How to Read This Blog


HOW TO READ THIS BLOG:

To get the most out of this blog, I recommend beginning with the earliest post and proceeding in chronological order. For the most part this blog, like a planning document, builds on data and rationale in a linear manner. You may find value in individual posts taken in isolation, but I suspect your experience will be richer if you follow the intended progression.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer Sabbatical

Anyone following this blog, either in real time or post factum, will see that there is a considerable break in writing the past several months.  As the days became warmer,  the world became green and I found myself less inclined to spend time typing on a computer.

In addition to the call of the outdoors, there are ominous signs (locally and globally) that things are rapidly deteriorating, and the time we have left before collapse is running thin.  This sense of running out of time has only further discouraged me from taking to my online activities.

I imagine I'll find inspiration to take up writing again when the good weather begins to wane.  As we should know by now, nothing is certain.  Perhaps there will be time to finish my various series in this space, but quite possibly not.

For now, let's just enjoy this:


Lyrics
I am the eagle, I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky
I am the hawk and there's blood on my feathers
But time is still turning they soon will be dry
And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly
Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops
Sail over the canyons and up to the stars
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
And all that we can be and not what we are
Written by John Denver, Mike Taylor • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Reservoir Media Management Inc

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

LPS 3: Projection of Future Conditions

Now that we've established the current set of conditions in Anytown, USA, it's time for us to predict what the future conditions will look like assuming no significant alteration in the current trajectory.  Fortunately for us, we've already done the bulk of the most difficult work in the World Planning Series, where we questioned common knowledge about the possibility of infinite growth on our finite planet.

The reader should keep in mind that this post explores baseline conditions predicated on continuation of existing policies.  In a future post, we will extract key lessons from these forecasts and use them to develop alternative courses of action, which we will then evaluate for feasibility and likelihood of meeting our stated objectives.

To begin this conversation, we should first review the way local planning agencies do these projections today so we can determine how we might proceed differently.




The Standard Process Today

We will assume that the reader has been following these posts sequentially, and is already familiar with the general outline of how planning projections are done as described in the World Planning Series.  As a refresher: the basic concept is to review past data, determine trends, and project these trends into the future to estimate conditions at a predetermined date.  The mechanics of the projection will vary depending on the data we're working with and the sophistication of the tools available.

In local government planning, we typically choose a "planning horizon", or the date we're trying to plan around, that is between 20 and 25 years out.  It's not that we don't care about other timeframes, it's just that this gives us a middle ground that is close enough to feel comfortable with but far enough in the future to actually impact outcomes via gradual change.  For our purposes, we will use 2040 as a nice round number for our planning horizon.

Normally, we would turn to our state demographers office as a first step of estimating future trends in population.  These offices create detailed projections of statewide population and then use statistical models to distribute that future growth to individual counties and towns.  From these numbers, we would see that Anytown is expected to grow by more than 50% by the time our planning horizon arrives, adding 100,000-150,000 people.

Now that we know the future population, we will use sophisticated modeling tools to predict what this means for the development pattern of the community.  A land use modeling package will use the population numbers, existing land use patterns, and the future land use map and zoning map as inputs.  The software applies algorithms that approximate the behavior patterns of growth and estimates where, at what time, and of what type development will occur.



The output of this model then becomes the input to our transportation model, which maps out all of the streets in Anytown.  Based on the projected locations of land uses in our future year, "trips" are dumped onto the network and a different set of algorithms that approximates the behavior of travel determines how much traffic there is and where it goes.  Depending on how sophisticated our process is, we may have several iterations between the land use and transportation model, where the output of the transportation system helps drive the development of land uses and then vice versa.

This process paints us a picture of Anytown in 2040 that looks mostly like it does today, only with 50% more people, 50% more cars, 50% more traffic, pollution, etc.  If the future proceeds just like the past, this is what we get.

But as the reader knows by now, we cannot count on a future that looks anything like the past or present.  Let us proceed with our own projection, based on what we know about the likely direction of world events.


