a global problem
- we are dealing with global environmental problems. global warming is
contributing to the rising see level and the use of internal combustion
engines contribute heavily to these changes. we have to realize that we
can't limit our attention just to western cities, but must address urban
transport on a global scale.
----- Original Message -----
From: "J.H. Crawford" <postmaster@...>
Sent: Sunday, October 29, 2000 5:01 AM
Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Venice has motor problems, too!
> >The Grand Canal of Venice was just featured on the latest "Great
> >Streets" episode on PBS. Nathan Lane, the host, spoke with an
> >expert on why Venice is sinking. The gentleman (sorry, I don't
> >remember the expert's name!) said that the foundations of these
> >great old buildings are crumbling due to the intense wakes
> >created by heavy motorboat traffic. He also mentioned that "of
> >course, they can't ban motorboat traffic," but something must be
> >done to save the city.
> >So Venice has motor problems too!
> Yes, it does. I've always argued that the transport system in
> Venice, while agreeable for the users, is slow, inefficient,
> and expensive. Wake damage to buildings and air pollution from
> diesel engines in boats is an issue, although perhaps not such
> a terribly serious issue. The New York Times of 29 August 2000
> carried an article, "That Sinking Feeling, Again" as the lead
> in the Science Times section. That article indicates that the
> land in the Venetian lagoon has been sinking throughout the
> entire 2000 years of archeological history, and that Venice
> has always solved the problem by adding fill and building
> higher. I don't think that the motorboat wakes can be called
> "intense." There are speed limits on all the canals, and as
> far as I have seen, they're pretty generally observed. The
> wave energy in the open lagoon can be significant on windy
> days, far in excess of the contribution of motorboats. It may
> be that boat speeds should be still further reduced, but I
> would not expect this to result in major changes. The problem
> is simply that the water level is rising (due both to subsidence
> and to rising sea level). Some scientists have questioned the
> efficacy of the proposed gates at the entrances to the lagoon.
> These would shut out the Adriatic during period of high water.
> The problem is that these gates might have to be shut for so
> many days a year that water quality in the lagoon would be
> The worst contributor to the problem was the pumping of water
> out of aquifers under the lagoon. This practice was stopped
> quite a few years ago.
> J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
> postmaster@... Carfree.com
> To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
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- I must publicly congratulate JH on his *wonderful* 'Carfree Cities' book.
It arrived this morning and the first thing that struck me was the design
and layout of the typography -- beautifully set in Bembo and Helvetica.
He's utilised the ordinarily no-no square format intelligently with a
single column of text and central gutter for notes and illustrations. This
is a talented guy!! Now, on to reading it. . .
On Tue, 31 October 2000, Roy Preston wrote:
I must publicly congratulate JH on his wonderful* 'Carfree Cities' book.
Once you've had a chance to read it, I'm curious how we're going to "get past" the sheer numbers we're faced with.
How is sufficient food production and distribution assured once fossil-fueled machines burn their last drop of fuel?
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- Ron Greek said:
>How is sufficient food production and distribution assuredWe can't say with any certainty yet. Maybe we'll have
>once fossil-fueled machines burn their last drop of fuel?
so little energy that we'll be forced to abandon all
mechanized transport and rely solely on bikes, horses,
and sailing ships. However, I'm cautiously optimistic
about renewable energy. Remember that Switzerland and
Norway are largely powered by hydroelectric plants.
If they abandoned car use and made very efficient use
of all energy, they would probably be more or less
self-sufficient in energy. Windy places like the
Netherlands will be able to generate a lot of electricity
using windmills. (Greenpeace has proposed to generate
1/3 of our electricity by building a wind farm in
the North Sea, out of everybody's way and right in
the middle of those strong North Sea winds.)
Desert areas can use solar power to good effect.
What we SHOULD be doing is using the last of the
non-renewable energy to build a sustainable energy
infrastructure. Instead, we're burning it in SUVs.
I think that agriculture will indeed be one of the
difficult problems. Modern techniques are highly
intensive in their use of petroleum for fuel, fertilizer,
and chemicals. I am not opposed to biotech and genetic
manipulation as a way of increasing crop yields
and reducing energy inputs. I'm just not confident
that the current profit-driven economic structure
likely to avert the many disasters that doubtless
lurk between here and sustainable agriculture.
(Anybody for a bag of corn chips? Who's taking odds
on the chance that the FDA will fail to approve
the corn in question for human consumption after all?
Hey, it would probably not even kill as many people
as the exploding Pinto gas tanks, and the money at
stake is probably just as great.) I wish I had more
faith in the ability of governments to apply effective
regulation to profit-driven corporations.
J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities