Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

HOMES, Solving the Real Estate Crisis

First, let people stay in their homes. It's a nice thing to do. Those investors who loaned them more than they should are obliged to foreclose. But let the people stay in their homes while the mortgager looses most of the value. The government's Housing and Urban Development, HUD, then steps in to buy the house for a very low rate and rents it to the resident, who has lost all equity. Calculating these amounts is a task for which our well trained and experienced real estate personnel can easily manage.

Most homes are not a sustainable environment, either economically or ecologically. The vast suburbs have negative productive value and can no longer be supported by the influx of wealth from the productive `developing' world. Many suburbs are already emptying out, yet, they need not be abandoned to the weeds. Suburbs, and most other residential areas, can be converted to sustainable living.

The suburbs, for example, can be made into communities with the addition of neighborhood shared facilities. Life will be secure, invigorated and enriched with nearby shopping, schools, health centers, and whatever the ingenious indigenous populace decides. [Tanya Rose, on Concord CA `Clustered Villages']

Anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists understand that humans evolved, and are most adapted to, a complex of extended family, clan and tribal groupings. The new neighborhoods will unconsciously reconstruct quasi- family, clan and tribal groups, even without the genetic connections of earlier eras. Modern technology provides an easy and economical as well as ecological support for the new communities.

Imagine what would happen. Lawns and gardens gradually convert to mini farms. Old folks and children work and play with the rest. Mental attention turns toward productive and creative shared activities and away from the self obsessed psychopathologies we see growling like cancers in our society.

Much of the funny money that lead to the crisis went to build gorgeous multi-million dollar estates. Not only are these a terrible waste, they are also unsustainable. But they can be converted to sustainability. I recall a lovely bathroom in Alamo. I commented to the Realtor that this bathroom could support a family from Vietnam or Haiti in luxury. It has plenty of room to play. The kids could jump in the hot tub. The shower could be used to dress the local deer. The entire extended family could enjoy the rest of the house. The grounds could easily produce most of the food, especially since those people are already able to produce and create.

Those few lonely alcoholics who occupy the place, when they are not vacationing, deserve the utmost respect and care. They might move to healthier accommodations, such as their local country club. There they could devote themselves to converting the vast golf courses into lovely organic natural or agricultural environments, with the help and guidance of the current staff. Those few residents who were healthy enough might remain in their homes and bask in the richness of organic quasi family life, from which they have so long been deprived.

Flying from a conference on sustainable development in China last August, I noticed homes with elaborately tended gardens and small ponds. It seems that the Chinese eat more fish than chicken now, because fish convert the scraps into protein more efficiently than chickens, since they need not fight gravity. So each plot has a small pond elaborately tended to grow a variety of carp and other fish. Similarly, as I approached Los Angeles, the view was almost the same. Homes with elaborately tended gardens and small ponds. The only difference being that in China the ponds were green, whereas in Los Angeles the ponds were blue.

BAIL OUT may delay the collapse of the economy and the run on the dollar until the middle of 2009. The new Obama administration may smooth the transition toward sustainable economy and ecology. He has the omnipotent financial community to contend with, but he may possibly save the day, or part of it. But this problem needs much more attention than it is getting, even from his most brilliant staff. Let's help him.

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