Encouraging Engagement in Canadian Politics

A good chunk of Canadians have been feeling disillusioned by our current government’s actions that go against what the majority of Canadian actually want. This is unfortunate because the less engaged the populous becomes the easier it is to pass bad policy.

A new organization in Toronto is looking to change this by encouraging leaders to get engaged in politics. It also has a strong emphasis on supporting MPs and helping them stay engaged and get them to encourage other people.

“Our ultimate goal is not to influence policy change on xyz policy issues,” says Loat. “We are much more about igniting the public imagination and conversation.”

One of the first tasks of the fledgling organization, now housed in a Victorian mansion on Prince Arthur Ave, was to figure out not only its actual mission but it premiere project. One idea involved supporting an MP’s difficult transition to public life via a training program, mentoring or even, executive education. Instead, it was suggested that that they simply ask the MPs what they needed.

It was a small suggestion that became a “light bulb” moment. Why not conduct the kind of formal exit interviews common to corporate life?

“We learned that it had never been done before,” says Loat. “And we thought that this is so obvious.”

The two co-founders travelled across the country to do more than half of the 65 interviews personally in what Loat proudly considers to be one of the largest pieces of research on leadership in Canadian history. The results of the MP Exit Interview project, designed specifically for future use by academics, will continue to be published just like The Accidental Citizen; future reports will cover what the work of an MP, their role as the “nexus” between government and citizens and finally, their reflections and recommendations

Read more at Yonge Street Media.

Reminder: Support Bikes in Toronto

Toronto could be the next city with a Bixi bike sharing program and you can help make it happen! The more people who ride in a city the safer bicycling becomes so it’s in everyone’s interest to get Bixi up and running in Toronto. Also, bicycles are always good news.

The City of Toronto has made it difficult to setup the program by requiring 1000 people to register for the service by November. Right now about 650 have signed up.

Don’t forget to sign yourself up to make the streets of Toronto greener and safer!

Here’s how Bixi describes itself:

Toronto has the chance to join major metropolises on three continents – Minneapolis, Washington D.C., London, Melbourne and Montreal – that have adopted BIXI, the finest bike sharing system in the world. We deserve access to an active and green alternative to traditional forms of urban transport to reduce pollution and traffic congestion. BIXI is simple, fast and economical. You just take a bike when you need one and drop it off at any station on the network when you’ve finished your trip.

Sign up for Bixi on their website.

Here’s all the times we’ve looked at Bixi on Things Are Good!

World’s Largest Wind Farm Starts Sprouting

Britain has started construction on the world’s largest wind power generating installation. This will be a massive increase in renewable energy hitting the power grid in the UK – and a benefit for all thanks to less pollution.

Check out the video on the project:

The 100 turbines, each measuring more than 300ft, will power more than 200,000 homes. It will increase the amount of energy generated from offshore wind in the UK by a third to 1,314MW, compared to 1,100MW in the whole of the rest of the world.

Mr Huhne said the UK is leading the world in an exciting new technology that will cut carbon emissions and boost green jobs.

Read more at The Telegraph

Avoid Fat Kids by Owning a Dog

Recently Canada has been identified as being filled with fat people, and there’s a simple way to stop this waist problem from expanding: own a dog. Families that have a dog have kids who are fit and thinner than non-dog owning families.

Go play fetch and stay fit!

And an Australian analysis of 1,145 children found girls and boys with dogs 50 per cent less likely to be fat.

“If you’re a kid and a dog, you chase balls, you play soccer with them, you rumble with them, wrestle them on the carpet even if you’re watching TV,” said Jo Salmon of Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. “It’s activity and it’s a mind thing as well.”

Children whose families owned dogs were more active, with increased light, moderate and vigorous physical activity, regardless of race or gender, reported Christopher Owen, an epidemiologist at St. George’s, University of London, who led the English study.

“The more active lifestyle of children from dog-owning families is really interesting,” he said. “Is it that owning a dog makes you more active or active families choose to have a dog? It’s a bit of a children and egg question.”

Keep reading the article here.

Puff Shows Drivers How Much They Pollute

It’s well known that cars create a lot of pollution and that if we can get more people to drive their cars more efficiently (better yet – not at all) drivers would kill the environment a little less. To help drivers figure out how much CO2 they release into the air some enterprising floks created an app called Puff.

Puff is designed to let drivers visualize how much pollution they are emitting on their iPhone as they drive. This way drivers can adapt their driving to minimize their CO2 output.

“Puff is attached to the frame of the car or to the tail pipe. The lamp is light weight and thus well below the 50 pounds you can apparently safely hang from the exhaust pipe. The lamp itself is detachable, so you can take it inside with you whenever you leave your car at the curb. (…) The app also logs the drive data allowing you to keep track of various information such as how much total CO2 you’ve emitted during this trip or during all your trips with Puff, what is the average rate of emission, the total number of miles driven and the average MPG. It also estimates how much NOx, CO and hydrocarbons you’ve released into the environment.”

Read more at Pop-Up City

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