Mental Health Workers are Better than Cops

Sending mental health workers as first responders to mental health issues is way better than sending workers with other specialities. This may sound obvious, but for decades in the USA and Canada we’ve been sending police (armed with guns) to help people in distress. Some cities in the USA have reallocated police funding to social workers with great success, and thanks to the efforts of movements like BLM more cities are following suit. New York City is one such city and unsurprisingly their results are similar to other cities where police have been defunded.

The movement to defund the police, then put those funds into social services is clearly working.

In 95% of cases, people accepted care from the B-HEARD team, data from the city shows. That’s compared with 82% for traditional 911 response teams, which include police. 

Additionally, 50% of people treated by B-HEARD were transported to the hospital for more care, a far lower number than the 82% who are transported to the hospital with traditional 911 response.

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Ending the Gender Gap in Transportation

There is a gender gap in our cities and it’s all thanks to car-centric design. Everybody knows that cars destroy urban centers and cause a lot of harm to public health. but you may not have thought of the impact cars have on gender. As cities look to modernize themselves by returning streets to people they need to also think about how different people use transportation in the city. Part time workers are more likely to be women and that often means more trips per day than their typical male counterparts. Designing cities through a gendered lens means that the city can accommodate multiple modes of transportation beyond the male-dominated rush hour.

“The discussion on inclusive mobility is gathering steam,” said Ricarda Lang, deputy chair of the German Green party. “Feminism is not a stand-alone topic, but a perspective that we also apply in the area of urban development and mobility.”

The issue is more complex than cars versus bikes. In some cities, women cycle less, likely because lanes aren’t wide or secure enough, especially with kid carriers — underscoring the importance of transport design. But there’s no denying car-centric systems face strain.

Numerous grassroot initiatives are demanding restrictions on personal vehicles. One of the most radical is in Berlin, where activists are pushing for a referendum that would all but eliminate private autos in the inner city in favor of walking, cycling and public transport.

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Your Carbon Footprint is Fine, it’s the Wealthy that Need to Change

tree with climate knowledge

There’s no doubt that we can all reduce our carbon footprint, but there’s one segment of the population who drastically need to cut their carbon output: the rich. Recent headlines have made it clear that the poor are impact most by climate issues, while the rich can afford solutions the rest of us cannot. What’s more, according to the UN, the wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%. The richest 5% contributed 37% of emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.

If we’re going to avoid climate catastrophe then we need the polluter elite to do their part – not just the rest of us.

He continued: “Rich people who fly a lot may think they can offset their emissions by tree-planting schemes or projects to capture carbon from the air. But these schemes are highly contentious and they’re not proven over time. 

The wealthy, he said, “simply must fly less and drive less. Even if they own an electric SUV that’s still a drain on the energy system and all the emissions created making the vehicle in the first place”.

Sam Hall, from the Conservative Environment Network, told BBC News: “It’s right to emphasise the importance of fairness in delivering (emissions cuts) – and policy could make it easier for people and businesses to go green – through incentives, targeted regulation and nudges.

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BIKEPOC Wants You on a Bicycle

a couple, bicycles

Bicycles are the best form of urban transportation and more people should be out there riding on two wheels. In Toronto, like many North American cities, cyclists in the city are predominately white males (for a variety of reasons). With people stuck at home due to the pandemic there has been an increase in interest in cycling, particularly thanks to reduce vehicular traffic. Thanks to safer roads more people who identify as BIPOC are riding, and the group BIKEPOC is there to encourage even more riders. In 2019 Keiren Alam launched the group to create a more welcoming and diverse cycling community!

2021 will hopefully be a turning point for cyclists in Toronto!

Before the pandemic, Alam hosted monthly rides and workshops on skills like fixing flat tires. Her events were put on pause once the pandemic hit, but Alam organized fundraising rides for Black Lives Matter Toronto in July 2020. Shortly afterwards, she launched BIKEPOC’s bike match program to pair donated bikes with people who had difficulty accessing them. “A lot of people need bikes and the demand is clearly there,” Alam says. “We’re in a pandemic and people are still trying to get to work and are avoiding the TTC for safety.”

BIKEPOC partners with local community bike groups like Charlie’s FreeWheels and Bike Chain to build and repair donated bikes. They completed 20 bike matches last year, getting bikes in the hands of women, children and people of colour. After a winter hiatus, Alam relaunched the bike match program in mid-March and, in two days, she received applications from over 25 people in need of a bike. That’s in addition to the people who signed up last year but still haven’t been matched. “We have a lot of demand and not a lot of bikes coming in or getting donated because there’s a massive shortage of bikes right now.”

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You Don’t Have to Love Your Job

Too many people are told to follow their passion and find their dream job above all else. This is bad advice. Instead, go get a job that you can do, pays you well, and is filled with respect. There is no reason to be a sycophant at work.

Sarah Jaffe recently wrote a book titled Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone and in it she explores our modern and utterly bizarre expectation that you should love your job. Over at the Next Big Idea Club she highlighted five key points from her book, and it’s worth looking at.

2. The idea that we should like our work is actually a relatively new concept.

The way we work and the way we think about work have changed over time. And so while humans have long been presumed to do some kinds of work for the love of it, that’s an expectation that has grown and spread from a couple of types of work to pretty much everything. The idea that we work in order to find fulfillment, rather than a paycheck, wasn’t particularly widespread even just a couple of generations ago. When you’re digging coal or building cars for a living, no one expects you to do it because you like it. You did it because it paid decently—or because it paid at all.

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