Near Term Projection: The Next 5 to 10 Years Or So

What we know about the macro situation unfolding will have a substantial impact on our local projections.  We already know that the global economy, fueled by cheap energy that is becoming unaffordable to those who need it, is teetering on the brink of another meltdown.  All indications are that there will be some kind of major financial "situation" comparable to 2008-2009 within the next few years.  Because governments and central banks have already spent most of their ammunition (NIRP/ZIRP, QE, fiscal stimulus, bailouts, monetization of debt, etc.), we would expect that this leg down will be much more severe and will have little or no chance of substantial recovery.

But right now in Anytown, life is good.  The economy is whirring along and everyone is fascinated by the stock markets rocketing ever higher.  Real estate is still booming, construction is rolling right along.  It will be a complete surprise to most when things rapidly fall apart.

At some point during the next few years there will be a massive shock and panic from the local credit union, to City Hall, to the Chamber of Commerce and into each and every home.  The business leaders, finance people, and government officials who have been reveling in the comparative boom time we're experiencing will wake up one day to find frantic bank executives on CNN, congressional hearings, presidential press conferences.  As the stock market plummets, financial institutions become illiquid.  Credit that used to flow into Anytown to fuel growth and consumption grinds to a halt.

Many businesses in Anytown, even successful ones, are heavily dependent on consistent cash flow.  As credit freezes, some businesses will begin having trouble meeting obligations in the very first month.  Within a few months, it will simply be unreasonable for them to continue operations while they lose money they don't have.  This will be particularly true for the smaller local companies that don't have the support of a larger corporate network to keep things afloat.  Pink slips start flying, as jobs are cut across all industries in a desperate attempt to stem the bleeding.



At this point, the people in Anytown are beginning to panic: especially those impacted by the wave of layoffs.  Social media rumors and hysteria drive runs on banks and stores as people try to hoard cash and goods.  In some instances, the crowds cast aside the idea of "buying" things entirely and devolve into episodes of looting.  Like the businesses, the people in Anytown are largely living paycheck to paycheck.  The lucky ones are able to withdraw what little cash they have from the local banks, but there will likely be cash shortages and limitations on withdrawals.  For many, their savings are really only enough for a month or two, assuming they can get access to it.

What this means for the governance of Anytown is break from the expected normal way of doing things into management of the crisis of the day.  While the local economy limps along for a few short years after the initial shock, critical services become strained under the weight of high demand and dwindling resources to meet that demand.  More people seek government services at the same time that tax revenue falls and layoffs are required.  Maintenance of infrastructure is deferred, non-essential services are cut, and the problems of homelessness and social strife become highly visible.  In the beginning, many people continue to go to work and try to behave as they normally would; but as time progresses fewer organizations have resources to provide goods or services or to pay employees.  One by one, businesses, nonprofits, and finally government agencies simply shut their doors because there is nothing left to do, and no money left to spend.  We would expect that the critical utility infrastructure underlying the normal function of Anytown is kept operating at any cost- whether this is by the local government or through intervention by state or federal authorities.  At least for the time being, electricity, water, and sewage keep flowing.

This phase ends with a basic collapse of economic activity, where it is no longer possible to go to the bank and get money, or buy things in stores.  Paying bills becomes an anachronism.  All vestiges of the economy, all transactions, are now occurring in an informal way outside of traditional supply chains, which have ground to a halt.  This marks the transition to the next stage in Anytown's future.

Mid Term Projection: Sometime in the 2020s

As the financial and economic systems underlying society continue to erode, things in Anytown will reach a critical point where the problems are no longer about money, but about the very cohesiveness of civil society.  For some period of time, people will band together and support the central institutions of government such as city leaders, police officers, emergency managers, and locally stationed units of state and federal government.  However, as time progresses and it becomes clear that no help is coming from the outside, internal power conflicts will grow in intensity.

The basic rules of civilization, ie the ten commandments (about not killing, stealing, coveting, and all the rest), will progressively deteriorate as survival of individuals and families becomes uncertain.  Likely sources of violence during this period will be disagreements about distribution of resources.  Existing channels of power will attempt to keep control of that distribution to themselves, while increasingly desperate population groups will necessarily see that seizing control of that process provides the best chances of survival.  It is likely that the first new social divisions will be based on racial and ethnic identity: it seems natural that the black community will band together around a shared race and heritage.  Likewise with Hispanic and Asian communities.  Within the majority white community in Anytown, divisions will most likely occur along class and perhaps political lines.  Even within these default groups of similar backgrounds, divisions quickly develop as intra-group struggles for power and resources trump even clan identity.  Police forces may become divided between those who support the existing local power structure and those who choose to focus on what is best for their own particular race/class/clan interest.




