As we move closer to a Green New Deal that will hopefully help us revolutionize the economy. I came up with the concept of the Green Skyscraper to try and help solve some of our societal ills. Currently, we allow billionaires to build skyscrapers and that does absolutely nothing to help cure any of society’s social problems. All it does is help billionaires become even richer and create even more wealth inequality in the country. In areas where land is readily available obviously there is no need to build as high, but in many modern cities available land is a hard commodity to come by.
Let’s take an imaginary city like Gotham that needs several social problems addressed that unbridled capitalism will NEVER address. There are market gaps that exist within capitalism and one function of government is help facilitate bridging those gaps, so we can move forward and in the direction we want to go. The first part in helping Gotham City is identifying the social issues that need to be addressed.
Let us say Gotham has 10 major social problems. Once we understand the actual issues of Gotham then we can work on socially engineering a green and adequate solution.
Gotham’s Major Social Issues:
1) inadequate affordable housing
3) lack of student housing
4) insufficient retail space for small businesses and Gotham has food deserts
5) inadequate amount of space for assisted living/and nursing homes
6) lack of affordable childcare
7) lack of community space for educational workshops
8) needs a trade school
9) more on the job training needed
10) pollution from Gotham running on dirty energy
So my solution involves either finding an appropriate piece of government owned land or acquiring and tearing down some older buildings and then planning a building that helps to meet all of Gotham’s needs. This is a much-needed investment in America’s infrastructure. Even the building of such a sky scraper can be used to help teach valuable hands on construction and trade skills.
I would suggest solving the food desert problem by putting a grocery store on ground level. Then more spaces for small businesses on floors 2 through 5. A grocery store, non-profit, or any other small businesses could hire people that need job training and that could help with the lack of on the job training in exchange for a more affordable rent. I would solve the lack of affordable childcare by putting a daycare center with reasonable rates on floor #6. Anything on a lower floor like childcare could potentially have a dedicated elevator to make it easier for parents to drop off children. Childcare facility rent could be partially subsidized to keep overall cost down. A working daycare could also train people to be childcare providers. I would provide space for community workshops on floor #7. I would put a trade school on floor #8 with easy access to floor #7 for additional space when needed. I would put additional student housing on floors 9 through 15. I would create space for assisted living and nursing homes on floors 16 to 25. I would create a homeless shelter on floors 26 and 27. A homeless shelter could also be moved to a lower floor and have a dedicated entrance and elevator. Homeless people could potentially receive services they need at a shelter and then later transition into regular affordable housing when they need fewer services.
I would create affordable micro housing units on floors 28 to 45. So now I’ve helped address problems 1 though 9 on the list. I’m also pretty sure there’s some Republican war hawks, that had no problem spending over $5 trillion dollars on wars in and near the Middle East, already insisting we can’t afford this or anything else. Probably also saying nor can we afford to maintain this. Well, I argue they are wrong. I and most Americans would much rather spend tax dollars on needed American infrastructure than on war. I would create a green energy lab on floors 46 to 50. I would also devote floors 51 to 100 to wind turbines that work in harmony with each other to help create green energy for Gotham City. I would also encase floors 1 to 50 in solar glass. Below parking in the basement I would store low pressure hydrogen created by water and solar power during the day and hydrogen power generators to create power for Gotham at night. The only output of burning hydrogen is clean water.
As technology improves efficiency some of the levels of wind turbines could be replaced with future needs such as growing greens so Gotham always has a health and fresh supply of food. Other floors of turbines could be eventually be removed and used for needs that we can’t even currently imagine. Or floors could simply be converted at some point into additional affordable housing.
Even the elevators above floors 50 could be used to hold dead weight attached to a generator for temporary emergency power. This would effectively make the entire building an emergency energy surge capacitor. While dead weight isn’t the most efficient power generator it may temporarily be a necessarily backup power source as we transition to 100% green energy and create better systems that allow that to happen flawlessly without any interruptions to the power supply for consumers. Gravity is ever present and dead weight can be used to instantly generate more power. It is also a renewable source of energy as for example when the wind picks back up it can be raised using excess wind energy. I do understand that one or a handful of Green Skyscrapers won’t be able to power an entire city. However, if a green energy lab leases neighboring building facades for solar film and neighboring rooftops for additional wind power and acts as a power hub then it does become possible to power an entire city. We can let the free market dictate who wants to participate. Any coastal city could also have incoming green wave created energy sent to these green skyscraper hubs.
I’m trying to conceptualize energy in a new way. It is better for us as a nation have government funded green energy infrastructure that earns revenue selling green energy to the existing power companies than it is for us to purchase foreign fossil fuels that are killing our planet. So before we spend $5 trillion more dollars on war in the Middle East, we need to realize there is nothing we need from the Middle East. What will eventually happen is fossil fuel production will be globally banned. Countries that don’t want to stop pumping fossil fuels out of the ground will be faced with global sanctions that will make them realize it is not in their best national interests to continue such practices. When government stops subsidizing large oil companies the free market will be its own incentive to stop burning oil. Those subsidies should immediately be shifted to green energy. Why are we continuing to subsidize last century’s dirty energy at the expense of this century’s clean energy. So now the big question is what do with all that surplus power being created by Green Skyscrapers?
