Paris to Spend €100m on Bike Lanes While Reducing Car Traffic

Paris has had a tough time with traffic and pollution in the city due to the number of cars. They have launched many environmentally friendly intitaves to curb the use of cars while making alternative transit solutions to cars more appealing. It’s working and is already inspiring other cities to follow suit. Still, traffic in France’s capital is still quite bad so the mayor as launched a new program investing €100m on new bike lanes!

“I want diesel cars out of Paris by 2020 and, if possible, beyond the peripherique,” said the mayor, referring to the city’s constantly choked ring road.

“Today, 60 per cent of Parisians don’t have their own car, whereas in 2011, it was 40 per cent. It’s moving quickly,” she said.

In proposing a raft of anti-pollution measures, Ms Hidalgo is building on the efforts of her predecessor and mentor, the former Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe.

He championed bike and car rental schemes, expanded bus and bicycle lanes, and reduced speed limits, as he sought to wean Parisians off cars in a bid to make the city more liveable.

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5 Socially Good Business Practices Predicted for 2015

Marketing firm JWT has complied a list of trends in socially conscious practices that business will be interested in for 2015. See the report here. This is great that marketers are concerned with social impact as it means that after all these years corporations are catching on to the fact that there’s more than just profit.

Interestingly, one trend they think will gain popularity is one popularized by Toms.

JWT sees the buy-one-give-one model started by Toms expanding beyond shoes. The company itself, now worth $625 million, has set up a marketplace for other products. For example, buying a bag of coffee gifts water for a week to someone in the developing world. Other examples include San Francisco food delivery company Munchery and Warby Parker. JWT describes the trend as “third way commerce” that “combines social good with sales and marketing.” “Consumers, particularly Millennials, are increasingly discriminating between brands by looking for ethical behavior and sustainability. They are also looking for brands and companies with clear values.”

Read the other four here.

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Using Drones in Nifty Ways

Toronto Skyline Porn from Ryan Emond on Vimeo.

Remote controlled drones are pretty neat! Sure, the military industrial complex uses them to murder people, but that’s just one way to use the technology. Artists and companies are finding ways to use the technology in nice friendly ways. In Toronto (like other jurisdictions) there are growing concerns about regulations and applications about the drones. Fortunately, the conversation between drone operators and the general public is going well!

Interestingly enough, Toronto Reference Library leads the way in its adoption and popularization of new technologies, drones included. (Take a look at this awesome drone’s eye view of the library tour!) Just a couple of weeks ago, 10,000 people gathered at Toronto Reference Library for Toronto Mini Maker Faire, where X4 Drones flew some smaller aircrafts from its impressive drones fleet. It’s hard to think of a better way to normalize drones than seeing them fly right in the library, one of the most well-known and accessible public spaces in the city.

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Slow Increasing Carbon Waste by Growing Cities

People living in cities have a lower carbon footprint than those in the suburbs and rural areas. Some people find this rather counter intuitive for reasons I don’t fully understand. There are researchers looking into the future of our global carbon footprint and they have concluded that if we increase the percentage of people in urban places instead of suburban/rural we can lower the rate of wasteful carbon increase.

By taking these key steps, particularly in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the analysis concluded that the world’s cities could limit themselves to using 540 exajoules of energy in 2050 (it takes the U.S. about three weeks to produce enough crude oil to generate 1 EJ of energy). That’s a lot of energy—more than double cities’ 2005 energy demand of 240 EJ. But it’s a quarter less than the projected demand of 730 EJ under the business-as-usual scenario analyzed.

Given that most of the energy used by humanity today comes from fossil fuels, improving the energy efficiency of cities could deliver big climate benefits. Cities account for so much of the world’s energy use that a recent U.N climate report concluded they’re responsible for three quarters of yearly carbon dioxide pollution.

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Toyota Releases 5,680 Patents for Fuel Cell Technology

Toyota has followed Tesla’s strategy of giving their patented technology away for free. The patent system is so obviously broken so it’s nice to see these large corporations just letting their patents go. Ultimately, this means that other car companies can now use fuel saving technology (or whatever Toyota has invented). Hopefully we will see less environmentally damaging vehicles on the road.

Perhaps the most newsworthy announcement came when Toyota said it would make all of its 5,680 patents related to fuel cell technology available, royalty-free, to other companies manufacturing and selling both fuel-cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations. The idea is to drive more innovation in this somewhat nascent sector of the automobile industry.

“It’s obvious that there can be a higher societal value in openly sharing our IP,” Carter said. “By eliminating the traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the metabolism of everyone’s research and move into a future of mobility quicker, more effectively, and more economically. Indeed, I believe that today marks a turning point in automotive history.”

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