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Major issues Tuesday, May 17, 2011 10:48 AM (permalink)
In preparation for the Grand Island conversations please post the issues you believe of most importance concerning land use over the next 20 years.  

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    Re:Major issues Friday, May 20, 2011 3:28 PM (permalink)
    “In preparation for the Grand Island conversations please post the issues you believe of most importance concerning land use over the next 20 years.”
    I think rising food prices caused by a host of factors along with a change in drought patterning will force some changes to land use in Nebraska. If we assume that the projections that climate scientists are making now materialize into significant, tangible environmental change (as many indicators show is starting to happen) over the next 15 years, it will force us to make big adjustments in our daily life, work, and business. Of course groups that governmental leadership should be concerned about as this happens are the ones that are most vulnerable, impacted the most, and are the least able to adapt to a different mode of daily activity whether those groups are small communities or large cities. 
    The problem is that climate change effects like pin-pointing what geographic areas will be affected and exactly how is a little out of our reach. We can say with some certainty that semi-arid places may become more drought-prone but North America may be spared some of the harsher effects from a warming climate if we are talking about the entire nation. Nebraska I would guess might be a little drier which would affect our water table. Rivers and the aquifer are connected so as the water table dries some streams and rivers may go dry for a significant part of the year. The blessing and curse is that the aquifer feeds us. We might lose some surface water but as long as the aquifer is still there we will exploit it for agricultural production and urban utilities. 
    I believe the biggest change in land use in the next 20 years thought will be around the urban fringe. I really think that there will be a bigger value placed on farmland as the world's population rises and enters the world market for a better lifestyle. Bread.org states, "n 2010, it is estimated that 925 million people suffer from hunger" (2011, para. 1). Since many areas abroad will have their ability to produce agriculture significantly dampened, such as Africa according to current climate change models, the pressure for regions like North America that can still produce on a global level to provide for people around the world will climb. So we would have greater impetus to not waste our land on a ultra low-density urban pattern.
    Urban growth boundaries (UBG) may gain support in places that historically were not found of these types of urban planning methods. I can see a possibility of a UGB at the western edge of Omaha one day. Some things would have to change politically first but as a trend the U.S. has become more progressive in the area of implementing measures to plan and direct growth in urban areas. 
    Bread.org. (2011). Hunger and poverty facts. Bread for the World Institute. Retrieved May 20th, 2011 from: http://www.bread.org/hunger/global/facts.html

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      Re:Major issues Tuesday, May 24, 2011 2:57 PM (permalink)
      I share your concern about urban growth boundaries. Sooner than we think every patch of fertile land on this planet will be critical for feeding the human population. We in Nebraska and the Midwest hold a commonwealth trust; we have the honor and responsibility to be faithful stewards of the land.

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        Re:Major issues Tuesday, May 24, 2011 4:00 PM (permalink)
        This may seem tangential, but I don't think it is. What role do speculation and a possible commodities "bubble" play in land use and food prices? What does that mean for the future?
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