Will we build the roads and bridges of the future?

Although our national infrastructure is in desperate need of an update, scientists warn that more building isn't always better.

According to a recent letter signed by the world's leading farmers, environmentalists, philanthropists, and scientists, the large infrastructure projects planned in the next 15 years could have a disastrous effect on our planet.

The letter explains that while it's vital to update the world's roads, bridges, and ports, “trillions of dollars spend in pursuit of typical mega-projects in the energy, transportation, agriculture, and water sectors could put in place infrastructure that eliminates wildlife habitat, destroys fisheries, undermines vital ecosystems, and further destabilizes the Earth's climate.”

In other words, it's not only important that we replace our crumbling infrastructure, it's important that we do so in a way that protects our planet. And, many of the infrastructure updates announced by the G20 aren't going to meet that requirement.

William Lawrence of Australia's James Cook University broke down this problem in a recent edition of the journal “Current Biology.” He said that there are specific issues that must be addressed when we plan the infrastructure of the future.

Those issues include making banks include the suggestions of social and environmental experts in their infrastructure investments, keeping wilderness areas free of roads that divide ecosystems, and considering the “secondary effects” in environmental impact assessments.

By considering aspects like these when planning infrastructure projects, we can build the airports, roads, and bridges of the future, while ensuring that there is a future for our species as well.

We have the technology, the know-how, and the ability to remake our infrastructure with these goals in mind. The only questions left is whether we have the will to make it happen.


dianhow 7 years 37 weeks ago

Sadly Thom US gov't seems NOT to have the will to do much for we the people I paid my IRS bill IN FULL 2 months ago.. However IRS is still dunning me for MORE cash + Penalty !! Multiple calls get different answers. I am 72 lower income and have been caring for m y daughter & grand child since my daughter had a serious stroke. She recently was able to get a low paying part time JOB - but still on Disability . When I call IRS Their message says' We are experiencing higher than normal call volumn '! NO wonder Many people must be trying to work out mistakes that were made. Worse in jan 2009 GOP anti middle class pro wealth Congress swore ' do all they could to make Obama fail - Cause his Waterloo ' That is vile & anti American ... I will never vote GOP again as long as these crooks are in office. ps I voted for Obama twice. McCain / Palen were incompetent .

John Pranke's picture
John Pranke 7 years 37 weeks ago

Until Bernie gets elected it's a nice dream. While we're dreaming we can think about changing the focus of our transportation infrastructure to more efficient mass transit, pedestrian, and my favorite bicycle.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 37 weeks ago

We're dead meat.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 36 weeks ago

Mark S -- Do you think our dead meat will be usable by some species like cockroaches.

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