly restricted, issuing
appropriate amounts of new money does not cause inflation.
    Banks have mainly increased the money supply by brazenly lending
wherever they hope to profit (and they often are not lending when
incentives to invest are needed).
    Severe levels of indebtedness destabilize the economy. Maybe more
importantly: Indebtedness causes impaired functioning and crises for
individuals and families. Indebted people tend to discount their futures,
engage in illegal activities and substance abuse, become desperate and
commit suicide.

    To improve the economy, the following steps appear indicated:
- The federal government has to issue new money to pay its debts.
- Bank reserve requirements on money held in demand deposits (checking
accounts) must be increased to 100%. Banks must not be allowed to use
money of demand deposit accounts for loans. Reserve requirements for
saving accounts must be substantial (gradually increasing).
- Consumer credit, offered by corporations, must also be regulated.
- Securities trade should be taxed (with increasing rates).
- Unearned income from securities, real estate and venture capital
investments must be taxed at a higher rate than earned income.
- In place of "hedging" against major losses by way of derivatives,
non-profit insurance corporations should protect investments of farmers,
small businesses, etc.; risky loans, particularly to new, small
enterprises, may be insured.
- The composition of 'financial instruments' must be transparent to
sellers, brokers and buyers. Complex unintelligible securities must be
- As lending decreases due to new, stricter regulations, the government can
issue new money and invest it in the economy, by realizing projects needed
to reverse climate change, infrastructure projects, such as building rail
lines, etc., while phasing out income taxes for average and below average
- While people save more, rather than using credit to replace cars,
appliances, etc., newly issued money and other governmental funds may be
allocated for grants and federal low interest loans for industries in order
that they can move from continuous high level production to more research
and development, particularly developing products that are eliminating
greenhouse gases, are safer, etc.
- The federal government may distribute newly issued money to specific
groups who are heavily indebted and cannot continue borrowing due to bank
regulations and must change production, e.g. farmers that must
significantly curb meet production; the government may buy land for
reestablishing natural forests; etc.

   [12/2017, 2/2019]

   Climate change can be greatly ameliorated by
- People moving to mostly plant-based diets. Much land must be returned to a natural state. Taxation should offer significant incentives. U.N. and wealthy countries are to pay poorer countries to maintain and restore rain forest and other important natural areas.
- Greatly increasing efficiency of transportation, mainly by
  1. building a network of trains of different rail gauges (600mm to 1000mm and standard), light rail to heavy freight and high-speed trains;
  2. making road traffic much more efficient and reducing road use;
  3. decreasing long-distance transportation of goods;
  4. utilizing barges and ships, improving efficiency and decreasing pollution of ships. Incentives for rapid change must include high taxation of fossil fuels.Renewable energy:
- Many forms of renewable energy should be further researched, developed and applied. To reduce heat absorption with warming of air above solar panels, panels may simultaneously serve to heat water for various uses or air for greenhouses. Further work may include developing small to midsize vertical axis sail mills. Sea/ocean currents may be used to drive turbines.
- Minimizing energy losses in  buildings and decreasing heating and cooling with use of climate adapted clothing.
- Communities, towns, cities should be built more densely and energy efficiently.
- Cultures and governments must deal with pet problems and religious mandates concerning animals.
- Communities may work on reducing daytime heat gain and possibly the spread of deserts (proposed approach not proven): there are relatively simple ways of increasing surface mass heated by the day-time sun, thus minimizing the rise of hot air in dry, overgrazed land, encouraging cloud formation and possibly re-establishing previous pattern of seasonal rains. Even if rains hardly increase, cooler temperatures decrease need for irrigation.
- Ways of shielding earth from sunlight, other than encouraging cloud formation, e.g. stratospheric sulfur dioxide(?), should be pursued.
- Carbon sequestration: Ways may be developed to cut very rapidly growing trees and bury them in ways that do not lead to rotting, possibly sinking them in the Arctic Ocean.

Food production and meat consumption; returning land to natural state
       [January 2009, revisions 9/2016, 1/2018

   Radically reducing meat consumption and returning much arable and grazing land to natural state appear to be the quickest way of decreasing greenhouse gases and protecting ecosystems. Estimates of greenhouse effects of cattle’s methane production vary, but it is substantial (lamb meat production leads to about ½, pork <1/5 the greenhouse effect of beef production). Deforestation to increase cattle grazing land adds to the problem of climate change. (In addition, degrading highly developed animals to commercial goods and disregarding their suffering is a serious ethical problem.)
   Today >1/3 of cropland is used for livestock feed production and about 9% for production of fuel. About 26% of the planet’s ice-free land (60% of agricultural land) is used for livestock grazing (this includes land for milk cattle and marginal lands). Paradoxically crops used for livestock feed have been heavily subsidized in the USA.
   Regarding carbon ‘footprint’ and land use, milk, eggs and chickens are least problematic land animal products with high protein content; vegetarian diets containing legumes (pulses, such as beans, peas, lentils) are by far best.1
   People must understand that a largely vegetarian diet can taste great, is ethically and ecologically the best form of nutrition, and is generally much healthier than diets high in animal products. Also, if people would know about common cruelties towards farm animals, that large quantities of chicken manure are fed to beef cattle, and that much meat, practically all ground beef eaten in the United States contains fecal material, many might find beef production to be disgusting. Inhumane treatment of sentient animas must be broadly addressed as a serious ethical problem.
   Regarding ethics: it is hard to imagine how much and how many farm animals suffer in very unnatural, restrictive environments and frequently life-long abuses (described by Yuval Noah Harari in his book Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind, 2011). According to Harari:
the mass of humans (weight of all individuals) is approx. 300,000,000 t
(1 metric ton = 1,000kg or 2204.62lb),
the mass of all farm animals (cows, sheep, pigs, chicken, etc.) is approx. 700
,000,000 t
the mass of all other larger land animals (penguins to elephants) and whales is less than 100
,000,000 t
(While there are some 200,000 wolfs left in the world, there are over 400,000,000 domestic dogs. In the U.S. alone, there about 80,000,000 dogs and a similar number of house cats, in the U.K, there are about 10 times less.)

