Sustainability: The Water and Energy Problem, and the Natural Design Solution
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© 2015 Academia Europaea. People like to say that energy and water are two problems, two vital commodities in short supply. Here I draw attention to the emerging literature and physics principle (constructal law) that provide the scientific foundation for sustainability. I show that the sustainability need is about flow: the flow of energy and the flow of water through the inhabited space. All the flows needed for human life (transportation, heating, cooling, water) are driven by the purposeful consumption of fuels. This is why the wealth of a country (the GDP) is directly proportional to the annual consumption of fuel in that country. This hierarchical organization happens; it is natural and efficient. Sustainability is the one-word need that covers all the specific needs. Sustainability comes from greater freedom in changing the organization-the flow architecture-that sustains life. Greater freedom to change the design (from water and power to laws and government) leads to greater flow, wealth, life and staying power, i.e. sustainability.