Sunday, August 9, 2009


A Proposal for the next OCP Process (Official Community Plan)

The development boosters on Quadra Island always insist that “growth will occur”, and given that self-fulfilling prophecy it is imperative that we “plan” for it. That is what “planning” is to the Growth Management Industry after all. Not a decision to establish an optimal population level and take pro-active measures to achieve it, but rather pander to projected trends, which line so many pockets while picking everyone else’s.
I would therefore like to explore the maximum possible population size on Quadra, given these perennial calls for more growth.

The surface area of Quadra Island is apparently approximately 310 square kilometres, or approximately 120 square miles.

Using a rough approximation that every person is six feet tall by two feet wide, this means that each person takes up approximately 12 square feet when lying down (which is certainly what most of our politicians do when developers call). Thus, the simple calculation 120 times 5280 times 5280 divided by 12 says that the area of Quadra Island can accommodate approximately 278,784,000 people. Naturally the forest cover would have to mowed down, but only misanthropes would prefer trees to more human beings, Ronald Reagan was right about that.

Clearly, we have room for many more people on Quadra if we follow the logic of smart growth ideology and carry density to its natural conclusion.

But why stop there?

Given that the air is breathable up to approximately 16,000 feet, and that Quadra is quite close to sea level, this gives a column of, say, 15,000 feet in which to stack people. Most of us are in a fog anyway, so the transition to this lifestyle would not be so shocking, and shoving more and more people into dense urban feedlots and stacking them up in towers lowers their hoof-print, according to green gospel. With 200,000 people born each day and 80 million each year, it is clear that we must keep moving over into tighter and tighter space. The alternative would be to stop growing and that is unthinkable.

Using the idea that each person is approximately one-foot thick (although smart growth advocates and some politicians seem to be thicker than most), we can multiply the earlier figure by 15,000 to reach the conclusion that Quadra can accommodate approximately 4,181,760,000,000 people – more if we drain the lakes and firm up the empty cavities with cement and rebar. To appease aesthetic sensibilities, we can then coat the pavement with green paint, as do governments and corporations with their policy pronouncements. Our project manager, the former Governor of Alaska, could redecorate our clear-cuts with the necessary woman’s touch, and I know she would take out the displaced wildlife.
Now someone with insight and imagination, not plugged into Sierra Group Think, might object that land area does not define carrying capacity. Food and water supplies could be imported and waste products disposed of to service these trillions of new residents. No problem. Oil-based transportation will last forever and besides, meat consumers and vegans can become “breatharians” and imbibe all essential nutrients by inhaling them from the atmosphere without anything coming out the other end.
And while there are indeed many socially maladjusted islanders who would find this kind of density claustrophobic, they can be rendered catatonic by the constant mantric repetition of growthist buzzwords through loudspeakers. “We are diverse, vibrant, and inclusive”, “We are diverse, vibrant and inclusive”, on and on. Ever see “Night of the Living Dead”? Or was it another sci-fi horror flick? No matter, you get the picture. We have potential. In fact the island already abounds with Borg Units acting on the command of CBC Toronto Brain Dead Central (CBC BDC). For many it is too terrifying to be left alone to think for themselves, the company of trillions of think-a-likes would seem so comforting.
I think it would be wise to purchase air on spec right now, if not for you, then for your children----before the masses realize that this is a once-in-a-life time buying opportunity, and Albertan and Californian speculators swarm over us. Quick, give me a real estate license.

I have tried to be conservative in this estimate in order to keep it at least as credible as the daily claims from growth advocates that what we are doing is sustainable and desirable, and has no negative painful consequences.

The last thing I wish to do is to promulgate the idea that growth smarts.

Garrett Hardin said that overpopulation, like potholes, is a local problem. And global population is really the sum total of two million local problems. But if the preceding proposal was enacted, there is no problem. If it can be solved at the level of my community, it can be solved everywhere else. We can grow the limits. The Sky is the Limit. Let’s apply this principle to the state of Victoria. Since Canada and Australia are both metric, a form of thinking still shocking to my aged brain structure, I enlisted mathematician Rick Shea of Salmon Arm, BC, to do the calculations. Here goes:
Land Use Description Total Extent ('000 ha) Total Extent (%)
No Data 28.4 .1
Nature conservation 3446.7 15.2
Other protected areas 108.4 .5
Minimal use 896.7 3.9
Livestock grazing 6629.3 29.2
Forestry 3849.5 16.9
Dryland agriculture 6616.9 29.1
Irrigated agriculture 619 2.7
Built environment 449.3 2
Waterbodies 81.5 .4


It is clear that the only important criterion is the number of people we can accommodate. Consequently, the lakes and natural areas are unnecessary, and we should optimize the available land area. If we completely level the land (using it to fill in part of the ocean would of course provide more room for more people) and take it down to sea level, here are the calculations:

Assume conservatively that each person is roughly 1.8 metres tall by .7 metres wide, giving an area of approximately 1.26 square metres, or approximately .00000126 square kilometers. Using 220,000 square kilometers as the approximate area of Victoria, and assuming that people are lying down side-by-side and end-to-end, this gives space for a layer of approximately 174,603,174,603 people. Even in a single layer, we can accommodate almost 25 times the present population of the entire planet. But the sky IS the limit. If we stack people up to the limits of the breathable atmosphere (say about 5.200 kilometres), and if we assume that each person is approximately 30 centimeters thick while lying down (or approximately .0003 kilometres) then we have space for approximately 17,333 layers. Multiply 17,333 by 174,603,174,603 and VOILA! Victoria can support approximately 3,026,396,825,393,799 people! That's well over three quadrillion. More if you accept the implications of the "Squish Theorem."

So much for the whining Chicken Littles who say we're overpopulated.
So there you have it. You ain’t seen nothing yet Victoria! I believe that GAPS analysis (Global Atmospheric People-Stacking Analysis) will soon supersede the Global Footprinting Analysis. It is an analytical tool expedient to those of us who believe in “progress”.

Willy B. Rees-nable and Matt I.S. Wackernuttal
Global Atmospheric People-Stacking Network (GAPS Network)
Press Officer: Tim Murray

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