The expansion of the human race as a technological society is tied to our contraction on all scales. This is a paradox. Here is how it works: True Resource Efficiency is an operational model that accomplishes more with less. This satisfies the paradox. By doing more with less, the model reduces burdens and enables a society to focus on advances in culture and technology. As a sustainable society emerges it becomes less wasteful.
The model contains nine core concepts:
1) Keep the supply line short and direct.
2) Keep production facilities close to resources and consuming market.
3) Use only renewable energy.
4) Use only recyclable and durable materials.
5) Reduce material use to a minimum.
6) Ensure all wastes are reused, recycled or biodegraded back to natural systems.
7) Ensure packaging is kept to a minimum.
8) Reduce all unnecessary mechanical tasks and human labor.
9) Reduce number of distribution channels a product must travel through from production to end use.
The aim of the model is to conserve energy, time, labor, and material resources while improving quality and standard of living. The model of True Resource Efficiency is a closed loop system.
The model seeks an accurate measure of operations. For example, some jobs that are labor intensive help conserve energy and resources, however, some labor intensive jobs actually use more energy and resources. In fact, some jobs can be more labor intensive than needed because of improper operational procedures. The object of the Model is to reduce both human labor inputs as well as energy and material inputs.
The Local/Regional Trade Model or relocalization is a perfect example of many of the concepts. Using concept one: Keep the supply line short and direct. This determines the average distance a product must travel from production to end use. For example, the average distance a food product in the U.S. travels is 1500 miles(2400 km) from farm to table. If you reduce it to 150 miles(240 km) then it is ten times more efficient. If you reduce it to 15 miles(24 km) then it is 100 times more efficient. If you reduce it to 1.5 miles(2.4 km) then it is 1000 times more efficient. This concept alone:
1) Uses less fuel for transport.
2) Uses less mechanical effort.
3) Uses less human labor.
4) Uses less energy for refrigeration.
5) Creates less pollution.
The Local/Regional Trade Model Measurements:
Local is defined as something produced and used within 25 miles(40 km).
Regional is produced and used within 100 miles(160 km).
Secondary Region is something produced and used within 250 miles (400 km).
Perimeter Region is something produced and used within 500 miles (800 km). Most things can be produced at the local and regional level, however, some products may need to come from the secondary or perimeter region. Anything beyond the perimeter region is not really sustainable and should only be reserved for emergency supplies or products that are not consumed very often.
The easiest way to determine your local to perimeter trade area is simply to measure the distance on a map using a compass and the map scale in miles or kilometers. Considerations must be made for topographical features.