Wednesday, December 29, 2010

World is finite, human demand is not

The Finite World - "In particular, today, as in 2007-2008, the primary driving force behind rising commodity prices isn’t demand from the United States. It’s demand from China and other emerging economies. As more and more people in formerly poor nations are entering the global middle class, they’re beginning to drive cars and eat meat, placing growing pressure on world oil and food supplies.

And those supplies aren’t keeping pace. Conventional oil production has been flat for four years; in that sense, at least, peak oil has arrived. True, alternative sources, like oil from Canada’s tar sands, have continued to grow. But these alternative sources come at relatively high cost, both monetary and environmental.

Also, over the past year, extreme weather — especially severe heat and drought in some important agricultural regions — played an important role in driving up food prices. And, yes, there’s every reason to believe that climate change is making such weather episodes more common."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Every year, Republicans try to kill Amtrak

China: Betting Big on High-Speed Rail - TIME: "Spending on railroad construction increased 80% over 2008 totals to reach $88 billion in 2009. It will climb to $120 billion this year and exceed $700 billion over the next decade. The most ambitious focus of that investment is the expansion of China's high-speed passenger rail. Right now, China is the world's leader with 6,552 km of high-speed tracks (defined as those that can carry trains at speeds over 200 km/h). It plans to double that distance in two years."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More D.C. area commuters leaving the driving to others, census data show

More D.C. area commuters leaving the driving to others, census data show: "In a region long dominated by solo drives to work, more Washington area residents are abandoning their cars and taking public transportation to work, according to new census data that reveal a noticeable shift in commuting patterns over the past five years."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mass-transit tax break to shrink while fares rise

(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File) (Kevin Wolf - AP)
Mass-transit tax break to shrink while fares rise [Washington Post]: "Mass transit riders can save up to $1,000 a year under a federal tax break that will be reduced after Dec. 31. Unless Congress acts, their savings will be cut nearly in half. The squeeze will be especially painful because it comes on top of increased transit fares in New York, Washington and other cities."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Streetsblog New York City » Report: Letting Transit Tax Benefit Expire Will Throw Riders From the Train

Streetsblog New York City » Report: Letting Transit Tax Benefit Expire Will Throw Riders From the Train: "The tax break was slipped into the stimulus bill by New York Senator Chuck Schumer in early 2009. Previously, riders could buy up to $120 in transit fares per month without paying taxes on that income, while those driving to work could deduct up to $230 in parking costs (one example of how the incentive to drive is embedded in the tax code). Schumer’s proviso equalized the caps, but only temporarily. It expires at the end of this year."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Most Americans Say Transit Often the Better Choice -- KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ --

Most Americans Say Transit Often the Better Choice -- KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ --: "While using existing taxes is the most popular method of funding better public transportation, the survey showed millions also are willing to pay a little more for a convenient ride.
'Economically viable cities will make transit a priority because they realize they can generate multiple, positive economic outcomes with a single investment,' said Rao. 'There has never been a better time for cities to build, improve or expand their public transit systems.'"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

the u.s. middle class is being wiped out here's the stats to prove it: Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance

the u.s. middle class is being wiped out here's the stats to prove it: Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance: "The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer at a staggering rate. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a blinding pace."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Reduce Carbon Emissions and Stress at the same time

Mass Transit Is Getting Better and Better Every Day | Green Blizzard | Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: "The second great part about mass transit is that it’s a really stress free, convenient way to travel.  Stress free riding cuts down on the time you are waiting in traffic doing nothing. Some people say mass transit takes longer then driving, but when you look at driving as purely wasted time, that argument goes down the drain. Why spend your time merely driving and madly texting at stoplights when you can entrust the driving to a professional while you do something else like read, answer e-mails, power nap, or immerse yourself in an endless daydream?   According to a recent poll from the Chicago Tribune – more Americans want more investment into the mass transit infrastructure.  Citizens Want More Public Transit"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Shore Transit offers free rides | | The Daily Times

Shore Transit offers free rides | | The Daily Times: "SALISBURY -- In an era when a price tag is on almost everything, Shore Transit is giving free rides.

Every first Saturday of the month starting Nov. 6, commuters can hop a transit authority bus at no cost anywhere in the Lower Shore service area.

Shore Transit Director Riggin Johnson said free rides will continue through March across the Lower Shore service region on all fixed bus routes, or standard scheduled stops, putting extra cash in wallets on the week's busiest shopping day."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tea Party a front for the liberal elite

BP and several other big European companies are funding the midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites who deny the existence of global warming or oppose Barack Obama's energy agenda, the Guardian has learned.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NEWSMEAT ▷ Much of Planet Could See Extreme Drought in 30 Years: Study

NEWSMEAT ▷ Much of Planet Could See Extreme Drought in 30 Years: Study: "'We are facing the possibility of widespread drought in the coming decades, but this has yet to be fully recognized by both the public and the climate change research community,' said National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Aiguo Dai, who conducted the study.

'If the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous,' he said.