   Promoting vegetarian products and discouraging animal food products is possible in much less time than improving public transportation, converting to solar, wind, tide/ocean current generated and geothermal energy, improving and applying energy conservation technologies, etc.
   Regarding solar panels: compared with light surfaces, solar panels absorb much energy that is converted into heat, heating the air above them. Solar panels should probably be used to simultaneously heat water (that may be used industrially or possibly stored underground for winter heating,..(?)
   Governments need to introduce increasing taxation of meat products according to greenhouse gas production and use of limited resources, including land, energy and water, while subsidizing and widely promoting alternative foods based on legumes (inclucing soybeans), etc.; similar to needed taxation of fossil fuels according to greenhouse gas production and pollution of land where there is drilling and fracking. Laws to protect farm animals from inhumane treatment and conditions need to be improved and enforced.
   In addition, ‘vertical farming’ (gardening on ledges of building walls or stacked planters for crops that do not need much direct sunlight; possible in metropolitan areas) and broad use of hydroponic food production should be pursued. This will greatly benefit the environment, improve the general health of people and create a much safer food supply for Third World countries.
   As Edward O. Wilson states, it should be a goal that approximately half of the world's land is left or returned to a natural state. Allowing corridors for animals to roam over large areas is important to greatly slow the loss of animal and plant species. Research indicates that it would also have a cooling effect and partly reverse climate change.
   The U.N. and wealthy countries must start paying poorer countries to maintain and restore rain forest and return other land to natural state.
   Consumption of red meat should be unusual and mainly consist in eating animals, such as deer, that have to be culled, and animals that were accidently hit by cars and immediately processed. Most land used to raise and grow feed for cattle and other mammals should be returned to a natural state. The modern industrial egg and poultry meat production is highly unethical. Animals may be raised without abuse; and male calves, old milk cows and old laying hens may be humanely slaughtered for additional meat production. Fishing methods appear generally inhumane, overfishing has done much damage to ecosystems and in many places there are problems with fish containing hazardous substances due to pollution.
   Recent data of annual world production2: Land animal meat: >300 million t;
Approximate number of animals: 1,500 million cattle, 1,200 million sheep, 1,000 million pigs and 1,000 million goats.
Approx. world average meat consumed (kg/person,year) [1 kg = 2.2 lb]: pig 16, poultry 14, beef 9, mutton + goat 2.
Milk production, world, annual: 750 mio t.
Seafood production, world, annual: 150 mio t.
   Comparison (estimated average values): 1. land use in m2 for 1g protein/year – 2. greenhouse gases as g carbon dioxide equivalent/g protein – 3. greenhouse gases per kilocalorie
m2 (square meter)=1.2 square yard or 10.76 square foot; g (gram)=0.035ounce, (weight of a U.S. dollar bill); 1 ounce=28.35g]
beef                 1 – 222 – 22
pork                 0.13 – 36 - 3.5
fresh produce      0.1 – 37 - 0.81
poultry .            0.8 – 32 – 4
egg                  0.05 – 24 – 2
dairy                0.04  -35 – 2
wheat               0.04 – 5 - 2)
rice                  0.02 – 21 -  0.4
maize (corn)      0.01 – 4 - 0 .1
pulses (legumes) 0.01 - 0.6 - 0.05.
[To obtain 40g protein/d, a person needs approx. 15,000g (=15kg, 33lb) protein/year; 1 m2 equals about 1/40 acre, 1.2 sq yards, 10.8 sq ft. To produce 40g beef protein daily, about 15,000m2  = 375 acre land would be needed]
   Regarding efficiency of meat production: Some grazing land is also used for milk production, which is relatively efficient. In many Third World countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, marginal land that would hardly be useful for crops is used for grazing (cows, goats, sheep, camels); yields of milk and meat are low in these areas and much land is overgrazed. Crops for animal feed are used more for poultry and pigs than cattle. Some meat (about 1/7 of produced beef) and much chicken manure are used as feed for beef cattle.
   Seafood is a limited resource; still 1/3 of the world’s fish catch is used for animal feed. Overfishing has been a major problem in all major fishing areas. Much damage has been done to ocean floor habitats. There are ethical questions regarding sentience in sea animals other than mammals and regarding humane ways of fishing.
   One of the most serious ethics violation is the slaughter of wales and dolphins who have very highly developed brains and can be assumed to be at least as sensitive as humans.
   Insects are eaten in some areas and appreciated as high-quality food; a much wider use of insects as food source may be considered. Regarding ethics: it is likely that animals such as insects, crabs and lobsters are hardly or minimally sentient, that is, perceptions of pain or even pleasure may be impossible or of very low intensity. The fact that they show preferences and reflective responses to adverse stimuli is hardly related to sentience.
   The Netherlands appears to be leading in efficient food production. Although, small (16,000 sq miles, about 1/3 of New York, 1/10 of California) and densely populated (17,000,000 inhabitants), it has become one of the world’s foremost food exporters. In the Netherlands, there are also experiments growing meat in laboratories outside the bodies of sentient animals.
   Re. deforestation, thinning forests, reducing prairie to grassland, and otherwise reducing natural vegetation: Karl-Heinz Erb (Klagenfurt, Austria, lead researcher) wrote a paper published in the journal Nature, 2017, indicating that land use led to a decrease by about 50% of carbon in plants. Humans changed land vegetation by deforestation, ‘managing’ forests by thinning and cutting out underbrush, grazing instead of leaving larger denser leafy plants and brush, etc. If half of the earth’s land would be returned to a natural state, a significant part of the carbon dioxide that was released into the atmosphere in recent decades would be removed from the atmosphere and built into vegetation, partly reversing global warming of recent decades3.
1  http://timeforchange.org/are-cows-cause-of-global-warming-meat-methane-CO2
2 https://ourworldindata.org/meat-and-seafood-production-consumption/
3 Reported in the Austin American Statesman 12/24/2017 and in the Washington Post, by Chris Mooney

