Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Fifty-Four

54. Abandon the north.

I'm not trying to insult Canada here, or Iceland, or any other countries that lie north of, let's say, 37 degrees latitude. So don't take it personally, people and countries who live in the frigid climes north of that line; you're going to have to move.

What's gained by living in the cold? What's gained by living
in areas that have temperatures that reach to minus eighty degrees? (And don't think that's a temperature reserved only for the Arctic circle. In Wisconsin, more than half the winters have temperatures of minus forty or more. Sometimes, it gets below freezing in the summer.)

What do we get out of that? Cold feet, frostbite, more illnesses, and a general downturn of disposition that makes people grumpier and less happy in th
e winter. There's less light, less warmth, nobody can go outside... and that leads to people being miserable and out of shape.

If you're not sold on the personal benefits of just giving up living in the north, think about the economics of it: If governments just said "Okay, everybody, that's it. Pack up and let's relocate south," think how much money would be saved on everything from snow plowing to heating oil. One storm this year cost the City of Madison as much as $700,000, or almost $3 per person. For one storm. Everyone gripes about the surcharge for 3d glass
es to see Avatar, but nobody says it costs me $3 everytime it snows. And, fifty percent of all the money Wisconsinites spend on energy goes towards home heating. Fifty percent. I can go around shutting off every electrical gadget in the house, I can make sure the kids take cold showers lasting only one minute, I can cook over campfire -- and it won't make a dent in my energy costs.

That energy has to come from somewhere, and right now it's coming primarily from oil, making the U.S. vulnerable and dependent on foreign countries.

It's not like there's not enough room to move everyone a little southerly. There's 308,471, 793 people in the U.S. right this moment, according to the population clock. The U.S. has 3,537,441
square miles of land, so there's a population density right now of 87 people per square mile. (That map at the top shows the population density as its distributed right now.)

If I assume that moving everyone below the 37th parallel cuts the size of the US to 40% (because it removes Alaska), and if I include the population of Canada (we could give them their own state), adding 33,311,389 people to the equation, there's 1,414,976 of land to absorb 341,783,182 people, for a density of 241 people per square mile. (A square mile has 27,878,400 square feet in it, so tripling the density, as we would, means that you'd only get 115,678 square feet to yourself.)

We wouldn't have to give up on the cropland or anything, either: people could just live in the warm areas, and during the summer (which lasts about 30 minutes up north) people could travel north to stay on vacation, or farm, or do whatever it is people do when they travel from one region to another.

Birds do this already: they get the heck out of the cold for the winter. Are we not as smart as birds?

Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.


lisapepin said...

And here I thought I was the only one who thought this was a good idea! Your blog needs a "like" button, so I can click on it.

Renée said...

the ideas you have here are great. i wish many other people would see it that way..- :)