Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Coherence is Intelligence

Dealing with the many aspects of climate change and at the same time drastically reducing carbon emissions into the biosphere may seem absolutely daunting. It has certainly eclipsed the ability of the global community to agree on carbon reduction strategies, particularly the Contraction and Convergence model that is necessarily an appropriate course.

Yet, the momentum is building to not only use technology to produce clean energy, but also a shift in the way that human habitation systems are built as well as how they are integrated into coherent systems. This kind of intelligence creates a synergy (greater than the sum of its parts) from interlinked hubs. There are many kinds of linked systems - nature is the biggest one - but in our built habitat there are many of them, such as: watershed, dams and pumps of the water companies; regional and local transportation systems; and in particular, distributed power systems known as "smart grid" infrastructure. An excellent example of this kind of infrastructure development is found in Denmark.

The flexibility of this kind of an approach allows the system to shift and respond to environmental conditions as well as document it over time. This reduces the demand, consumption and waste that are found in static transported utilites, in much the same way that computer systems have increased in power and miniaturized in accordance with Moore's Law. This kind of coherence, thus intelligence, is key to implementing the many strategies that are available right now to reduce our human demand on global resources. While many things can be undertaken immediately to address local climate issues, it's necessary to integrate these strategies into a coherent whole. The potential climate agreement by the global community will necessarily impact a tremendous number of human systems, as I've outlined here.

But it's the only way forward for the common survival of our living systems.