Transportation: Ideas and proposals     [revised/added 3/2015, 12/2015, 4,9/2016, 9/2017, 1/2018]

   Fossil fuel use for transportation is a major source of greenhouse gases. Due to low costs of fuels, there has been little incentive to avoid unnecessarily wasteful means of transportation and to avoid transportation of goods, when local production would be barely more expensive. The production and use of fossil fuels should be discouraged internationally by high taxation. Transportation by ships and barges are most efficient, rail transportation is second in efficiency.
   Diesel and waist oil use is very energy efficient. However diesel fuel technologies need to be improved with innovation for clean-burning diesel worldwide applied to minimize toxic substances and greenhouse gases. This is particularly important because of the wide use of large diesel engines in trains, trucks and ships.
   Rail systems should include very small and light narrow gauge trains, 1000mm and standard gauge (1435mm) light rail, heavy freight trains, and high-speed intercity trains. Trains should connect all towns, neighborhoods, cities and places of interest; they should become an integral part of all countries’ infrastructure, the primary way of people commuting and traveling and transporting goods, including mail. Small narrow track trains (600-1,000mm) that connect small towns, villages and city neighborhoods have great advantages, particularly low construction and operating costs, safety and low environmental impact, compared to building and maintaining roads and utilizing trucks, buses and private cars).
   Railways foster the development of neighborhood and community centers and increase people’s social interactions; this is important since lack of personal interactions becomes a major problem with increasing electronic communication, etc. Public transportation also promotes walking as a natural part of daily life (people generally enjoy walking more when it is meaningful and has a goal rather than primarily for health.
    Improved bus networks may serve as interim solution where there are roads, but buses have few advantages compared with light-rail systems, and they should use advanced technology to minimize their impact on the environment. For local and vacation use, electric or clean electric-diesel hybrid cars, minivans and buses for group travel should be readily available for rent or in vehicle share programs. Trains may offer the service of transporting street vehicles particularly in mountainous areas or through train tunnels, and ferry services may be expanded.
   Road systems should be reduced since road building only encourages road use, particularly wasteful commuting in individual cars. Safer, self-driving, and more fuel-efficient cars will soon be available but can hardly compete with the advantages of rail transportation.
   Many roads should be designated exclusively for bicycles and other human-powered and hybrid electric-human powered vehicles of different types: tandem bicycles, bicycles with safe child seats and or much cargo space, vehicles for 1-4 (or more) people with lightweight-reinforced aerodynamic bodies with option of recumbent positions, etc. Electric engines should charge batteries while braking and slowing vehicle when driving downhill; batteries may additionally be charged by pedaling when going downhill, going slow and while standing.
   Robotics will replace many workers. Rather than adding unskilled service jobs in food industries, many of these workers should be employed for large public programs of rail construction and other infrastructure projects.
Railways, more specific ideas:
   Railway systems, using recent and presently available technologies, and ideas for trains crossing oceans in floating tubes or tunnels, are described.
   Transportation technologies should be continuously updated but for psychosocial reasons, individual self-driving cars for regular commuting should be discouraged, even if safer and more fuel efficient than present cars.
- Very sparsely populated and mountainous regions greatly benefit from inexpensively, easy to build train lines of 800 or 600mm, rarely even 500mm track gauge. Routes may include cogwheel and funicular trains, aerial tramways, gondola lift connections and ferry boats.
- More important lines may utilize 1000mm and standard gauge light-rail lines and heavy freight lines where needed. (Generally, light-rail lines can be used for virtually all types of freight transportation but requires more cars and are less efficient.)
- In more densely populated and highly industrialized regions, standard gauge, including high speed trains are appropriate; much used lines may have three double track lines: for frequently stopping trains, for intercity connections and for freight trains.
- Within metropolitan areas, 1,000mm and/or standard gauge streetcars (trams), funicular trains or gondolas in very hilly areas, gondolas crossing wide rivers and lakes, subways (underground trains) and above ground train lines, etc. should interconnect with suburban and long-distance trains, etc. Buses should become much less important.
- High-speed trains, possibly running in tunnels or above ground ‘tubes,’ on tracks or with magnetic levitation, may replace most airplane connections.
- All trains must be equipped with safety features, electronically preventing them to go above set speed limits or passing red lights; safe self-driving technologies should be much simpler for trains than cars. To improve safety, a with rail wheels fitted small car that is able to stop like road traffic may drive ahead of trains in some lines.
  Narrow track trains in poor, sparsely populated areas may use cars partly built with local material: wood, bamboo, etc., and engines fueled partly by local organic matters such as methane, waste food oil, etc. Generally, trains should operate with electricity; they may use roof solar panels and battery packs or possibly hydrogen cells that convert hydrogen into electricity (battery packs or hydrogen cells could be exchanged at stations rather than re-charged while train is waiting). In all areas, small light-rail double track (one-way) trains that connect all communities and city neighborhoods are preferable to larger trains on single track lines, running infrequently with few stations and excluding many communities.
   For transportation of commercial goods and luggage of passengers, all forms of transportation should be designed for few standardized sizes and shapes of suitcases and trunks; personal luggage compartments should be essentially the same in mountain narrow track and high-speed trains, with uniform compartments to keep trunks, backpacks, etc.
   Today there are many 1000mm mountain and light rail trains; examples include the streetcars of Zürich and most Swiss mountain trains. Seating in these train cars is as in standard trains except narrower; and they can climb grades of up to >10% without cogwheels. [Switzerland’s mountain trains climb grades of 7-7.9%, most are 1000mm gauge with range of 800mm to standard (1435mm)]. Much narrower trains may have an aisle with two and one, one and one seats on each side or two seats on one side of aisle; smallest short distance connecting trains may have cars without aisles.
   Much engineering work is needed to optimally adapt systems to places, levels of industrialization, geography, etc.; to help utilize local resources as feasible; and to optimize efficiency. Systems should incorporate funicular railways and aerial lifts that may transport small light rail cars across valleys and up to higher levels. Gondola lifts may be incorporated in city and mountainous rural light rail systems; if no cars are transported, gondolas may be preferable to ferryboats. Engineering tasks include connecting different railways into one system that is also connected with airports, with ports for barges and ships, and building stations that consider convenience and local culture.