Population is now falling rather than rising, as very few births take place, migration is sporadic, and death from violence and disease is rapidly on the rise.  Residential areas of town become half fortification, half ghost town as surviving residents barricade themselves in and attempt to maintain control over their belongings.  Commercial areas are looted and burned, serving no real purpose other than as battlegrounds in the increasingly violent efforts to secure territory.  Neighborhood groups erect makeshift fences and walls to keep out intruders, set up sentries and guard details.  With gasoline and diesel fuel no longer being delivered and distributed in the community, most travel takes place by foot or by bicycle.  Particularly successful (and probably ruthless) gangs will secure the last local fuel depots at abandoned gas stations, commercial and industrial facilities, and fleet yards.  Access to even limited motorized travel will only increase these groups ability to dominate other less fortunate groups and confiscate their resources.

It is during this stage that the utility infrastructure that makes modern civilization possible finally stops functioning.  As Anytown's society devolves into small groups fighting among one another, the blue and white collar workers who carry out the daily tasks to keep this infrastructure functioning stop going to work.  There are no longer paychecks to incentivize them, nor are there supply chains to provide resources to do the job.  There may be some period of time where central/federal military government attempts to operate core facilities like water and sewage treatment plants, hospitals, and electric distribution systems, but the demands of attempting this undertaking nationally will not be sustainable.  Finally, Anytown's fresh water stops flowing, the electricity goes off, sewage is no longer treated, and the last semblance of traditional governance disappears.  From here, Anytown progresses to it's final stage.

Long Term Projection: 2030 and Beyond

As national and state power structures dissolve, life in Anytown becomes about day-to-day survival rather than any expectation of a return to normalcy.  No central government with any power or authority remains.  Governance now takes the form of clan or gang affiliation, where groups of people attempt to control geographically defensible areas.  These might be individual neighborhoods or areas of town, or there may be a loose association of relationships between clans interacting at a city-wide level.  Population has fallen precipitously as disease, violence, starvation, and exposure take many more lives than are replaced by births.  Older people, people dependent on medical care and technology, and the disabled quickly perish as the last stores of medical supplies and resources are exhausted.  Without access to clean water, sanitation, and nutritious foods, disease is rampant and once established often fatal due to lack of antibiotics.  Infections once again become a likely death sentence.

Buildings all over town are damaged and decaying from small-scale warfare and neglect.  Repairing and maintaining buildings and infrastructure are low on the list of people's priorities, as they struggle day to day to survive.  Every building in town is picked over for anything that can be helpful to survival; open landfills created during the 2020's collapse period become resources for materials to build shelters, weapons, clothing, and tools.




By the time our planning horizon of 2040 arrives, Anytown will be unrecognizable from today's perspective.  Roadways left unmaintained have cracked open and deteriorated to gravel.  Climate change has tipped the weather into chaos, so that many native species of plants have died.  In their place, only the heartiest and most invasive species survive- attempting to swallow up disturbed and open ground.  If there are human survivors, they number no more than 10,000-20,000, about a 90% drop in population over the course of 20 years.  These wild creatures scavenge the desolate landscape, feeding off the remains of what was once civilization, growing whatever food they can, hunting the last remaining animals roaming the ruins (perhaps colonies of feral cats and dogs).  It would be unsurprising if cannibalism becomes a common occurrence, as remaining humans (citizens of Anytown) seek any possible way to meet their nutritional needs.  As the climate gets hotter, and food more scarce, more and more survivors abandon the town and set off to the north in a desperate effort to find more hospitable environments.  Anytown ceases to have an identity as a place of permanent habitation, becoming one more stop-off point on a mass migration of nomads in search of life-supporting ecosystem.

Next

In this post we have taken what we know about future global events, and applied them to the local conditions of Anytown.  It it clear that there are substantial risks and extremely negative outcomes that are likely.  Our task is now to identify potential alternatives that the citizens of Anytown might engage to mitigate some of the worst of these outcomes, adapt to changes that are inevitable, and build as much resilience as possible.

In the next post, we will assemble a list of possible alternatives.



