Time to Move Away from Suburbia

the suburbs
Generic car focussed housing development.

The future is 15 minutes away and it’s high time we get there. With the climate crisis in full swing we need to rethink unsustainable lifestyles and restructure unsustainable urban design into sustainable living. The concept of the 15 minutes city has gained popularity and captures the core idea of what we need to do. Even if we don’t build 15 minute cities it is abundantly clear that we need to move away from low density high energy suburban development. In the car-dominated USA they are looking into ways to increase livability of communities by decreasing car dependency.

Some proponents of new urban developments imagine a future where cars are obsolete. It is just as feasible, however, to implement city designs that allow for vehicle use without becoming dependent on it. In Utah, plans for a new 15-minute-city include 40,000 parking spots, all inside or underground, out of view from pedestrians. This leaves space available for wider paths, outdoor dining, and greenways that enhance community. Without having to make space for cars, all city amenities are within close proximity and enjoyable to walk between.

Federal legislation is also contributing to a growing acceptance of alternatives to car-centric transportation systems. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee highway bill increases pedestrian safety provisions and increases funding to bike sharing and mass transit. Unfortunately, it falls short of addressing the heart of the issue (cars). In fact, it grants $220 billion to highway development programs. It also fails to include any provisions for metro system carbon emission targets.

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Canada Implements Handgun Ban

Mass shootings in the USA have tripled in the last few decades with mass shootings becoming an almost daily occurrence. Canadians are no strangers to mass shoutings either, with too many happening within the country. Obviously, that’s not good. The Canadian government has responded to this dangerous increase in firearm usage by banning certain guns, limiting others, eliminating toy guns that look like real ones, and to try and reduce the inflow of guns smuggled into the country from the States.

It’s good to see Canada acting to enforce existing laws while increasing limits on who can legally use a gun. In this case it’s a clear example of policy before police.

Canada’s government introduced legislation Monday to implement a “national freeze” on the sale and purchase of handguns as part of a gun control package that would also limit magazine capacities and ban some toys that look like guns.

Authorities do not expect a run on handguns in anticipation of the freeze, in part because they are so heavily regulated already, an official said in a briefing.

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Fight Book Bans by Reading These Books


Movements in the United States are trying to ban a number of works of fictions which they deem to be problematic. The problem, as they see it, is that certain books can help people question the world around them. Another problem they identify is that some books for children inform the children of previous human atrocities like slavery and the holocaust. Ironically, they are literally burning books. These groups want to deny knowledge and history.

Over at the Atlantic they’ve collected some of the books the anti-intellectuals want to ban. Defy the book burners by reading the knowledge they want banned! If you’re in a region where groups are trying to censor knowledge, stand up and support your librarians.

His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman 

Pullman’s award-winning fantasy trilogy is populated with talking armored polar bears, soul-sucking specters, and translucent angels. But ultimately, it’s about a war on adolescence. The story’s villains, all affiliated with an allegorical version of the Catholic Church, are motivated by a perverse desire to keep children innocent—even by essentially lobotomizing them. In contrast, the heroes celebrate knowledge and fight to overthrow the religious hierarchy threatening their world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the books were criticized for their supposed anti-Christian themes and plotlines involving witchcraft.

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Mexico Targets American Gun Manufactures

The drug cartels in Mexico are backed by American guns and profits from selling drugs to Americans. The Mexican government can’t do anything about the demand side within America, but they can do something about the arms trade. The Mexican government is strategically taking American gun makers and sellers to court to reduce the access to guns the cartels have. So far it’s looking successful and if all goes to plan then Mexico will be a safer place to be.

Mexico’s legal complaint is careful to make clear that its targets are private entities engaged in allegedly negligent business practices — not the U.S. government nor the legitimacy of the Second Amendment. “It’s a tort law case,” Celorio said. Still, it is no secret that the litigation is one piece in a broader effort to reframe the country’s relationship to Washington on matters of violence and security. On November 22, the same day that the gun companies filed their responses, Ebrard appeared before the U.N. Security Council to present a proposal for an international strategy to combat small arms trafficking. The foreign minister explicitly connected the proposal to the lawsuit.

At the core of Mexico’s claim is an argument that the gun companies could make any number of changes in their business practices to help stem the violence but that in the interest of making money, they deliberately chose not to.

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The Insurrection Index Exists to Defend American Democracy

vote sign

The Insurrection Index launches today to defend democracy in the United States from internal attacks on democratic institutions. The focus of the initiative is clearly in response to, and all about, the failed coup and insurrection attempt that happened on this day last year. Multiple organizations joined together to create the index to promote democratic transparency around who (and what organizations) helped try to overthrow the government in support of former president Trump. By making the names of people involved in the extreme anti-democratic action it will be easier to keep those people out of office by exposing their anti-American actions.

It’s good to see that there is a concerted effort in the USA to defend their struggling democracy. Let’s hope that this marks a turning point in the country to more open, honest, and better defended democratic institutions.

The index is the brainchild of Public Wise, a voting rights group whose mission is to fight for government that reflects the will and the rights of voters. Christina Baal-Owens, the group’s executive director, said that the index was conceived as an ongoing campaign designed to keep insurrectionists out of office.

“These are folks who silenced the voices of American voters, who took a validly held election and created fraudulent information to try to silence voters. They have no business being near legislation or being able to affect the lives of American people,” she said.

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