   Long-distance and intercontinental transportation

   Global rail lines across rivers, lakes, seas and oceans, engineering ideas: “Tunnels” may be built that look like tubes or the steel reinforced concrete ‘lining’ of mountain and under-water tunnels, except that they would be built on ships and then lowered to loosely rest on the bottom of a river or lake, or to float in the sea, their bottom filled with rock and gravel to a level where they approximate the specific gravity of water. In order not to interfere with ship traffic and avoid disturbances of intense waves, they would be ‘hung’ from rows of small floating islands with lighthouses at an internationally agreed upon depth. To withstand ocean currents, floating islands and rail lines have to be anchored or moored to the bottom of the sea.
   Fast trains may run in partly evacuated tubes with magnetic levitation.
Compare Swissmetro magnetic levitation train project, first proposed 1974, projected to run at approx. 600km/h or 360mph (it has not been considered financially feasible); and ultra-fast ‘hyperloop’ trains as envisioned by Elon Musk.
   In natural environments such as prairies or tropical rainforests, trains should run in tunnels or several meters above ground where trains on the ground would disturb free movements of animals and local, indigenous people.
   A far-off idea is building floating land corridors across the Atlantic and Northern Pacific, utilizing lightweight materials such as autoclaved aerated concrete (Ytong); such land corridors may be partly used for agriculture with trains running in the center. Incorporating fast-growing wood that can be treated to resists water-logging when exposed to seawater would have the advantage of permanently binding much carbon dioxide, thus decreasing atmospheric greenhouse gases.
   Airplanes, trucks and buses are expected to continue to fulfill a role in the transportation infrastructure, and all airports should include train stations connected suburban and subway systems; but with fuels taxed according to their damaging effect on climate and other forms of pollution taxation, they are to be discouraged as compared with ship and rail traffic.
   Ships: Ship traffic is valuable and efficient, but it is important that ships are built or refurbished to operate following high standards concerning safety, pollution and efficiency. Oil spills must be prevented in much more methodical ways. Particularly modern luxury cruise ships have been reported to be very polluting. Also, traveling slower (about 18 knots/hour or 33 km/h) greatly increases fuel efficiency, and usually there is no need to go at usual speeds of 24 knots/hour [45 km/h].1
Road traffic:    [added 4/2016]
   The overall goal is to greatly reduce private ownership and use of cars and later also car sharing. Until adequate public transportation with rail systems are in place, governments must legislate rational interim goals, addressing efficiency, safety, strongly discourage SUVs and trucks for commuting, etc.

