Big Data Proves Bicycles are the Fastest Mode of Transportation

Regular readers of this site already know that in urban settings using a bicycle is the best way to get around. Thanks to an on-demand food delivery company there is now more evidence that bicycles are the fastest mode of transportation. The company knows this because their delivery algorithm takes into consideration how the food is being delivered to get the estimated delivery time for clients.

Smartphone data from riders and drivers schlepping meals for restaurant-to-home courier service Deliveroo shows that bicycles are faster than cars. In towns and cities, bicyclists are also often faster than motorized two-wheelers. Deliveroo works with 30,000 riders and drivers in 13 countries.

That bicyclists are faster in cities will come as no surprise to bicycle advocates who have staged so-called “commuter races” for many years. However, these races – organized to highlight the swiftness of urban cycling – are usually staged in locations and at hours skewed towards bicycle riders. The Deliveroo stats are significant because they have been extracted from millions of actual journeys.

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Watch This Anti-Palm Oil Ad Banned in the UK

Palm oil gets used in plenty of consumer goods and processed foods, as a result the demand for palm oil increases every year. The problem with using palm oil is that most sources of the plant are from unsustainable farming practices. Indeed, the cultivation of palm oil greatly contributes to deforestation. Obviously this isn’t good.

When a UK grocery store wanted to advertise their line of palm-oil free products the government said no. Instead of just letting the ad sit on the shelf they posted it on YouTube for us all to see. The ad itself is based off of work done by Greenpeace and they have gathered over 670 thousand signatures to show the ad on TV. The Streisand effect strikes again.

Read more about palm oil and the campaign here.

How One Billionaire Plans to Help Save the Planet


The Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss has decided to not be idly rich and watch the environment fall apart around him. He’s decided that over the next decade he will personally donate $1 billion USD to help save the planet. He will support local conservation movements, indigenous groups, and help expand national parks to protect land from developers. He wrote a an op-ed in the New York Times explaining his rationale and calling on others to help support the planet before it’s too late.

Every one of us — citizens, philanthropists, business and government leaders — should be troubled by the enormous gap between how little of our natural world is currently protected and how much should be protected. It is a gap that we must urgently narrow, before our human footprint consumes the earth’s remaining wild places.

For my part, I have decided to donate $1 billion over the next decade to help accelerate land and ocean conservation efforts around the world, with the goal of protecting 30 percent of the planet’s surface by 2030. This money will support locally led conservation efforts around the world, push for increased global targets for land and ocean protection, seek to raise public awareness about the importance of this effort, and fund scientific studies to identify the best strategies to reach our target.

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Rent Strikes Gaining Popularity

the suburbs

Last year a community in Toronto launched a rent strike and won! This initiative to ensure affordable housing (and not being verbally abused by landowners) worked for the involved residents; and similar actions are working in the USA too. Last week in California a ballot initiative for rent control failed, but champions of housing argue that the ballot was merely one idea of many to help people stay in homes (after all, it’s hard for a grassroots movement to fend off a multibillion dollar industry). Over at The Slot they’re running a piece on the history of rent strikes and how they can be effective even if they don’t win in the ballot box.

Altogether, the strike lasted six months, ending in August with an agreement from the landlord to drop all pending eviction cases. In the months since, tenants have continued to organize, including around Prop 10. “We were not comfortable because the conditions of the building are really bad,” Camero says. “We don’t get that much money every year in our jobs, and all the money we make is for the rent. So I wondered what we could do to push back against a bad owner. To keep things in control of the tenants.”

The Burlington strike was one of several launched in Los Angeles since 2016. Sometimes, as in Burlington, they allow tenants to stave off immediate rent hikes or maintain a version of the status quo. But in 2017, after tenants in Boyle Heights (a rapidly gentrifying, historically Latinx neighborhood) went on strike in response to a proposed 80 percent rent increase, they not only avoided eviction but also successfully negotiated collective bargaining rights with their landlord. The building was not rent controlled and the tenants had no clear legal protections; the victory was built on organizing alone.

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Things You can do Right Now to Fight Climate Change

a couple, bicycles

With so many reports coming out recently stating that the future of the planet will be decided in the next decade it can feel overwhelming to even try saving the planet. Thankfully there are things you can do right now to save the world from ecological collapse. You can be ambitious or make just tiny changes to your diet: the point is that it all helps and you can start today!

3. Other than that, what’s the best daily action I can take?

One 2017 study co-authored by Lund University’s Nicholas ranked 148 individual actions on climate change according to their impact. Going car-free was the number-one most effective action an individual could take (except not having kids – but more on that on that later). Cars are more polluting compared to other means of transportation like walking, biking or using public transport.

In industrialised countries such as European nations, getting rid of your car can reduce 2.5 tonnes of CO2 – about one-fourth of the average yearly emissions (9.2 tonnes) contributed by each person in developed countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“We should choose more efficient vehicles and, whenever possible, switch directly to electric vehicles,” says Maria Virginia Vilarino, co-author of the mitigation chapter in the IPCC’s latest report.

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