Bicycles are the New Trucks

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Trucks are loud, big, and clog the roads. Bicycles are quiet, small, and only need a fraction of the space larger vehicles need. Moving freight around a city is tough because of the traffic, so how about using bicycles to transport freight?

Bicycles are often thought as only a recreational or commuter transportation solution, but more and more people are looking into using bicycles to move freight. This already happens in large cities to deliver food and small packages, so why not use bikes to move larger goods?

This isn’t a new concept. Not so many years ago, delivery by bike was routine across Britain and remains so in many other less industrialised nations.

Newer bike-based cargo and courier firms have been around for a while but advances in e-bike technology are increasing the loads that such machines can carry and also the ease of use, particularly in hilly places.

Sleek, whirring machines are increasingly visible, even in places like the UK, where the delivery giant DHL is using them. Elsewhere, the ambitions are greater, as with Gothenburg’s “armadillo”, an articulated bike-and-trailer system that transports deliveries to city centre shops and businesses.

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Get Rewarded for Supporting Civil Disobedience

If your idea to change the world is creative enough then you could get $250,000 from LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman. Technically, it’ll be from MIT Media Lab with money from Hoffman. The Lab and Hoffman teamed up to ensure that creative civil resistance in the USA doesn’t die under the Trump presidency. With the increased pressure on American institutions to buckle under corporate influence right from the top (think Rex Tillerson) the need for people standing up is needed now more than ever before. This prize for civil disobedience is designed to get people engaged and thinking in new ways to stand up for human and legal rights.

“We wanted to see if we could identify very creative and principled disobedience,” says Ito. “I talked to a lot of students, and some of them had started saying, this nonviolence stuff doesn’t work anymore, or those days of Gandhi are over. And some people threatened to engage in disobedience that I felt was sort of reckless.”

The aim of the award is to help someone make further progress. “My hope is that we support a person in the middle of their career and help provide coaching, support, and visibility to help him or her be more effective,” says Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab. “We hope we’re not just rewarding what they’ve already achieved.”

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Local Greenbelts can Reduce Depression and Obesity

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Living near green space will make your life better. New studies coming out of Europe point out that proximity to nature has an impact on levels of depression, as in there is less depression. If you have the option to keep local forests (or any green space) then you should keep it! Not only are nature areas good for the mind, they’re also good for the body. The same research has pointed out that obesity rates are lower in places where nature is accessible.

The benefits aren’t just for individuals because fitter, happier people is better for society at large.

Overall, nature is an under-recognised healer, the paper says, offering multiple health benefits from allergy reductions to increases in self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

A study team of 11 researchers at the Institute for European environmental policy (IEEP) spent a year reviewing more than 200 academic studies for the report, which is the most wide-ranging probe yet into the dynamics of health, nature and wellbeing.

The report makes use of several studies that depict access to nature as being inextricably linked to wealth inequality, because deprived communities typically have fewer natural environments within easy reach.

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Thanks to Delaney!

What You Can do Now to Mitigate Climate Change

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You probably feel overwhelmed by the seemingly infinite ways that climate change alters the planet and your life. Thankfully, you don’t need to sit ideally by and watch the world get too hot. You can start making a difference today by just monitoring what you do and where you get stuff from. Over at Digg they have compiled simple things that you can start doing today to begin mitigating your impact on the planet.

Think About How You Travel

According to the EPA, in 2014 transportation accounted for just over a quarter of all US greenhouse gas emissions. Granted, not all of that can be chalked up to you jumping in your car and driving to work. In addition to personal automobiles there are also planes and trucks contributing to the problem. A 2016 MIT study found that if every car owner went out en masse and bought an electric vehicle the amount of transportation greenhouse gas emissions would drop by around 30 percent.

Of course, not everyone can just go out and buy an electric vehicle. But there’s still plenty you can do. You can drive more efficiently, make sure your tires are properly inflated, carpool, take public transportation, start riding a bicycle to places.

According to the EPA, just trying to find some way to drive two less days per week will reduce your annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2 tons annually. That’s a 12 percent reduction in your own personal greenhouse gas emissions right there.

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A Water Bottle to Help Others Drink

In too many places around the world potable water is hard to get, and a recent fundraising campaign is trying to change that. Brita teamed up with Me to We to sell a water bottle that will help pay for a drinking well in rural Kenya. It’s key that the bottle they’re selling is reusable – not one of those one-off disposable bottles.

Bottled water is a ridiculous commodity in places where tap water is drinkable, like Canada. If you regularly drink bottled water in communities with drinkable tap water – please stop buying bottled water! It’s not as well regulated as tap water and it’s insanely wasteful. The Globe and Mail published a great article outlining the troubles of bottled water and the culture around drinking it.

Today is world water day and it’s about time to commit to stop drinking water from an inefficient source.

So instead of throwing money at a wasteful bottle of water get yourself a reusable one you can fill from a tap.

The statement bottle, on sale starting March 1st is part of Brita® Canada’s continuing partnership with WE, an organization that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world. Their joint pursuit of sustainable change shows through initiatives like Filter for Good™ where every purchase of a Brita specially-marked ME to WE product supports a borehole in Irkaat, Kenya, which provides the community of more than 1,800 with access to clean water.

According to the United Nations, over 80 per cent of wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused and 1.8 billion people get their drinking water from a source contaminated with feces which puts them at risk of contracting disease like cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Globally, unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene kill 842,000 people in a year.

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