   All new cars should have aerodynamic bodies (as Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ionic hybrid cars today (2017) with body reinforcements for safety. All cars but particularly larger vehicles, should be partly self-driving (holding lanes and keeping safe but short distance from cars ahead and stopping automatically for pedestrians and larger animals), allowing much denser traffic on limited roads. In addition, all cars and trucks should have cameras in the back and stop automatically when backing towards an obstacle, such as a child or any larger object; and all streets and roads should have well painted and logical lines and markings that guide car and bicycle traffic in their lanes.
   The present trend to have mostly electric cars that are recharged every evening is problematic; electric grids may not tolerate such draws of energy. If electricity is still produced with fossil fuels, there is no advantage, if solar panels are a main source of electricity, more batteries are needed to store electricity from sunny daytime to time of people charging their cars after work. Expensive infrastructure adaptations would be needed.
   If or when fuel cells and fuel cell vehicles are widely available, vehicles using fossil fuels will no longer be needed. It is surprising how slow the development towards wide use of fuel cells has been.
   Proposal for present: Cars have a small gas, diesel or natural gas engine in front driving front wheels, with option of independent small electric engines (small engines for city driving, more powerful engines in places where out-of-town driving in mountainous areas is needed) with choices of battery pack sizes in back of car, driving rear wheels. The electric motors are used to brake and slow car down while driving downhill; and they allow short-distance, particularly city driving with the electric motor only and four-wheel drive mode with more power when needed. Batteries can also be charged by slightly ‘braking’ rear wheels while front wheels are driven. More efforts may be needed to build small, clean diesel engines; diesel engines are basically more efficient than gasoline (petrol) engines and have the advantage that diesel oil is not explosive and diesel engines can use waste food oil. Present fuel-efficient front wheel drive cars may be retrofitted with electric engines with batteries driving back wheels.
   In addition, all cars should have optimal safety features, self-driving technology for accident avoidance, possibly external pedestrian protecting airbags (as Volvo has installed in some models), etc. – government incentives and savings in insurance fees should cover these costs.
   Screens are overused and dangerous. E.g. radios, heating and ventilation should be operated by feel without looking at a screen.
   While, following the lead of the USA, car manufacturers and buyers worldwide have been reinforcing each other in replacing cars with SUVs that are less safe and use more fuel.
   The U.S. government should take a leadership role in taking action.
   SUVs are undesirable because:
1. SUVs have, compared with same-size station wagons and minivans, poor fuel efficiency.
2. Compared with sedans and station wagons, SUVs are, in accidents, much more dangerous to pedestrians, bicyclists and also drivers/passengers of small vehicles.
3. SUVs are expensive and many buyers who believe they ‘need’ an SUV cannot afford them, leading to debts and neglect of other priorities.
   SUVs are perceived as safe vehicles because they have become primary child transport vehicles and parents with children drive usually very cautiously. However SUVs and pick-up trucks are inferior in emergency handling and are very dangerous in impacts; and, even if an SUV handles well, high-seated drivers are less likely to do quick avoidance maneuvers.
   Psychologically, utility vehicle drivers feel more removed from the ground and perceive a passive safety that may make them less responsive to pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. In the USA and some other countries, the rights of pedestrians on indicated pedestrian street crossings are largely ignored with complete impunity.
   Statistics comparing cars with SUVs and with pick-up trucks show that pick-up trucks are by far most dangerous, particularly in accidents involving pedestrians – the similarly built SUVs seem safer because of defensive drivers (often women with children). While other vehicle accident deaths have generally been decreasing in the last few years, pedestrian deaths increased.
   SUVs are relatively expensive to buy and to run; people spend too much money on them and are thus more likely to neglect other priorities and/or become desperately indebted, which is a major mental health issue: unmanageable debts are a main reason for depression and suicides; heavily indebted people discount their future and are more likely to commit crimes, abuse substances and become addicted.
   PROPOSAL: To improve safety and fuel efficiency, utility vehicles (SUVs, crossover SUVs and all types of trucks) must have lower speed limits than cars (sedans, sports cars, station wagons, minivans) and traffic fines must be more severe (also, drivers licenses should be more readily removed). There may be a distinction between crossover SUVs and small pick-up trucks versus large vehicles, considering height of cabin floor, height of hood, and vehicle weight, e.g. crossover SUVs must always drive up to, never at or slightly above speed limit as is otherwise tolerated today, and large/heavy SUVs and trucks must drive 5 mph below speed limits up to limits of 40 mph, 10mph below higher speed limits.
   There should be a nationwide speed limit of 70mph, 60mph for large utility vehicles and trucks.
   All cars and trucks must have bumpers on standard height in front and the back of the vehicle’s body (so that a pedestrian or cyclist cannot be pushed under vehicle and colliding vehicles’ bumpers meet); also the side of trucks must have protective covers that prevent other vehicles or pedestrians from getting caught under the floor of the truck; for large trucks, bumpers may be telescopically lifted when going through a trough or ditch.
   Sweden is studying and experimenting with and implementing systematic approaches to make road and city traffic much safer; Stockholm has goal of zero pedestrian and other traffic fatalities within a few years. All other countries should follow such approaches with no delay.
1 According to Hofstra University research at 18 knots [33 km/h], the fuel consumption/mile is approx. half. Compared with 24 knots [45 km/h]  [https://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch8en/.../fuel_consumption_containerships.html]

Renewable energy    [added 2/2019]

   Many forms of renewable energy should be further researched, developed and applied.
- Solar panels have the drawback that they create heat-absorbing surfaces that heat the air above them, rather than reflecting sun light. Covering the panels with a thin layer of water, so that panels can serve to heat water as well as producing electricity, heating greenhouses in cold climates and other ways of utilizing the heat should be considered. To heat greenhouses, air may be blown over commercial solar panels.
- Further work may include developing more wind farms, hydropower, power from tides, geothermal power, etc.
- Small to midsize vertical axis sail mills, central poles being held in place by three or more guy wires, may serve thinly populated areas.
- Sea/ocean currents may be used to drive turbines.

Minimizing energy losses    [added 2/2019]

   Energy saving requires improving buildings: isolation of walls, basements/concrete slabs, attics and roofs, and decreased air leaks, high quality windows, window covers, etc.
   Proper climate adapted clothing and less heating in winter, less cooling in summer is healthy and efficient.

Population density, improved housing and living culture    [revised, expanded 1/2018]

   For social reasons and to minimize energy consumption, population density in towns and cities should generally be high, with people living in multistory or terraced condominiums rather than freestanding one family or town houses, using all roofing, sun-exposed walls and shade covers either as gardens or solar panels. Underground floors may serve as communally used spaces, stores, movie theaters, parking space for bicycles and human-powered, human-powered-electric and/or hybrid vehicles and rental cars, etc. Community centers may be built in close proximity to railway stops and fulfill social functions.
   Generally, living culture in modern societies should be reevaluated and improved. Dwellings may be more conducive to social wellbeing if quite small and feeling ‘cozy’; people may benefit from living densely without everybody having own bedroom and bathrooms. Energy conservation should always be considered when building and remodeling houses, using excellent insulation, and by practicing simple living and heating and cooling houses considerably less than is common in highly industrialized countries. People, as their animal relatives, are quite adaptable and can feel comfortable in a wide range of environments; discomfort in relatively cold or hot temperatures is largely due to being accustomed to and expecting much heating and air conditioning. Physiologically stressing systems, e.g. swimming in cold water and sweating intensely when outdoors in hot weather, staying very active for extended times without eating, etc. is probably very healthy for body and mind.