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Musical Interlude: Home We'll Go





Don't let your head hang low
You've seen the darkest skies I know
Let your heart run child like horses in the wild
So take my hand and home we'll go
The sun it glows like gold
Feel it warm as a burning coal
Let your soul shine bright like diamonds in the sky
So take my hand and home we'll go
Home we'll go, home we'll go
Home we'll go, home we'll go
It's a long road but we're not alone
Together we stand and we're coming home
It's a long road but we're not alone
Together we stand and we're coming home
Don't let your head hang low
You've seen the darkest skies I know
Let your heart run child like horses in the wild
So take my hand and home we'll go
Home we'll go, home we'll go
Home we'll go, home we'll go
Home we'll go, home we'll go
Home we'll go, home we'll go

Friday, January 27, 2017

LPS 2: Inventory of Existing Conditions

In the first post of this series, we established a general outline of our study area:  Anytown, USA.  Anytown may not be exactly like your town, but it shares characteristics with many places in America.

For the purposes of plan development, we will inventory the general conditions of the built, natural, and social/economic environment of Anytown.  This will provide the base set of conditions from which we will project future scenarios, given what we know about the unfolding macro situation from the World Planning Series.

This post will be intentionally more graphic-heavy than most posts on this blog, in order to relay a highly visual and hopefully relatable narrative that describes the kind of place under discussion.

Housing

We'll begin at the starting point of all stationary and semi-stationary civilization: shelter for habitation of human families, or, "residential" development.  In Anytown the majority of housing stock is the detached, single family home, making up about 60% of total homes.  In itself, this does not necessarily presuppose a particular pattern of development; however, these housing units are developed in a manner that is primarily supported by and is supportive of automobile transportation.  The resulting suburban development pattern looks largely like this:

Is this really so different from  apartment life?

Of course, other housing types can easily be found, including about 20% apartments and condos, 15% duplex or townhomes, and 5% mobile or manufactured homes.  However, even most of these types of housing follow a similar overall pattern of development as the single family home.  Individual or shared front and rear yards contain boxlike buildings, generally following similar architectural styles within neighborhood areas, as determined by the decade of construction and the anticipated class of the inhabitants (or cost of the units).

A large portion of the total land area is taken up by rights-of-way, containing meandering roads wide enough to accommodate two passing vehicles plus parking on-street.  In many cases (especially in newer neighborhoods) there are also sidewalks, but the street is the dominant feature of the space.

Generally the units are about 2,000 square feet, smaller in older or lower income areas.  There are several bedrooms, large communal spaces for cooking, dining, and leisure.  The units have all the necessities of modernity including electricity from the grid, potable water on tap, and sewer service to carry it all away.

Commerce

Of course there are also considerable areas of commercial development, generally separated by some distance from the residential areas (especially the higher income residential areas).  These tend to be aggregated along the more major roadways that extend continuously across the city for long distances (arterial roadways).  The reason for this is that the majority of the citizens in Anytown travel by car, and they tend towards the most efficient route to their destination which results in large volumes of traffic along these key roadways.  Business operators have learned that placing their business directly on roadways with high traffic volumes provides maximum exposure to their customers and increases their chances of success.  These areas are the home to strip malls and big-box chain stores, which provide a majority of the goods and services needed and wanted on a daily basis for the average citizen.  As a result, many of the commercial areas in the city look like some version of this:
















The main exception to the strip-mall pattern of commercial development is in the city's downtown, which was platted in the 1800's and reflects a development pattern based on pedestrian scale transportation rather than automobile scale transportation.  Buildings are compact and close together, with a mix of uses including retail and offices on the ground floor, and various mixes of office and even housing in stories above.  Overall, the balance in downtown is in favor of commercial development, necessitating additional housing outside of the downtown core and resulting in a daily in-migration of workers and shoppers during the day and an exodus back to suburban houses in the evening.  For the most part, however, once people arrive in downtown in their automobiles they are able to get around by foot.

