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Stats and Sustainability

December 2, 2012

self sufficiency“Is it possible for the Deseret Region to become self sufficient?” This is one question encountered when discussing the topic of self sufficiency. What is being asked is if there is enough land and resources for the Deseret Region to be able to support the population of people living here. Answering this question is actually a lot more complex than it seems. The problem is that there are so many variables. You have to really be able to look at everything as a whole.

One of the key pieces in determining if the Deseret Region is sustainable is to determine how much land it takes to support a single human. Once you can find this out it is simple mathematics. You multiply the population be the land required for one person. Then if that number is smaller than the total land area of the Deseret Region then you have enough land to support all the people.

So how much land does it take for one human to survive? This is where it gets complex because it will vary depending on diet and techniques used to attain self sufficiency. For example it takes more land for a carnivorous diet, because the animals need land to survive on. It takes less land to grow plants for human consumption. The variety of techniques for sustainability will vary for waste disposal, energy production, water use, etc. Each of the possible variations of each of these techniques will require a different amount of land.

From the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The minimum amount of agricultural land necessary for sustainable food security, with a diversified diet similar to those of North America and Western Europe (hence including meat), is 0.5 of a hectare per person. This does not allow for any land degradation such as soil erosion, and it assumes adequate water supplies. Very few populous countries have more than an average of 0.25 of a hectare. It is realistic to suppose that the absolute minimum of arable land to support one person is a mere 0.07 of a hectare–and this assumes a largely vegetarian diet, no land degradation or water shortages, virtually no post-harvest waste, and farmers who know precisely when and how to plant, fertilize, irrigate, etc. [FAO, 1993]

Half of a hectare is about 1.2 acres. Other numbers suggest that it takes from 24 to 12 acres. The reason for the difference in numbers is because there are so many variables. Taking these numbers, and knowing that one square mile is 640 acres we can say that one square mile can sustain anywhere from 26 to 533 people. So using these numbers we can get a very general idea is sustainability is even possible.

Now lets examine the stats of the Deseret Region. The population of the Deseret Region is approximately 36,863,232. The total land area(not including water) is approximately 539,981 square miles. Now lets divide the population by the square mileage. That gives us about 68 people per square mile. This translates into nine acres for each person. This is within the above estimations.

However not all lands is available for use in sustaining humans. We have places such as State and National Parks We have military bases and public lands. So even if we cut the land per person by four it still leaves us with 2.25 acres for each person for sustainability.

According to these very rudimentary calculations a self sufficient Deseret Region is within the realm of possibility. Now we need to start working to organize and build the Deseret Region.


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