Pets  and  Sacred animals     [revised 1/2018] 

     While pets often are a great asset to children and adults, pets, particularly large dogs, are often a major burden for our ecology, increasing greenhouse gases, polluting and competing for limited resources. Pets often create ethical problems as people who acquire (adopt) them end up neglecting them and do not know their social and other needs, etc.; people often have multiple large dogs but do not interact with them much. Particularly large, spoiled pets compete with food resources with poor people. The number of dogs and cats in suburban area is often much higher than in natural habitats of comparable predators. To provide humane conditions for pets and get optimal benefits from their company, people should only be allowed to have (adopt) a pet after learning about their needs, how to treat them, committing to taking good care of them and preventing unwanted offspring. Only animals that are suited by their nature to make good pets should be permitted. Euthanizing unwanted 'rescue’ animals is ethically the right solution. Hazards of rescue dogs and dangerous breeds to children and strangers is often underestimated. Occasionally dogs severely injure and kill children, delivery persons, and, particularly in rural areas, pedestrians and joggers. Outdoor cats disturb ecological balances. Even if not hungry, they hunt many small animals at dawn, dusk and night, usually without the pet owners’ knowledge. Many cats and dogs have become feral, without an owner caring about them, and they harm local wildlife.
     Religions must be recognized as part of people’s private culture. Religions should encompass communal activities for people of all ages, including meditative and spiritual practices, rituals, maybe forms of artistic expression; however, religious teachings must not interfere with ethical ways of dealing with the vast problems of the modern world.
   In the USA, dogs are often treated as if having quasi-religious or ‘human’ rights, while other highly evolved animals are horribly exploited and abused. India and other countries must find ways of respecting cattle and other animals but they must also seek pragmatic solutions to avoid religious conflicts with minorities who do not share Hindus’ beliefs, and to control animal populations that directly compete with malnourished people and contribute to climate change. All sentient animals should be treated humanely and, if ethically killing an animal is justified, the way of killing animals should be the most humane way that is feasible.

Reversing desertification
, decreasing need for irrigation, bringing rain to dry areas (untested idea according to anecdotal observations and physics):   [added 3/2015, revised 3/2018]

   If the surface of the ground is increased, there is much less heat gain during the day. In hot, arid land, building W-E running ridges and ditches will immediately cool the area; more vegetation may grow for grazing animals, less irrigation is needed for horticulture, etc. Perennial plants/crops may hold topsoil of the steep slopes of ridges-ditches.
  With the destruction of vegetation at the edges of deserts, primarily due to cutting woody vegetation and overgrazing, the exposed soil and rocks and the air close to the ground become much hotter compared with land covered by vegetation (grass, brush, trees). This hot air rises, causing low barometric pressure and a sea breeze-like effect; however, even if air moving into the newly arid area contains moisture, the heat greatly reduces the possibility of cloud formation. Rains diminish and semiarid areas become part of adjacent deserts.
   To reestablish previous rain patterns, the ground temperature can be decreased by increasing its surface area. Rock walls of ruins and dead trees in arid areas cool the ground: a much larger area is exposed to sun rays and much more mass is heated by the sun, resulting in much smaller morning-afternoon temperature increases. Different possibilities of increasing the ground surface are described ; a simple way is digging ditches or narrow channels and building walls or mound ridges or banks
(a few feet wide, deep, high); running East-West is most beneficial. Temperatures may also be lowered by painting sun-exposed surfaces with reflective white (whitewash, white stucco).
   Reducing the heat gain of low layers of air and preventing the updraft of hot air during daytime may reverse desertification, allowing the growth of drought-resistant plants and decreasing the need for irrigation if crops are planted.

