Vancouver has a new goal: be powered by only renewable energy. This announcement was made the same week that an oil spill hit the city’s shores. Indeed, the city is so sick of wasting money on carbon-based power sources that their 100% goal even includes cars, trucks, buses, etc.
This is great news for the people of Vancouver and will hopefully inspire other Canadian cities to follow.
Andrea Reimer, Vancouverâ€™s deputy mayor told the Guardian: â€œThereâ€™s a compelling moral imperative but also a fantastic economic case to be a green city.â€ The 100% goal is likely to be set for a target year of 2030 or 2035.
The article points out that many other cities around the world well on their way to being powered by 100% renewable:
More than 50 cities have announced they are on their way to 100% renewable energy including San Diego and San Francisco in California, Sydney Australia, and Copenhagen. Some are aiming for 2020, others by 2030 or 2035.
Some, like Reykjavik, Iceland, are already there for electricity and heat. The entire country of Costa Rica was powered by renewables for 75 consecutive days this year.
The American style “war on drugs” undoubtably ruins more lives than it saves (all while militarizing North American police forces), yet some people think that punishing drug users is sound policy. Research is continually adding more evidence that approaching drug consumption as a health issue and not a criminal one improves the lives of users and of non-users.
In Vancouver, a 15 year long study has concluded that safe injection programs like Insite make the city a better place. Drug users are safer and so too is the surrounding community.
In 1996, almost 40 per cent of drug users reported sharing needles, but by 2011, that had dropped to 1.7 per cent. About 25 per cent of Vancouver’s drug users are HIV positive, and about 90 per cent suffer from Hepatitis C.
The overall health of drug users had improved and more people were accessing addictions treatment, jumping from 12 per cent on methadone treatment in 1996 to 54.5 per cent since 2008, statistics showed.
“This is probably the city with the most aggressive harm reduction approach, yet we’re seeing declining rates of drug use within this community,” Kerr said.
Roads are often overlooked when it comes to the impact of cars on the environment, but we can’t ignore the roads have on the environment when discussing the practicality of cars. Asphalt is used to make roads and the process of creating asphalt is very energy intensive. In Vancouver, they are looking into ways to lower the negative impact of car infrastructure by making greener roads.
First, it allows asphalt to be heated at 20 to 40 degrees less than is necessary when using the traditional â€œhot mixâ€ method. This reduces the amount of fuel necessary for the process, which in turn reduces the resulting greenhouse-gas production by as much as 50 per cent. Second, although there are other paving materials that have similar characteristics, theyâ€™re normally made of petroleum products. GreenMantraâ€™s product comes from recycled plastics.
The wax is slightly more expensive than petroleum-based materials, but GreenMantra and the City of Vancouver are looking to bring down the cost by sourcing cheaper plastic. The price could also drop of its own accord, as GreenMantra begins to produce the stuff in greater quantities.
Yesterday we looked at making a key building material, cement, more green and today we’re looking at a skyscraper to be built out of wood. Wood is a much kinder material to the environment thanks to the fact that wood is renewable because it comes from trees.
The idea may sound odd given that wooden skyscrapers may not sound strong or even fire-resistant but all of this is thought out for this building which may get built in Vancouver.
â€˜Tallwoodâ€™ would be made of large panels of â€˜laminated strand lumberâ€™â€”a composite made by gluing together strands of wood.
Trees are a renewable resource, and they help to reduce air pollution. Sourcing from sustainably-managed forests could be deemed more environmentally sensitive, according to CNN.
Unlike concreteâ€”which produces about 6-9kg of carbon dioxide for every 10kg of concreteâ€”wood sucks carbon out of the atmosphere.
And contrary to popular belief, wood actually is quite fire-resistant.
â€œIt may sound counter-intuitive, but performing well in a fire is something inherent in large pieces of wood, thatâ€™s why in forest fires the trees that survive are the largest ones,â€ Green said.
It’s unfortunate that we still need ad campaigns to remind women to be safe from sexual assault, it’s even more unfortunate that we target these campaigns at women when men cause the vast majority of assaults.
In Vancouver they launched a campaign targeted at men called â€˜Donâ€™t Be That Guyâ€™. After running the campaign, which told men not to take advantage of women, the sexual assault rate dropped 10%!
The poster is one of three that went up at bars and around the city last summer as part of a campaign to chip away at the increasing rate of sexual assaults in recent years in Vancouver.
Six months later, Deputy Chief Doug LePard says the Donâ€™t Be That Guy campaign has contributed to a turnaround in statistics on sexual offences in Vancouver.
The rate dropped in 2011 by about 10 per cent, the first time in several years it had gone down.
Hopefully we’ll see more public safety campaigns targeted at people who commit the crimes rather than those that are victims.