While suburban commercial areas include retailers and service providers that most people need access to on a daily basis, the types of commercial development that remain in downtown tend to be of a different mix.  The older more compact buildings in downtown tend to not be conducive to major chain stores, so locally owned and operated businesses tend to have a greater presence.  Because of the large number of office workers, there is a proliferation of dining and entertainment establishments.  While some core daily services like a small grocery, drug store, hardware store, and others are all present, the majority of the retail businesses tend to be boutique in nature, fitting specific niches like antiques, coffee shops, or apothecaries.  The walkable development pattern supports a pleasant urban environment that looks something like this:
Downtown Main Street Jacksonville, OR




















Supply Chains

Of course, whether talking about downtown or the suburbs, very few of the products being sold at any of the businesses actually come from the area.  Anytown is fed by a constant stream of truck and rail traffic delivering all of the goods being consumed by its citizens.  Highly perishable goods, like food, arrive and are sold or consumed within days or a few weeks of their arrival in town.  This means that at any given time, there is perhaps a week's supply of food and other products available from the last delivery.  This supply must constantly be replentished in order to keep products on the shelves of stores and food in the pantries of citizens.





















Transportation

By this point, we have already alluded to the various forms of transportation present in Anytown, simply due to the necessity of transportation to the normal operation of the local economy.  While the government of Anytown likes to pay lip service to being "multimodal", the reality is that one mode of transportation totally dominates all others: the car.

All day, every day, even late at night, there are automobiles cruising the streets from one place to the next.  Anytown is actually one of the more progressive cities in the US, with about 60% of its total commute trips being taken by a single person in a car.  Bicycles, for comparison, make up around 5% of commute trips, which is a very high rate for American cities.  The car is so embedded into the culture of Anytown that huge swaths of land are dedicated just to accommodating them both in travel as well as at their destination in the form of parking lots and garages.  Because it is assumed that everyone is travelling by car, the design of land uses is such that it is difficult to get between places by any other mode.  Even for short trips, it is easier to drive from one parking lot to another than undertake a potentially dangerous voyage by foot or pedal.



Of course, some people do travel by other modes.  One of these is public transportation, in the form of buses.  Long ago, streetcars traveled across Anytown, but as the use of cars expanded even public transportation came to consist of giant gas-powered cars.  The majority of the people using public transportation fall into two categories:  people who cannot drive for some reason (poverty, illness or disability, inability to obtain a driver's license), and students at the local university who use it as a shuttle service to campus.


Civic Infrastructure

In addition to the privately held assets of individuals (such as houses and commercial businesses), there are a number of assets held by public and nonprofit entities in the name of the entire public.  These pieces of civic infrastructure serve key functions such as putting out fires, maintaining law and order, dispensing justice, or providing medical care.  They include the public buildings where government workers toil such as City Hall and various office buildings.  They also include firehouses, vehicle and machine shops, and storage yards and warehouses for the development of public sector projects.  These facilities are generally kept operational by support from tax dollars, both locally as well as passed-down from state and federal government sources.




One piece of civic infrastructure worth mentioning explicitly is medical facilities.  This includes hospitals of course, but also a vast network of private and nonprofit facilities as well from private practice clinics to urgent care facilities to pharmacies.  All of these facilities are dependent upon easy access to energy, technology, and national supply chains.  They are also extensively used, as a very significant proportion of the population is reliant upon regular medical care and products.




Utility Infrastructure

Behind and often underneath all of these public and private facilities, there is a vast network of utility infrastructure feeding the buildings and streets so that they can function as we have come to expect.  Most people do not understand or recognize the importance of these facilities because they operate silently in the background.  However, if they ever stop functioning, people would notice very quickly.

Each building in Anytown has it's own internal system of plumbing for clean water and waste.  Outside of the building envelope, the local municipality owns and maintains a vast network of pipes which must be regularly inspected and cared for, and occasionally patched in the event of a break or leak.  The potable water is carried from large water purification plants, which draw water out of above-ground reservoirs and use a complex process of filters and chemicals to produce clean drinking water.  These facilities must be manned and supplied every day to keep the water safe and flowing.  At the other end are large wastewater treatment facilities.  Once again, these facilities use complex processes of chemicals, filters, and bacteria to break down contaminants enough to release the waste into the environment.  They must also be continually manned in order to ensure proper function.




In Anytown, the local municipality owns the electric distribution system via its own electric utility.  It does not generate its own electricity, except for a few small community solar gardens.  All of the electricity feeding the system is purchased from a local Power Authority, which owns generation plants for the entire region and then allocates the electricity to the member jurisdictions.  The vast majority of the electricity is provided by the burning of coal, although a small and growing percentage comes from utility scale solar and wind facilities.  For the most part, however, Anytown is involved in keeping up its distribution grid.  This requires regular ongoing maintenance on a daily basis, as well as the ability to respond quickly to outages and broken lines.