Introductory remarks, anecdotes and observation:
   When driving West from Saltillo in Northern Mexico through the desert area toward Parras de la Fuente, Coahuila, the sky was blue - no cloud. Then we saw first a dark cloud, then, under the cloud the green of the oasis. My grandmother said that forests attract rain; most climatologists believe rain leads to much vegetation, allowing forests to grow. There is no contradiction between the two observations; both appear true.
   On researching the issue, there is a 2009 paper in BioScience by Douglas Sheil and Daniel Murdiyarso: How Forests Attract Rain: An Examination of a New Hypothesis.
[Under this hypothesis, high rainfall occurs in continental interiors such as the Amazon and Congo river basins only because of near-continuous forest cover from interior to coast. The underlying mechanism emphasizes the role of evaporation and condensation in generating atmospheric pressure differences, and accounts for several phenomena neglected by existing models.]
The authors interpret the rain attracting effect of the great tropical rainforests in a complex model that does not consider how desertification, which we would like to reverse, occurs. I believe that observations concerning the deserts’ spreading and cloud formation over lush vegetation, are relevant.
   Climatic principles (also used in passive solar design):
- Temperatures vary most at the surface that is heated directly by sunshine and from where heat radiates into the night sky: the unprotected ground, roofs and plants (leaves, stems, etc.); differences in temperature vary greatly depending on surface materials: metal or rock surfaces heat up and cool down far more than surfaces covered by plants (leaves, stems, etc.). The air above and the ground or materials below are heated and cooled by these surfaces. This is why, even if the air temperature is above freezing, car roofs and windows and even the pavement on bridges may freeze at night, and why sun exposed cars, roofs and pavements become very hot.
- If the surface area that receives a certain amount of sunshine is relatively small (about at right angle to the sun rays) and the material that is hit by sun light has little specific heat (so that relatively little energy is needed to increase its temperature), the surface will get very hot during son exposure and get very cold in a clear nights (examples: flat, directly sun-exposed metal sheet; conventional roofing; stone or sand particularly if flat on sun-exposed slope or horizontal in tropical area).
- While day-night temperature differences are large at ground level and close to the ground, air at higher levels changes much less in temperature. Thus during day time the hot air rises, cooling off some as the air pressure drops with height. However, the cold night air close to the ground does not rise and the temperature at higher levels decreases much less than on the ground.
- In a loose pile of rocks, the rocks on top have large day-night temperature differences but lower, shaded rocks cool down at night and stay cool during the day since the hot air does not sink down between the rocks.
- The color and surface characteristics of an area that is struck by sunlight is important: white stucco is very reflective and a good radiator; it stays almost as cool if sun exposed as if shaded; most dark surfaces absorb much heat during the day (become hot) but also radiate much during the night (cooling off rapidly); shiny metal reflects well but radiates little, thus, even though reflecting much sun light, it becomes very hot during the day; ‘selective black’ surfaces, as used for solar water heaters, gather much heat and radiate little.
- The heat conductivity, specific heat and specific gravity of surface materials are important: if superficial heat easily warms up deeper layers and if it takes much energy to warm up material, there are less temperature variations at the surface, e.g. water absorbs heat well but has high specific heat and heat conduction is fair
leading to relatively small temperature differences between day and night; additionally more or less evaporation (depending on air humidity and wind)cools the water surface during day time. Dry sand, gravel or earth do not conduct heat well, have relatively lower specific heat but specific gravity approx. 2 x that of water; heat transfer in 12 hours (day-night difference) reach about one foot (12cm): due to this heat transfer delay, desert sand one foot below the surface is coldest before sunset but warmest before sunrise); consequently diurnal and seasonal ground and air temperature differences are large in desert areas. Caves and deep wells have fairly constant temperatures (average of year temperature; more where in winter snow cover isolates ground from extreme cold).
- Surfaces at steep grades and interrupted surfaces with light filtering through multiple layers (for instance of leaves) lead to less varying temperature on and close to the ground, particularly if there is considerable mass in layers, e.g. layers of water containing leaves, tree trunks, and particularly in rainforests, multiple canopies of thick foliage. In ruins of buildings without remaining roofs, the daytime temperatures remain much lower than in surroundings, comparable to temperatures where there is good shading by trees. (East and West oriented slopes have at times significant sun exposure but only during mornings or evening; South exposure is in tropical areas always at a significant angle, thus less intense; very hilly areas have less day-night temperature differences than open planes.)
   Characteristics of deserts:
- Sun-exposed stone or sand surfaces become very hot when exposed to sunlight, much hotter than the air above them.
- Above the ground forms a layer of hot and dry air; raindrops, if any, may dry before they reach the ground.
- During daytime, the updraft of hot air lowers the barometric pressure, dries up clouds, prevents cloud formation or drives clouds away.
- The daytime sea breeze results from air over land warming more than over the sea, rising and drawing in air from the sea. Similarly, when desert air heats up and rises, cooler air is drawn in from shaded cooler areas or water surfaces close to desert (if there are any), but this cooler air rapidly dries, heats up and rises. Thus in oasis and along rivers in desert areas, the air is drier than in larger vegetated areas. At night, this air movement essentially stops and is reversed at much lesser intensity; cold air does not rise and warmer air at higher levels does not mix with the cool air close to the ground.
- With radiation of surface warmth into the clear night sky, air close to the ground becomes very cold but cold air does not rise; higher layers of air that may contain some humidity stay relatively warmer; there is no vertical air movement and even at night there is hardly cloud formation.
- The larger the area of desert and overgrazed semi-desert with exposed rock, earth and sand, the less cooler, moist air is in surrounding areas that could be drawn into the central desert where hot ground air rises most. This leads to continuous dryness and extreme temperature differences between day and night, winter and summer (comparable to ‘continental climates’ in the relatively dry central parts of large land areas, as in central Asia and the central plains of North America.

Proposed action plan (untested; somewhat labor intensive but otherwise inexpensive):
   There are ways to decrease day-time heat, decrease need for water use when irrigating land and possibly reverse desertification. Places to start may include areas where deserts have been expanding, apparently due to deforestation, cutting brush and trees for fire wood or to increase grazing land, and where land was overgrazed, where animals denuded ground and leave small trees without leaves, and/or around irrigated areas, close to rivers and large oasis.
- People may create wide area of narrow channels or ditches and mound ridges or
walls (that are thin on top) running about West to East (W-E), several feet high or deep and 2-3 feet wide. W-E orientation allows the low sun in morning and evening to deeply penetrate between steep sides of channels and walls; around noon, the sun is high in sky and reaches most surfaces at a flat angle. Sun-exposed ground surface may also be increased by building a dense array of high mounds, towers or piles of irregular seize rocks and/or adobe bricks (cairns or stone columns). Trash for land fill may be used to form W-E running steep mounds, and roofs should have pitched roofs with gables running W-E. These measures will greatly enlarge surfaces where the sun strikes the earth that has contact with air (“diluting” the heating effect), enlarging the mass that is warmed by sunshine and decreasing daytime temperatures close to the ground, particularly in the afternoon.
   For the region appropriate perennial crop plants, which do not grow submerged in water, may be planted on steep slopes of ridges-ditches, holding the topsoil in place as soon as rots are well established.
   When digging, earth/sand/rocks about one foot deep are much colder than surface material, and when building ditches and ridges, the heat gain of the ground in sunny afternoons is immediately decreased, making at least working and travel more comfortable.
Obviously, land that is not flat is more difficult to
use agriculturally but at the edge of deserts, it may encourage much more drought-resistant brush growing, which may feed some camels, goats, etc. It is also likely that limited horticulture and the planting of agriculturally valuable bushes and trees will be possible with little irrigation.
- Particularly around oasis and irrigated land, in places where it is hard to dig channels and/or where there are not enough lose rocks, people may create strips of land (with walkways or narrow roads in-between), where they shade the ground with thick layers of dry brush interspersed with loosely placed small horizontal flat materials: flat rocks, broken tiles, sheets of waste paper and small cardboard pieces, and other essentially worthless materials that can form horizontal, interrupted layers (threadbare cloth, rotting wood board, rusted sheet metal and other building material pieces), several yards (meters) high. Horizontal layers of paper, cloth, metal and other materials must be loosely covered with dirt, sand or small rocks and dry branches, holding them down and absorbing/storing heat. This enlarges the area and mass that absorb sunlight and the surface-to-air contact areas with consequently smaller temperature increases. The process of building up these mounds of dead branches and waste materials at the edge of agricultural land may be very gradual, as peasants can collect suitable materials; it has the result of enlarging cooler areas, reversing desertification and leading to cooler areas that may be large enough to result in cloud formation and increased rain.
- There may be combinations of ditches-mounds/walls and layered dry materials.
- In addition, to minimize heat gain in settlements during days, roofs that are not used for roof gardens or solar collectors may be kept cool using white wash and/or white stucco to increase reflection, decreasing heat absorption.
- Particularly in more remote areas at the edge of deserts, large desert areas may be ‘painted’ with a thin layer of highly reflective white material (may be a layer of white sand, use of whitewash). With high reflectivity, the surface temperature of the white ground remains similarly low as if shaded, e.g. by cloud cover or vegetation. The ‘painted’ surface must be permeable or interrupted by adequate groves to allow moisture (condensation in cold mornings or rain) to seep into the ground and plants to grow. However, for travelers and animals, bright white ground surfaces may be bad for the eyes if not dangerous; good eye protection glasses and generally increased sun protection would be needed. Since whitewash has antibacterial properties, other effects on the environment need to be studied. If an area is adequately large and close to areas with high humidity, e.g. desert close to the Mediterranean Sea, cloud formation and rain are likely to occur.
- If only small areas of soil, underneath brush or between walls and in ditches is exposed, humidity will collect in small areas of soil, making it more likely that it is adequate for plants to start growing. Some humidity may form condensation droplets in the early mornings. If there are large reflective areas and there is a possibility that plants start growing, having much of the surface non-porous with perforations may also help to collect limited water to small spots of sand and earth. 

