A recent article in The Independent highlights how car use in England is on the decline. A combination of factors (including high gas prices, poor congestion, and general disdain for internal combustion engines) has lead to fewer people getting their licenses, and fewer people using their cars.
[Steve] Goodwin [professor of transport policy at the University of the West of England] has been building his argument for peak car in a series of articles in Local Transport Today. His evidence includes that fewer young people are learning to drive. Between 1992 and 2007, the number of 17- to 20-year-olds who held licences fell from 48 per cent to 38 per cent, and for 21- to 29-year-olds, the number fell from 75 per cent to 66 per cent. Also, there has been a decline in private transport’s share of trips from 50 per cent in 1993 to 41 per cent in 2008. And, according to Lynn Sloman, director of Transport for Quality of Life, between 2004 and 2008, car trips per person went down by 9 per cent and car distance per person by 5 per cent.
Of course, this doesn’t amount to incontrovertible evidence of the beginning of the end for cars – it could be a momentary blip, an aberration – but it would be foolish not to have this debate now, given the paucity of Government funds, and given the long planning horizon of most public works.
Have a look at the rest of the article here.
Well not just Haydn, or classical music for that matter – a recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has shown that the greater an individual’s engagement in cultural activities, the greater the benefit to their personal health. This trend exists across many different artistic and creative pursuits, and affects both men and women. The participants in the study were asked questions concerning their health, satisfaction in life, and levels of anxiety and depression, as well as questions pertaining to their involvement in participatory (playing an instrument, painting, singing, etc.) or receptive (going to a concert or play) culture.
Both types of cultural activity were linked with good health, wellbeing, low stress and low depression even when other factors, such as social background and wealth, were taken into account. In men the effect was most pronounced in those who preferred to get their dose of culture as an observer rather than doing something more hands on.
So next time you’re feeling down or under the weather, get out there and indulge your creative side!
Read the full article at the BBC.
A Cambridge, Ontario metal fabrication company, VeriForm, has become an ecological leader in a field notorious for neglecting the effects of their business and product on the environment. A capital investment of $78000 has allowed VeriForm to implement many small changes (i.e. a centralized programmable thermostat, high-efficiency lighting systems, etc.) which saves the company $120000 annually!
The eco-changes shrank VeriForm’s greenhouse gas emissions to 126 tonnes in 2009, down from 234 tonnes in 2006. That figure is even more impressive given that in 2009 the company’s sales were 28 per cent higher and the plant’s physical size was 145 per cent larger than in 2006.
The inspiration for going green was altruistic. “We were just trying to reduce our carbon footprint,” Mr. Rak says. But the financial rewards quickly became evident “once we started doing spreadsheets and payback analysis,” the 46-year-old says.
This is great proof that, contrary to popular belief, going green doesn’t mean losing money – VeriForm has shown that making smart upgrades that benefit the planet can also benefit profits.
Read the rest of the article at The Globe and Mail.
The University of Winnipeg was once lambasted in the annual MacLean’s ranking of Canadian Universities for having some of the worst campus food in the country (which is saying a lot…). Instead of wallowing in self-pity and eating another Big Mac to dull the pain, they hired a young, idealistic executive chef and completely overhauled their food services program. They now offer real food based around fresh, predominantly local ingredients, and have made this change using a business model that not only provides jobs to inner-city residents, but also manages to turn a profit.
Food is not historically a major priority of university administrations. But having taken over the school’s top job in 2004, [University President Lloyd] Axworthy, the former minister of foreign affairs, grew tired of the harsh reviews. Two years ago, he decided to buy out the contract of its large, multinational catering firm. In its place, the school established its own arm’s-length culinary company, Diversity Foods, in partnership with local non-profit SEED Winnipeg.
Read the rest of the delicious article at The Globe and Mail!
Hi everyone, I just want to let you know that I’m heading off on a vacation for about a month so don’t expect to many posts.
I’ll try to make the occasional post and hopefully some others will leave some good news.
Feel free to share good news in the comments while I’m away 🙂