Drivers Don’t Obey the Law as well as Bicyclists

Bicycle

Cyclists have somehow got a bad reputation of being lawless street users over the last century. This reputation is poorly earned since the rebels of the road aren’t on two wheels: they are on four. Car drivers are the worst road users (and the most lethal). The good news here is that we have an opportunity to change the discourse in favour of sustainable transportation while removing the stigma of law breakers on two wheels.

A new study from the Danish Road Directorate shows that less than 5% of cyclists break traffic laws while riding yet 66% of motorists do so when driving. The Danish Cycling Embassy, a privately-funded NGO, puts this down to visibility: law breaking by cyclists is “easy to notice for everyone” but transgressions by motorists, such as speeding, are harder to spot.

Earlier this week, political journalist Peter Walker of The Guardian fronted a video asking whether law breaking by cyclists was the menace that many in the mainstream media say it is. He concluded that, statistically, it wasn’t.

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Work Less to Save the Planet

economic chart

You already know you’re working too many hours, so let’s change that and save the planet in the process. Economic growth has physical limits and we’re hitting those already as we run out of finite resources, or those resources are getting harder and harder to reach like oil. So to maintain growth we need to switch to a renewable energy based economy and fast. We can also just work less and focus on decreasing the growth of consumer capitalism.

This is where the idea of degrowth comes in. Degrowing our economy focuses on getting rid of things awe don’t need and are incredibly destructive to the environment (like fast fashion) and focusing our attention to bettering society as a whole (like free daycare). Another way to degrowth the economy is to reduce our working weeks to produce more jobs and give everybody more leisure. Aren’t we all working for the weekend anyway?

To get emissions to zero, it will involve a kind of “degrowth,” but one targeted specifically at fossil-fuel consumption. “That doesn’t mean we have to degrow everything,” Pollin said. “We really need to degrow the fossil fuel industry to zero, but massively expand the clean energy systems, the investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.” This is essentially the Green New Deal: a push to increase renewable energy while eliminating fossil fuels, and including an effort to create a just transition for the people who have jobs in that sector.

To Pollin, even this would be a radical improvement. A plan to get to zero carbon emissions in 30 years would mean shutting down one of the world’s most powerful industries. He thinks that that is ambitious enough without trying to implement other broad societal changes.

“If we take the climate science seriously, we only have a few decades to make huge progress,” Pollin said. “And whether I like it or not, we’re not going to overthrow capitalism in that time.”

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A Tale of Protestors Dressed as Handmaids

Ontarios’s very unpopular Conservative party is trying its best to not conserve women’s rights and this is obviously causing issues. The majority of people in the province don’t want women to lose legal protections – particularly when it come to health care. The anti-women political drive is being led by Sam Oosterhoff who has made news before when elderly people showed up to his office and read books (yes it’s as ridiculous as it sounds).

So what’s so good about this?

Women have started to show up to Oosterhoff’s media appearances dressed as Handmaids from Handmaids Tale as a quick symbol to show the intentions of the Conservative party. What’s more is that the protests are working and their movement is growing.

Saturday’s protesters weren’t just from Niagara, with many coming from across the GTHA and were mobilized quickly. It was just Wednesday (May 15) that Burlington’s Jennifer Botari invited three friends to join a private Facebook group called “Handmaid’s Local 905.” By the end of the week, the group had 3,000 members, and nearly a dozen other chapters sprang up across the country.

“In less than three days, we have a movement of thousands that have come out,” she said. “As fast as I can find people to run the locals, we’re bringing them online.”

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Digital Circuit Breakers can Transform Sustainable Electricity

wind turbine

An often overlooked aspect of sustainable energy is the seemingly simple switching of electricity. Physical switches slow down the ability of repairs on power systems and can even hinder the installation of renewable energy sources. A lot of renewable energy systems (solar, wind, tidal, etc.) fluctuate greatly in the power output which strains switches; this is where digital circuits thrive. With digital switching it is easier to dynamically change power sources and remotely monitor them.

“Instead of using mechanics to switch the power, we apply digital inputs,” Kennedy told Popular Mechanics. “Now I have no moving parts. Now I have the ability to connect things like iPhones and iPads for remote power management, which increases safety and improves efficiency. I can set the distribution panel to a schedule so the flow of power is seamless, unlimited, and shifts between sources automatically. You literally wouldn’t notice. The lights wouldn’t even flicker.”

For a grid-connected solar home, for example, residents sometimes have to disconnect their solar input because traditional power systems (including the circuit breakers) aren’t advanced enough to properly manage multiple power sources that change.

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Cap Executive Pay for a More Productive Company

happy workers in a factory

John Driscoll is the CEO of a health care company and he sees value in paying people what they’re worth. A few years ago he turned around a company from a downward trajectory to a profitable and growing concern by raising the wages of the average worker and freezing the salaries of executives. In an age when inequality is growing due partially to increased executive compensation this story might sound out of place. Really, this story should be heard and shared everywhere because it shows that if you pay people fairly for doing their job then the whole company benefits. Just paying those at the top a lot of money while paying the minim for others does not equal success.

What that meant for our company was that if we just froze the wages of our most senior team – less than 20 executives – we could radically increase the wages and improve the lives of nearly 500 of our teammates.


Raising wages in the midst of a business turnaround was not easy. We needed our executive team to buy into a vision of business success where every employee had a fair shot at success. It worked.

Our business has tripled over the past five years. Our minimum wage is now approaching $16.50 per hour and last year we broadened profit sharing to all levels of the company.

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