   Expected result:
- More mass is heated much less intensely, temperatures rise less during daytime and close to the ground, the expanded surfaces warm a thicker layer of air with low intensity. There will be much less temperature differences between air close to the ground versus air several meters (yards) above, and between day and night.
- As in forested areas, with a cool ground and with cooler air temperature close to the ground and at higher levels, there should be much less updraft of warm/hot air.
- As before overgrazing and desertification in the region, cooler moist air moving over the area is more likely to form clouds and bring rain. In mornings there may be enough humidity to form condensation.
- When rain occurs, it readily drips down between horizontal sheet materials or between walls / mounds, reaches the ground, moistens topsoil and may seep into aquifers. Where the desert surface is covered with a layer of reflective white (if not water-permeable, with perforations), rain or condensation water should be rapidly absorbed by the ground.
- Fast and high-growing vegetation may grow where water accumulates and later replace dead brush, grow between rocks and walls or in perforations of white reflective layers, followed by desired, agriculturally useful planted bushy plants and trees.
- Plants
in ditches between walls or mounds may grow adequately to feed some grazing animals, such as camels and goats (condensaltion water in early mornings and/or minimal rain is likely to collect in bottoms of ditches and moisten top soil, rather than quickly evaporate).
- With limited irrigation, limited horticulture may be possible, with drought-resistant [plants growing in lowest places. Shade trees and agriculturally valubale bushes and trees should need relatively little irrigation.
(There is valuable research concerning sustainable agriculture in the tropics that includes trees that produce nutritious and marketable products.)
- Once vegetation is established and shading ground effectively, rock piles, trash materials that did not disintegrate, etc. can be removed and irregular earth surfaces can be adjusted as desired.
   Final goals are:

- Relatively dense vegetation that needs little water, if possible including agriculturally valuable vegetation with multiple stories of foliage, will lead to temperature layering (warmer at top of higher trees, cool in very shaded ground level).

- If area is relatively large, we may expectat normal rainy season as in vegetated areas of the same latitude (before deforestation, overgrazing and desertification) - global warming should not interfere with growth of dense vegetation and normal tropical rainfall.

Carbon sequestration    [added 2/2019]

   Rather than creating biofuels, carbon may be sequestered as has naturally occurred in the formation of lignite, coal and other fossil fuels. Ways may be developed to cut very rapidly growing trees and bury them in ways that do not lead to rotting, possibly sinking them in the Arctic Ocean.

improved  governance, see 4.5

      H. Aeschbach, M.D.:   About the Principal Author
We may have different talents and temperaments, but we all experience grave inherent and cultural conflicts, and it is our environment, the social institutions of a civilization, which is to bring out the best of human nature.
If we have no vision of more ethical and humane institutions, our civilizations may destroy themselves or drift toward anarchy.
   If we do not trust our government, is this not an indictment of our constitution? Is this not a challenge to rethink the structure of the government?
   A humane civilization promotes small communities that support all inhabitants, individuals and families. Its government is a decentralized democracy. Natural ethics and efficiency are guiding principles of all institutions.
   In a humane, democratic economy, money is allocated by elected representatives of credit unions and development banks, not by profit-driven financial institutions and investors. Bank lending is limited but consistent, thus avoiding business cycles and large fluctuations in the functional money supply. Development banks' primary function is to advance quality of life for present and future generations, rather than material growth. Production and service organizations are decentralized, adapted to local conditions and needs. A function of taxation is to discourage what is recognized as bad for society, ecology and future generations.
   Instead of equal rights and justice, humane conditions for all is the primary goal. Families, schools, communities and service organizations help prevent unethical acts and criminal careers. People who are dangerous to self or others are treated, if necessary, in safe, structured long-term residential facilities. Natural ethics is the guiding principle of all institutions.