Parts of Asia, the United States, and southern Europe, and much of Africa, Latin America and the Middle East could be hit by severe drought in the next few decades, with regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea seeing 'almost unprecedented' drought conditions, the study says."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Road building or city building? Analysis flips current wisdom on its head : Center for Neighborhood Technology

Road building or city building? Analysis flips current wisdom on its head : Center for Neighborhood Technology: "Road building or city building? Analysis flips current wisdom on its head

Are more highways and roads the solution to congestion? A new report says no.

A new analysis by CEOs for Cities finds that congestion has much more to do with how we build our cities than how we build our roads. By challenging the long-promoted measure of what causes traffic, the report reveals the inaccurate assumptions that have directed transportation spending to building more highways and roads rather than creating more compact development."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Some [just some] of the numbers on autosprawl subsidy - from Grist and Litman

Local roads, where you most likely do the bulk of your daily bicycling, are a different story. The cost of building, maintaining, and managing traffic on these local roads adds up to about 6 cents per mile for each motor vehicle. The cost contributed to these roads by the drivers of these motor vehicles through direct user fees? 0.7 cents per mile. The rest comes out of the general tax fund.

This means that anyone who owns a home, rents, purchases taxable goods, collects taxable income, or runs a business also pays for the roads. If you don't drive a car, even for some trips, you are subsidizing those who do -- by a lot. The best primer on this is economist Todd Litman's highly readable 2004 report "Whose Roads." (It's also the source for most of the figures in this column. Download the PDF here). A journalist recently crunched the numbers in Seattle and found the discrepancy in 2010 to be as wide as ever.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Arlington Transit Blog: Try Transit Week and Go Car Free for a Day!

Arlington Transit Blog: Try Transit Week and Go Car Free for a Day!: "Get out those ART maps and schedules to figure out the best route to take to the office next week! Virginia's third annual Try Transit Week will be held September 20-24 and is the perfect opportunity to try taking the bus, train or metro to where you need to go. Those who pledge to try a form of transit during the week will be entered into a drawing for a year's free pass to the transit service of their choice and also two round trip tickets on Amtrak VA."

Friday, September 10, 2010

UNC Greensboro commuter-friendly with bike-share, car-share, and free transit

The National Center for Transit Research has named UNC-Greensboro as one of the "Best Workplaces for Commuters," according to an announcement.

UNCG is the first employer in the Triad to win the national recognition, the announcement from the school said. The National Center for Transit Research is based at the University of South Florida.

UNCG has been expanding its on-campus transportation options to reduce the need for private cars, in part due to a lack of space for individual parking. The school offers free public transit options, helps coordinate car pools, and recently added the car-sharing service Zipcar for use by students, staff and faculty. A bike-sharing program called Spartan Cycles will also launch this fall.

UNCG’s focus on alternative transportation expands the university’s sustainability efforts and allows students and employees to save more of their hard earned money, said Scott Milman, UNCG's director of auxiliary services.

“Sending a car to school adds to the cost of attendance. We want students and parents to know they can save money by coming to UNCG without a car,” Milman said.

Read more: UNCG wins commuting award - The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area

Monday, September 6, 2010

UN foresees food riots -- meanwhile thousands of cars per day added to world highways

UN calls special meeting to address food shortages amid predictions of riots | Environment | The Observer: "Last week, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) called an emergency meeting for 24 September to discuss the food crisis. In Mozambique, riots broke out following the government's decision to raise bread prices by 30%, leaving seven people dead and hundreds injured. At the same time the Russian government extended its export ban on wheat by another 12 months as it battles drought, shortages and inflation at home, which threatens to push up prices further. European wheat prices hit more than €231 (�192) a tonne last week, just below last month's two-year high of €236 but still 60% higher than a year ago in sterling terms. Corn prices are at their highest level since June 2009 while sugar has been on a rollercoaster ride after hitting a 29-year peak in February."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

US race to profits and disaster not slowing down

Unless there are changes in the pattern of development that now favors low density housing, strip malls, and exurban road construction, the USFS estimates that from 2020 to 2040, suburban growth will lead to another 19 million acres of forest loss. In total, this loss is approximately 31 million acres, an area about the size of North Carolina. The USFS also recently released a report that details the impact increasing housing density is having on ecosystem services from forests across the U.S. and identifies the South as a region particularly at risk. WorldResourcesInstitute

Friday, August 27, 2010

Polluted Politicians: Dirty energy money flowing to U.S. Senate incumbents | TckTckTck

Polluted Politicians: Dirty energy money flowing to U.S. Senate incumbents | TckTckTck: "Washington is steeped in dirty energy money, with polluting industries contributing vast sums to political campaigns in order to keep American leadership beholden to the status quo fossil fuel addiction."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Humanity goes overbudget for 2010 this week

Global Footprint Network calculates nature's supply in the form of biocapacity, the amount of resources the planet regenerates each year, and compares that to human demand: the amount it takes to produce all the living resources we consume and absorb our carbon dioxide emissions. Its data reveal that, as of August 21, humanity will have demanded all the ecological services – from filtering CO2 to producing the raw materials for food – that nature can provide this year. footprintnetwork

