Although many of us feel we can prepare for our future by thinking, acting, and learning using present methods and values, nothing is farther from the truth – especially in today’s rapidly changing world. A newborn child enters a world not of his or her own making. Each succeeding generation inherits the values, accomplishments, hopes, successes, and failings of previous generations. And they inherit the results of the decisions made by those generations.
For the hundreds of thousands of years of human existence when technologies were simple or non-existent, this may have had little impact on human life and the earth that sustains it. Each generation of hunters and gatherers, then plowmen and pioneers, passed on tools to the next generation to help them survive. Change from one generation to the next was slow and hardly noticeable. In those days there was little understanding of science and how things worked, and explanations were not scientific.
This is no longer the case in today’s high-tech world where a change that affects millions may happen in a matter of seconds. A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of its parent’s generation, let alone that from centuries ago. Previous generations left a legacy of, exploitation, occupation, and irrelevant values that present great challenges, but also opportunities to the people of today.
The application of scientific principles, for better or worse, accounts for every single advance that has improved people’s lives. Important documents and proclamations have been issued granting rights and privileges to members of societies, but at the heart of human progress – or destruction – is the rock-solid foundation of science.
For generations past it was impossible to direct the future much beyond the present moment, and forecasts of the future were based on non- scientific methods. Prophets and sages presented visions of the future based on dreams, hallucinations, religious fervor, divination of animal parts, crystal balls, etc. Some may even have been accurate, but this was more because of luck than because of any direct channel to the supernatural.
This global consciousness inspires space travellers who then provide emotional and spiritual observations. Their views from outer space awaken them to a grand realization that all who share our planet make up a single community. They think this viewpoint will help unite the nations of the world in order to build a peaceful future for the present generation and the ones that follow.
Many poets, philosophers, and writers have criticized the artificial borders that separate people preoccupied with the notion of nationhood. Despite the visions and hopes of astronauts, poets, writers, and visionaries, the reality is that nations are continuously at war with one another, and poverty and hunger prevail in many places throughout the world, including the United States.
So far, no astronaut arriving back on Earth with this new social consciousness has pro- posed to transcend the world's limitations with a world where no national boundaries exist. Each remains loyal to his/her particular nation-state, and doesn’t venture beyond patriotism - "my country, right or wrong" – because doing so may risk their positions.
Most problems we face in the world today are of our own making. We must accept that the future depends upon us. Interventions by mythical or divine characters in white robes descending from the clouds, or by visitors from other worlds, are illusions that cannot solve the problems of our modern world. The future of the world is our responsibility and depends upon decisions we make today. We are our own salvation or damnation. The shape and solutions of the future depend totally on the collective effort of all people working together.
You will see this society through the eyes of Scott and Hella, a couple of the next century. Their living quarters are equipped with a cybernator, a seemingly magical computer device, but one that is based on scientific principles now known. It regulates sleeping hours, communications throughout the world, an incredible underwater living complex, and even the daily caloric intake of the “young” couple. (They are in their forties but can expect to live 200 years.)
The world that Scott and Hella live in is a world that has achieved full weather control, has developed a finger-sized computer that is implanted in the brain of every baby at birth (and the babies are scientifically incubated—the women of the twenty-first century need not go through the pains of childbirth), and that has perfected genetic manipulation that allows the human race to be improved by means of science.
Economically, the world is Utopian by our standards. Jobs, wages, and money have long since been phased out. Nothing has a price tag, and personal possessions are not needed. Nationalism has been surpassed, and total disarmament has been achieved; educational technology has made schools and teachers obsolete. The children learn by doing, and are independent in this friendly world by the time they are five.
The chief source of this greater society is the Correlation Center, “Corcen,” a gigantic complex of computers that serves but never enslaves mankind. Corcen regulates production, communication, transportation and all other burdensome and monotonous tasks of the past. This frees men and women to achieve creative challenging experiences rather than empty lives of meaningless leisure.
Obviously this book is speculative, but it is soundly based upon scientific developments that are now known. And as the authors state:
“You will understand this book best if you are one who sees today only as a stepping stone between yesterday and tomorrow. You will need a sensitivity to the injustices, lost opportunities for happiness, and searing conflicts that characterize our twentieth-century civilization. If your mind can weigh new ideas and evaluate them with insight, this book is for you.
“We have no crystal ball. ... We want you to feed our ideas into your own computer, so that you can find even better ideas that may play a part in molding the future of our civilization.”
Earthbag Building is the first comprehensive guide to all the tools, tricks, and techniques for building with bags filled with earth—or earthbags. Having been introduced to sandbag construction by the renowned Nader Khalili in 1993, the authors developed this "Flexible Form Rammed Earth Technique" over the last decade. A reliable method for constructing homes, outbuildings, garden walls and much more, this enduring, tree-free architecture can also be used to create arched and domed structures of great beauty—in any region, and at home, in developing countries, or in emergency relief work.
This profusely illustrated guide first discusses the many merits of earthbag construction, and then leads the reader through the key elements of an earthbag building:
Special design considerations
Foundations, walls and floors
Electrical, plumbing and shelving
Lintels, windows and door installations
Roofs, arches and domes
Exterior and interior plasters.
With dedicated sections on costs, making your own specialized tools, and building code considerations, as well as a complete resources guide, Earthbag Building is the long-awaited, definitive guide to this uniquely pleasing construction style.
Kaki Hunter and Donald Kiffmeyer have been involved in the construction industry for the last 20 years, specializing in affordable, low-tech, low-impact building methods that are as natural as possible. They developed the "Flexible Form Rammed Earth Technique" of building affordably with earthbags and have taught the subject and contributed their expertise to several books and journals on natural building.