Of course biking and other physical activity is a healthy thing, and that’s obviously good. What’s really good now is that there are now economic reasons for employers to encourage their employees to commute on a bicycle. The Dutch (no surprise there) love their bikes so much they did an economic study on how much money can be saved by companies that have employees bike to work: 27 million Euros (PDF link).
• Employees who cycle regularly to work have less sickness-related
absenteeism than non-cyclists.
• The higher the frequency and longer the distance cycled, the lower the
rate of absenteeism.
• The potential benefit of cycling to work is considerable. It could mean
annual savings of around 27 million euros.
• More government measures to promote cycling and cooperation with
organizations that currently promote cycling can help convince employers
to begin or increase investments in a cycling policy.
• To develop successful programmes that promote cycling to work, more
understanding is needed of what actually convinces employees to use a
bicycle in their daily travel to work.
The local food movement is one that can use a lot of support, so it’s always good to see companies and people supporting the idea. Eating local helps your local economy and it can mean less carbon is emitted to get food from farm to fork. (Remember that you can greatly and easily lower how much energy it takes to get food on your plate by eating vegetarian style.) Now there’s a chain of burger stores in the USA that encourages using local food.
Enter Burgerville, a 39-restaurant gourmet fast food chain in the Pacific Northwest. The chain already uses local and sustainable ingredients in its food, and now Burgerville is taking its commitment to the locavore movement a step further with new seasonal food combinations. Each menu item highlights a single in-season ingredient sourced from local farms committed to sustainable practices.
This month, for example, Burgerville is featuring a rosemary chicken sandwich and rosemary shoestring potatoes, priced at $5.99 and $2.99, respectively. April’s spinach focus will bring a spinach florentine pastry and spinach salad. Many of Burgerville’s items come from family farms like T. Malatesta Farms in Canby, Oregon and Liepold Farms in Boring, Oregon. In the past, such small farms have been virtually ignored by the fast food industry.
I’m having trouble thinking of a way to describe this, so I won’t. I present to you the Walking Tree Man.
What is it that can capture a heart and take it to a peaceful awareness instantly?
Many say, “A WALKING TREE MAN”.
The crowd is stunned. People, begin moving more slowly, breathing deeply. They seem to drop into that meditative state where we’re connected with the true reality of life.
The walking body of a tree with the mask of a man is an image that can only inspire awe in the hearts and minds of those who see view it.
This archetype, of ancient origins signifies rebirth, renewal, and life, is the image of the GREEN MAN
He symbolizes our ineffable connection with Mother Nature.
Sometimes it’s the kids who see what’s going on first. Then that brings on a frenzy of photo snapping and comments like, “That’s the best costume I’ve seen in my life!” “Absolutely incredible!” “Wow!” “Amazing!”
The great thing about this global recession that we’re in is that the planet has a bit of time to breath and recover from the destructive force of modern hyper-capitalism. I honestly hope that as we start to recover from this recession we’ll have realized that we need to work with the ebbs and flow of ecosystems and not just exploit what finite resources the ecosystems create.
An interesting theme has begun to emerge in Copenhagen: that the financial crisis might end up saving the world. Sure, it’s painful now, this line of thinking goes, but it gives us a chance to build a low-carbon global economy that we might not have had otherwise. And in the meantime, greenhouse-gas emissions could fall sharply as a result of depressed economic activity — factories closing, less driving, less flying, and so on.
Two influential English economists argued as much today at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change. In a morning plenary talk, Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics and Political Science explained the reasons why he’s more optimistic about the likelihood of a new, effective global climate agreement today than he was two years ago: the rapid advancement of low-carbon technology, the deepening of public awareness, the Obama administration’s commitment to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions to 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050 — and the fact that the recession provides an opening for completely remaking the global energy economy. “It should be easier because we have an economic crisis,” he said. Labor is cheap, after all. That will make it cheaper to hire the workers to, for instance, rebuild the electrical grid in both the U.S. and Europe. Besides, he argued, the financial crisis offers a clear lesson. With this financial catastrophe fresh in our minds, we should realize more than ever that if we wait to address a looming crisis, it will bite us that much harder in the end.
There are many ways we can save the world and some may sound crazier than others. The independent has complied ten ways to save the world that range from easy to the hard.
Motoring could be revolutionised if cars were marketed like mobile phones – in a manner that would cut carbon dioxide and reduce the cost of driving. Motorists would get subsidised – or possibly even free – electric cars in the same way that customers currently get mobile phone handsets. In return, they would take out a contract for miles, rather than minutes, entitling them to get power either by plugging in to recharging points (at home, in car parks or on the street) or exchanging batteries at filling stations. The idea is the brainchild of a thirty-something former dot-com entrepreneur, Shia Agassi, who believes it would halve motoring costs. It sounds too good to be true, but Israel, Denmark, Hawaii and San Francisco are already starting to put the system in place – and even Gordon Brown has toyed with the idea. But to tackle climate change properly, the electricity has to be provided by renewable sources or nuclear power rather than fossil fuels.
Slimy scum could prove our saviour, as algae are emerging as one of the most promising and environmentally friendly sources of biofuel. Algae can grow extraordinarily fast, doubling in weight several times a day. They produce at least 15 times as much fuel per hectare as conventional crops like corn or oilseed rape, and do not take up farmland needed to grow food; they can be grown in lakes, the sea or even in the process of cleaning polluted water. Algae take three times their own weight of carbon dioxide from the air while growing, and the fuel they produce packs much more power for its weight than other biofuels. It is therefore being developed as a potential carbon-neutral way of fuelling aircraft: Air New Zealand has already mixed it with ordinary jet fuel for test flights. Cars have run on pure algae biofuel, and big oil companies are investing in it.