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What is the true purpose of right wing extremism? [hint: it is oil]

GOP Politician Confirms What Was Long Suspected: Republicans Intentionally Feed the Racism, Anger, and Paranoia of the Far Right | Tea Party and the Right | AlterNet:

"As an example of both the GOP pandering to right-wing voters and conservative talk show hosts undercutting sensible policymaking, Inglis points to climate change. Fossil fuels, he notes, get a free ride because they're 'negative externalities' -- that is, pollution and the effects of climate change -- 'are not recognized' in the market. Sitting in front of a wall-sized poster touting clean technology centers in South Carolina, Inglis says that conservatives 'should be the ones screaming. This is a conservative concept: accountability. This is biblical law: you cannot do on your property what harms your neighbor's property.' Which is why he supports placing a price on carbon -- and forcing polluters to cover it."

"Asked why conservatives and Republicans have demonized the issue of climate change and clean energy, Inglis replies, 'I wish I knew; then maybe I wouldn't have lost my election.' He points out that some conservatives believe that any issue affecting the Earth is 'the province of God and will not be affected by human activity. If you talk about the challenge of sustainability of the Earth's systems, it's an affront to that theological view.'"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fares exist mainly to discourage transit use, not raise revenue.

Dr. Gridlock - Second fare hike stresses Metro: "The problem, as the transit staff saw it back in the spring, is that the mechanics of a fare increase -- with all the fare gate, fare box and vending adjustments, the changes in the signs on station kiosks and buses, and the revisions to the online and printed guides -- are always really complicated.

Problem papered over: Metro posted yellow explanation signs and fare update decals on station kiosks. (WMATA photo)

This time, it was more so, because the board and staff were envisioning several relatively exotic adjustments to the rail fares. These would require a new level of sophistication in the programming at the fare gates. The transit staff was moving into uncharted territory."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Traffic reduction: An urgent public health priority - Greater Greater Washington

Traffic reduction: An urgent public health priority - Greater Greater Washington: "Traffic is the leading cause of death among children worldwide and the leading cause of death among 1-34 year olds in the United States. So, why isn't traffic considered the top threat to public health by the CDC, WHO and federal, state and local governments?"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why is the US Military spread all over the world?

Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) -- Turkish officials are blaming a pre-dawn blast that ruptured the natural gas pipeline between Iran and Turkey on rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). CNN

This news item shows that fossil-fuel transport and civil unrest are incompatible. That is why old-fashioned diplomacy has to give way to total military control. Pipelines are too hard to protect. If you are tired of fossil-fuel wars, then you should be working with us to end energy waste and transform the systems by which humans live.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rev. Jackson Rallies To Save Public Transportation -

Rev. Jackson Rallies To Save Public Transportation - "'We say to Congress if you can bail out Wall Street with zero percent interest if you can fund the war in Afghanistan, fund public transportation,' Jackson said.

Jackson and other leaders want Congress to remove rules put in place in the 1990's that restricts public transportation funding for cities of more than 200,000 people, including Miami.

'Green jobs start with bus drivers,' Jackson said."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Car Free Cities

IMAGINE for a moment a city free from the noise, air pollution, congestion and danger associated with cars and lorries.

Imagine a safer and cleaner urban environment where more people walk, cycle, and use public transport and interact on the streets. Imagine a city where children can enjoy the independence and freedom of travelling to school and visiting friends. Imagine every major city in the country being car free.. Human Ecologist

Monday, July 5, 2010

Climate Progress

Climate Progress: "July 5, 2010
“We’re getting a dramatic taste of the kind of weather we are on course to bequeath to our grandchildren,” says Tom Peterson, Chief Scientist for NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

An “excessive heat warning” has been issued this week for parts of the East Coast, home of the status quo media, so please send me examples of coverage — good or bad. Also, drink plenty of fluids and stay cool!"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Want to see the future? - look at the present

Photograph: Saad Shalash/Reuters

There is a lot of talk in the blogosphere about #collapse. For the people of Iraq and other fossil-fuel-source areas of influence, that future is already here. If you are not outraged, then you are not paying attention. Are you be ready?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Who will pay for free public transit?

Anti-tax advocates want something for nothing. They want to be able to open a business and have well-educated, healthy, stress-free, unencumbered 21-year-olds arrive at their doorstep ready to work hard and be available on demand.

Where do they think these employees come from? It takes schools, parks, museums, healthcare, fresh food, police, firefighters, courts, social workers, social security, and public transport to raise and prepare the modern employee.

Taxes pay for most of this. But the anti-tax people want to drastically reduce taxes. Then what? Then they will have to come up with new voodoo economics.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Who will pay for free transit? You are paying for the car with your health

$142 billion in obesity-related health care costs and lost wages due to illness. As much as $80 billion in health care costs and premature death caused by air pollution from traffic. A whopping $180 billion from traffic crashes - lost wages, health care costs, property damage, travel delay, legal costs, pain and suffering ... do we need to go on? Grist