An NRDC blogger recently urged a consideration of suburban sprawl and the environment. Specifically, we need to consider drought and sprawl as contiguous problems. In the larger developed countries (Canada, Australia, United States) we certainly have seen the permanent destruction of vast acreages of agricultural land for suburban development.
America’s archetypal Levittowns were put down in potato fields on Long Island in the late 1940s. Drought in America this summer upped food prices. Australia’s Murray-Darling basin is the country’s food basket and is heavily settled and has experienced serious drought. Canada’s largest province, Ontario, lost nearly twenty per-cent of its best class of farmland just between the mid-seventies and mid-nineties alone – during a period of population growth. Surpassing these done deals is the expansion of ex-urban living in the developing countries. Predictions are for inevitable amounts of massive, unevenly managed growth there.
Population, energy, water, land, agriculture, infrastructure. These issues require a complex set of decisions. Who will make them and what will the outcomes be? Who will pay?
photo: files from Wikimedia Commons