Here’s an interesting fact: the number of trees in an urban or suburban community is tightly correlated to its level of wealth. More trees, more wealth.
Specifically, research that looked at 210 global cities, found that with every 1 percent increase in wealth, there is a 1.74 percent increase in demand for tree cover (thanks to Tim De Chant). This correlation is universal and global. It holds constant between neighborhoods in the same city and between cities in different parts of the world.
Here are two pictures for comparison (here are more if you are interested). This one from Rio de Janeiro’s Rocinha Brazil (it is poor, note the lack of tree cover).
The other over West Cambridge, Massachusetts US (it’s rich, note how many trees it has).
So, why do areas with more wealth have more trees? People see trees as a luxury item. A luxury item uses up scarce space but provides improved air quality, lower temperatures, improved views, increased privacy, and reduced stress.
So how is this tidbit useful to us?
It’s a good way to visualize what the future of wealth and success will look like in an age of turbulence.
A Predictor of Resilient Wealth
So, let’s jet 20 years into the future, what would we see? We would see something much different from we do today.
We would see that wealth tightly correlates with the number of visible:
- Gardens (permaculture gardens would include layers of productive trees and bushes)
- Solar energy installs (electric and thermal)
- Rainwater harvesting systems and many new systems we are just starting to build
In short, what we would be looking for, are signs that the community is productive and independent rather than needy and dependent.
Why? Communities that are productive in this way will be wealth building instead of wealth depleting. They would also be nearly immune to a rising crescendo of global disruptions. Disruptions that will prove increasingly effective at catastrophically depleting wealth.
One final note. A community that is as productive as this will not only have increased wealth and success, it will also be a better place to live due to improved air quality, lower temperatures, improved views, increased privacy, and reduced stress (the same reasons the wealthy currently demand trees).
Your confident that our homes will be seen in future satellite photos of successful communities analyst,
PS: Here’s something to think about. Being productive will increasingly mean squeezing every last joule of energy from the solar energy that falls on your home and yard. For example, in the case of gardens, the mechanism of solar utilization is photosynthesis. However, all plants can quickly reach solar saturation (the point where they max out their use of solar energy for the day) very early on a sunny day. This means that most of the sunlight that falls on the spot a saturated plant occupies will be lost. The solution? Layers. Place other crops and solar eating systems in layers above and below, to soak up every joule of solar energy throughout the entire day.