GREEN AMERICA PLAN 2030
Building a National Smart MultiGrid for Rural Infrastructure and Jobs
The United States, with a population of more than 300 million people today, must accommodate an additional 200 million citizens by mid-century, less than four decades from now. Whether America will be a decent and sustainable place to live when it's home to a half-billion people in 2050 will depend on how smart and creative we are during the two decades between here and 2030.
Hence the Green America Plan 2030 -- a bold plan to transport water from America's flooded Midwestern rivers to the arid and increasingly drought-stricken Southwest to provide much-needed water to the region's cities and towns, and to catalyze the development of a network of new sustainable water-oriented senior "wellness villages" and re-envisioned existing "transition towns."
The heart of the Green America Plan 2030 is a National Smart MultiGrid -- a national grid of water, electricity, transport, broadband telecommunications, and strategically located regenerated and new roadways and railways -- and the Infrastructure Jobs Initiative that will build it.
The Green America Plan also includes the creation of a network of model green communities in the warm climates of the Southwest, especially for seniors.
A new Midwest-to-Southwest Water Pipeline -- of some 12 to 18 feet in diameter and hundreds of miles long -- is the core of the National Smart MultiGrid, but the grid will also implement an electricity "smart grid" that transports solar and wind power across the region, along with a rural 4G broadband network that provides high-bandwidth access to national and global e-commerce, online learning, telemedicine, mobile banking, teleconferencing, many forms of telepresence, and a literal world of information.
GAP 2030 will create millions of construction jobs to rebuild and reinvest in an efficient and highly sustainable rural and exurban America -- now the least sustainable part of this country -- that can accommodate many of the 83 million U.S. baby boomers who as a group are already retiring poorer than their parents' generation, as well as some of America's projected overall population growth. GAP 2030 will also develop Native American Villages, for they were the pioneers in creating sustainable villages.
GAP 2030 will help develop a new form of rural and exurban agriculture (which increasingly will overlap with a similar form of urban agriculture) of efficient "vertical farms" engaged in volumetric low-water and hydroponic specialized crop production in large greenhouses. Some of the green villages and transition towns will include facilities and greentech parks for clean micro-assembly plants serving the growing distributed manufacture of electric vehicles, LED components, lithium air batteries, and other new products, and factories producing assembly parts for green modular building construction.
Bold and progressive public leadership will be essential to the financing of the Green America Plan and National Smart Multigrid, and the communities the MultiGrid will transform, create, and empower. Private-public partnerships will be the currency of the project, initially launched by federal and state land grants for the development of new townships and by the sale of water and power. Other creative economic development strategies, for example tax-increment financing, will be utilized too. Key to the financing of this massive project is the successful launching of the proposed United States Infrastructure Bank, which will play a crucial role in enabling and sustaining this 40-year enterprise. GAP 2030 is President Obama’s American Jobs Act on steroids.
GAP 2030 will develop model green communities, mostly in the warm clean-air climates of the Southwest that are designed especially for seniors, with unique features such as extensive water-based exercise and recreation facilities; an emphasis on low-carbon (and low-noise, low-danger, low-load) community transportation of people and stuff, including traditional and maglev light rail, elevated rail and monorail, and dedicated bus ways and bikeways; and the large-scale deployment of passive-solar architectural design principles.
Some of our country's greatest presidents have led it out of major economic and social crises, depressions, and recessions -- and through wonderful periods of great national enterprise and pride -- by creating millions of jobs while building and rebuilding America's and even the world's infrastructure:
Lincoln (the Transcontinental Railroad linking east and west), the first Roosevelt (the Panama Canal, national public works, and new federal functions), Hoover (Boulder Dam, which provided water and power to a swath of the Southwest -- as will the National MultiGrid), the second Roosevelt (the Works Projects Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps that reforested America and created 800 parks and built thousands of roads, bridges and tunnels) (and the G.I. bill that provided education and training benefits to the World War II veterans who built the U.S. suburbs and middle class), Truman (the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Europe after that war), Eisenhower (the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 a.k.a. National Interstate and Defense Highways Act that created a new national safe highway system and a Highway Trust Fund, maintained by the modest U.S. gasoline tax, to maintain it), and Kennedy (a man on the moon!). President Obama has the opportunity to provide a similar framework for creating millions of useful jobs while giving the country a roadmap for a sustainable future in the 21st century.
We think that initiative is the National Smart MultiGrid Initiative -- or, if you prefer, the National Smart GreenGrid -- a bold, mixed-use jobs initiative just like those deployed in America’s major economic crises of the past, visionary national projects that propelled America into the economic superpower of the 20th century.
The current generations of living Americans have a chance -- and an historic planetary duty -- to transform America, for decades the planet's premier consumption and waste economy, into a sustainable economy that provides lessons and new capabilities to the rest of the world. Let's get as close as we can, as fast as we can, to a systemically sustainable low-energy, zero-waste, zero-carbon "circle economy" that mimics and preserves the circle of life.
oday's "perfect economic storm" against the backdrop of an unsustainable fossil-fueled society is the time to do it. Consider these major threats to our free market system:
• Global climate change creating floods in the Midwest and drought in the Southwest;
• World oil peak and the end of cheap oil;
• Explosive global population growth that adds another billion people every dozen years, giving us 9.5 billion human souls by mid-century;
• The global food and clean water crises;
• The decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, not yet ended, and the continuing "war on terror";
• Our unending addictions to oil and drugs -- and the continuing "war on drugs";
• The massive U.S. national debt and the growing U.S. trade deficit, primarily caused by imported oil; and
• Wall Street's financial crimes, shenanigans and schemes, Main Street's business failures, and too many families' foreclosed homes.
We are at the end of the Industrial Revolution powered with oil and coal that has created an unsustainable future. The new century has started to embrace the Green Digital Revolution of information technology (IT) and green technology (GT) to create a sustainable global "flat world" where living in rural villages in the American heartland will not be a barrier to attaining the American Dream!
The construction of the National Smart MultiGrid will empower unemployed Americans, especially highly skilled and disciplined returning veterans, and their communities in a large part of the central and southwestern U.S. during and for decades after its creation.
America must reinvent, redesign and reengineer its economic system to put itself -- and the world and the planet -- on a road to economic, social, and environmental recovery in
this decade and a sustainable future during the generations that follow.