Forget Moore’s Law, biological multiplication is the future.

Moore’s law, that the transistor density (and hence computing power) of computer circuit boards would double every 2 years, is testament to the human ability to innovate and improve on systems when given access to limitless capital and the R&D budgets of nations or the US Department of defense.

Sadly, now that I find myself wishing to harness that kind of growth to environmental endeavors I find that I don’t have access to limitless capital. The limits of my capital are very close at hand, being just under my bloodless fingernails as I hold on to it for dear life. Neither am I able to loot a government funded R&D program for patents and copyrights, taking something paid for in the public domain to benefit my purely private interests. I am not one of the privileged few, neither do I think of myself as a selfish bastard. I may not have much but I have the comfort of having principles.

I also have vision, which is useful when you find yourself in a position of having to rely on your wits rather than on your father’s money or a dog eat dog mentality.

However Moore’s law is not the ultimate in growth models. Biological replication in the presence of the materials for growth beats it to a pulp. Think of the times you’ve heard that if one bug, or a few spores of fungi were allowed to replicate without constraint how the planet would double in size, or we’d be living in an atmosphere of yeast thousands of feet thick. Now that’s growth and it’s not in cyberspace either. We can touch the results, eat the results, and spread it like a virus.

As an aside keep in mind some viruses are actually beneficial. Indeed the Russians had a whole science of using viruses (bacteriophages: see to cure diseases before the West looted their nation like modern day Crusaders melting down the gold of Constantinople.

Now consider the first ‘rooftop ecology’.

It’s a seed germinating in an empty landscape. Just watch Matt Damon running across miles and miles of bare sunbleached empty roofs of Tangiers in the Bourne Ultimatum. I could do the same here in Tokyo the buildings are so close together (if I were ten years younger and had a stunt double). And most of the roofs are flat, if they weren’t they wouldn’t have anywhere to put their AC units.

That empty landscape is overflowing with nutrients. Half of all US food is in fact wasted in some form or another, the paper and cardboard flows are likewise immense. For the people who have to keep the cities clean finding somewhere to put it is the problem.

We are living in a fool’s paradise.

Of course to put in place the growing environment on roofs requires skilled human intervention. It’s all there, like a jigsaw puzzle missing one piece. You can see what it will be but its not there yet.

At Rooftop Ecology we are standing above the puzzle with the missing piece. Now all we need is a roof.

Carolyn Steel talking about how food shapes cities.

Here is Carolyn Steel talking about how food shaped cities and about how food can reshape cities so that they are ready for the future.