Well the answer is simple sell it to the Gotham power company and keep them in charge of the power distribution to the entire Gotham City. If the government pays for the physical infrastructure to create green energy then energy will theoretically be created in perpetuity as long as time passes. Conceptually the input of time is never going to cease, so we should use that to our advantage. So the sale of this energy to existing power companies created by publicly funded green infrastructure can be viewed in a couple of ways. Personally, I like to look at this additional government revenue as a green energy surplus or as an offset to help pay for the original infrastructure or as revenue to fund ongoing social programs like helping to provide affordable subsidized childcare or any of the other above programs I have discussed. Also, some of this green energy revenue can be used to help fund global efforts to help accelerate the transition to global green energy and help slow down the rapid acceleration of climate change. Last I read the United States is responsible for at least 20% of the global carbon emissions. So, by any reasonable assessment the United States also needs to contribute at least 20% of the global cost to help prevent runaway global warming and to keep our planet inhabitable. Doing nothing is not a reasonable option anymore. If we let the now floating Antarctic ice sheets (that used to be glaciers attached to ground) slip off into the ocean over the next 50 to 100 years then no major global coastal city will be inhabitable as that will cause an unexpected sea rise of 12 to 15 ft. That would create not only devastating tsunamis but a near instant and permanent ocean level rise. Some places like Netherlands may be able to deal with a slow and incremental rise in ocean level by gradually increasing the height of dykes. However, I believe no place will be ready for the global cataclysm of large tsunamis followed by a significant permnanent ocean level rise. The reality is Gotham could be anywhere. Once the technologically advanced and developed world that carbon pollutes the most has fully transitioned green then assistance can be given to the rest of the world as needed to help them transition. As the developed world creates space-saving green technology the outdated technology such as older wind turbines could be shipped and used to satisfy the energy needs of the lesser developed nations.
Hopefully the United States will undergo a massive political change after the November 2020 election. Then we could start to deal with actual pressing global issues. Me personally, I’m currently unimpressed by the Dark Ages mentality that if we bury our heads in the sand long enough that no problems exists. This should also serve as a wake up call that the American education system needs an overhaul to remain competitive. The current level of ignorance and the Idiocracy in America is creating global problems. While the United States has been effectively diplomatically MIA for 3 years, Europe has continued to work on green energy, but no one else has fully stepped up to replace the missing American global leadership.
The United States has reindustrialized before and quite rapidly. During World War II the United States re-industrialized in about two years. If needed the United States could theoretically use a Green New Deal to greenly reindustrialize using American innovation. If we must talk about American protectionism, I believe it goes along the lines of using only American green energy patents, with American raw materials, and American manufacturing. Once we have satisfied all of our energy needs we could become the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter of high quality green energy production devices and parts. As I envision it that type of manufacturing could be a lifeline to America’s economically dying rural communities. Space is just too precious in any city to do large scale manufacturing. Especially when a network of high speed hydrogen powered trains could easily deliver any finished product to any city in a short amount of time.
Even non-subsidized green energy is cheaper now than any other source. So we will never bring back coal to West Virginia. However, if we wanted to bring back jobs to a community that used to rely on coal jobs the government could do that by purchasing a farm on the outskirts of a West Virginian town, rezoning it into a green industrial park and investing in green renewable energy infrastructure and a dynamic trade school that will teach the exact skills needed by incoming businesses. The incentive for businesses to come could be if they create enough new jobs they could receive daytime power at a very low to full subsidized cost. Some industries require a lot of energy to operate. Imagine a bakery that didn’t have to worry about its daytime peak energy consumption as long as it hired enough employees and created enough new jobs. Fully automated facilities should never be given the same benefits as a business that employs people and puts money back into our economy.
Most of what I’m talking about the technology already exists. It may need to be refined. Any missing links in the current technology can be engineered using American innovation if challenge ourselves. We should have already transitioned to 100% clean and renewable energy. If the government helps pay for the infrastructure needed to produce the green energy our transition will be much quicker and then the residual energy income can almost immediately be used to help makes us a prosperous nation once again and help ensure that this world remains inhabitable. On the Big Island where I live we have a huge debate about whether more telescopes should be developed on a sacred mountain. It is complicated and involves many cultural and human rights issues. I’ve actually heard proponents insist we need that telescope to locate other planets to move to. However, they have no response to the question, “Have you ever considered it is way more important currently to not destroy the planet we are currently all living on?” Talk about not being able to see the forest for the trees. Humans already want to find other planets to destroy. If we ever left this planet with that mentality if we came in contact with an advanced civilization in space, they would probably have no choice other than to eliminate as us as we would rightfully be viewed as an out of control destructive virus.