Human Resources

Lest we forget, all of these buildings and infrastructure exist for the purpose of housing, employing, and serving the human beings who occupy Anytown.  What are the characteristics of these people?  Clearly, they are not a homogeneous mass- but rather a wide spectrum.  While we won't go into details here, there is an active civic life in Anytown, including an abundance of arts and cultural activities.  The people of Anytown have a wide variety of past times and diversions to choose from, including local sports, recreational activities, theaters and museums.



By race, Anytown is about 70% white, 10% black, 15% Hispanic, and 5% other races.  Most people are in their productive adult years, with about 20% of the population under the age of 15 and about 15% over the age of 65.  The majority of the population falls squarely in the "middle class", with one or two wage earners allowing a typically American middle class lifestyle.  About 15% of the population is living at or below the poverty line, most of them chronically.  While the official unemployment rate is extremely low, a large but unspecified number of people are underemployed or have dropped out of the workforce and are reliant upon public assistance.  There is a noticeable homeless presence in the town, numbering over a thousand over the course of a year, or about a half a percent of the total population.

About a third of people are obese (physically limited in what they can do because of body weight), and more than 2/3 are at least "overweight".  15% of the population is dependent upon multiple maintenance medications, which they must take on a daily basis.  20% of people have some type of physical or mental handicap.

Natural Resources

Of course, before Anytown was even constructed there was the natural environment that defines Anytown's unique set of circumstances.  One of the major industries in the surrounding area is oil and gas.  Outside of City limits, it is possible to find rigs operating and new wells being dug.  These resources are far under the ground and require sophisticated techniques and technology to locate and extract; however, there are a number of wells already in operation that automatically and continuously pump oil and natural gas out of the ground and into pipelines.




Not too far from the population of Anytown, it is possible to see a much more natural environment with relatively little disturbance by humans.  Within an hour's drive, there are federally protected lands held by the forest service.  These lands are open to only limited development (for example, for oil and gas by permit only), and other uses by citizens such as hunting and other recreational activities.  Compared to the valley floor where Anytown lies, these forests seem fairly pristine and remote; however, there is an extensive network of forest roads and regular presence of humans in the area for various purposes


File:Gallatin National Forest.jpg

Agriculture

Where humans on the outside edges of Anytown have attempted to tame and exploit the land under their feet, the result is agriculture.  It used to be that the agricultural area surrounding Anytown provided all of the food needed by the citizens.  Now the food distribution system is consolidated and globalized, so locally grown produce and animal products are consolidated at regional facilities and then distributed across the country.


Agricultural practices follow the general procedures described in the World Planning Series Inventory of Existing Conditions, so we won't expand too much upon them here.  Because of the prevalence of cattle around Anytown, there are more independent and semi-independent land owners than in many other places, who simply sell their product to corporations but still own the ranch property.  For a large part of the cattle's lives, they roam across the prairie as they have for hundreds of years.  It isn't until they are finished at feedlots and shipped to commercial butchering facilities that the process becomes distinctly industrial.  Most vegetable production follows a strictly industrial process, with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, airplane sprayers, and massive diesel-powered equipment.

And then there are some small-scale agriculturalists, generally on smaller acreages from 5-20 acres, who fill a specific niche for boutique agricultural products.  These are often organic or near-organic, and include both family farms as well as Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and community gardens.  These are a very small part of the total agricultural community, however.


Next

While there are certainly other details we could delve into, the above categories should provide the reader with a fairly understandable mental map of Anytown.  Many of these characteristics should seem familiar, because they are deeply embedded in the dominant culture.

Overall, Anytown is a fine place to live.  It offers many amenities, diverse activities, a beautiful natural landscape, and a wide assortment of people to find things in common with.  While it may be somewhat average among other similar American cities, the reality is that  Anytown boasts a quality of life higher than just about anywhere, at any time past or present.  It truly is the beneficiary of a global empire, built upon the energy produced by fossil fuels.

In the next post, we will take what we know about events unfolding at the global level, and use this information to project future conditions for Anytown.