Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bikes vs Cars: How did it come to this?

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bikes vs cars

Many people still don’t get that bikes are not just recreation, they are transportation. Even fewer people realize the impact that getting people out of cars and on to bikes can have on our cities. Bikes vs Cars, a new film by Fredrik Gertten, looks at the struggle to find a place for the bike in this world of cars that we live in now. Because as we have said on TreeHugger and Gertten says in his Director’s statement:

If all cities adopted the model Copenhagen, where forty percent commute within the city on bikes, it would be a radical change for the world. Something you can measure in health, pollution, oil-usage. And now the conflict. The car, oil and construction industry is in the centre of our economic system. They are the ones who don’t want change, and if only in their pace even if the planet needs instant action.

Gertten visits cities around the world, meeting bike activists who are fighting to improve cycling. It starts in Sao Paulo with Aline Cavalcante, who rides her fixie with toe clips in some of the worst traffic conditions I have ever seen. I am surprised that she is still alive. Also in Sao Paulo is the wonderful Raquel Rolnik, a professor at the School of Architecture and urbanism trapped in her little Fiat complaining about traffic.

cycleway photo

Then it’s off to Los Angeles, where Dan Koeppel (seen on TreeHugger here) gives a history lesson in how cars took over, pushing cyclists and streetcar users off the road. He even takes us to the location…

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16 major NYC hotels pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent or more by 2025

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mayor bill de blasio, bill de blasio, NYC Carbon Challenge, hotels to cut greenhouse gas emissions, hotels pledge 30 percent emissions cut, climate change, sustainability plan

It’s not quite a Christmas miracle, but we’ll take it. A number of big name hotels in the city have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent over the next 10 years. Over 80 percent of the city’s emissions come from large buildings, so the initiative represents a significant step forward in the fight against climate change. The cuts are part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NYC Carbon Challenge program, which will see all of the city’s public buildings get eco-friendly retrofits by 2025. The Waldorf Astoria New York, Lotte New York Palace, and the Crowne Plaza Times Square are among 16 major hotels where owners have agreed to make cuts in the interest of climate change.

mayor bill de blasio, bill de blasio, NYC Carbon Challenge, hotels to cut greenhouse gas emissions, hotels pledge 30 percent emissions cut, climate change, sustainability plan

The mayor announced today that 16 major hotels will be joining in the effort to reduce the city’s carbon footprint over the next 10 years. “Whether we’re talking about universities, hospitals, and offices, or large apartment buildings and hotels, all of New York City has a stake in our fight against climate change,” said Mayor de Blasio in a statement. “If some of New York’s most iconic hotels can significantly reduce their carbon footprint, anyone can. NYC Carbon Challenge participants are joining City government in leading by example through the green retrofits all buildings should make – and that’s no small feat, with current Challenge commitments equivalent to removing over 100,000 cars from our roads.”

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Bonus Features

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An NY Times Critics’ Pick!
Bikes vs Cars depicts a global crisis that we all deep down know we need to talk about: climate, earth’s resources, cities where the entire surface is consumed by the car. An ever-growing, dirty, noisy traffic chaos. The bike is a great tool for change, but the powerful interests who gain from the private car invest billions each year on lobbying and advertising to protect their business. In the film we meet activists and thinkers who are fighting for better cities, who refuse to stop riding despite the increasing number killed in traffic.

SUBTITLE HELP – For all subtitle questions please see here: The best way for viewers to resolve any issues in their experience is to contact our support team here:

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Engagement Reaches Three-Year High

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Story Highlights

  • 32.9% of U.S. employees "engaged" in workplace in February
  • This is the highest monthly average recorded in three years
  • The majority of U.S. workers are still "not engaged"

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The percentage of U.S. workers engaged in their jobs rose from an average 31.7% in January to an average 32.9% in February. The latest monthly rate of employee engagement is the highest Gallup has recorded in three years and is a full 1 1/2 percentage points above where it stood in February 2014.

The February 2015 estimate is based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted with 5,993 adults employed for an employer. Gallup categorizes workers as engaged based on their responses to key workplace elements that it has found predict important organizational performance outcomes.

Gallup began its daily survey of U.S. workplace engagement in January 2011. At its peak, the rate of U.S. employee engagement reached 33.8% in March 2011, followed by 33.6% in January 2012. Since then, monthly engagement has consistently averaged less than 33%.

Recent Engagement and Employment Trends Align

With only a third of U.S. employees engaged at work, half (50.3%) are "not engaged" and 16.8% are "actively disengaged." The slight gain in February engagement may be partially attributable to the nation’s economic situation. As unemployment continues to dip and more workers find jobs, companies may be facing renewed issues with retention, leading them to…

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Forget Black Friday, think of Small Business Saturday and support your Main Street

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Small business sign

This sign is making the rounds of the internet this year, pointing out that money spent in a small business pretty much stays in the community, in the pockets of local families, instead of being shipped out to some megacorp. There are studies that prove it; a look at Grand Rapids, Michigan found that "when West Michigan consumers choose a locally owned business over a non-local alternative, $73 of every $100 spent stays in the community. By contrast, only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business remains in the community."

Small business Saturday

That’s why I have never been crazy about Buy Nothing Day (someone has to buy cheese and coffee from my kids) and I am such a fan of Small Business Saturday. People need stuff and it is coming into holiday shopping season, but where you spend your money matters. As Michael Shuman wrote:

Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.

Stephanie Meeks of the National Trust for Historic Preservation notes:

When we invest in small businesses, we are investing in Main Streets – the places that give our towns and cities a unique sense of place. By celebrating Small Business Saturday and shopping at…

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Post Office Considering Significant Changes

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This whole debate about the future of the US Postal Service has me confused and I thought it was relevant to address on SISG because so much of what we talk about here passes through either the USPS, UPS or FedEX.

These days its seems like everyone from Congress to talking heads has a plan to fix the Post Office but I have to say most of the ideas and options I keep hearing seem insane.

A core part of plans is to eliminate Saturday mail delivery.  This option makes very little sense to me and eliminates one of the USPS’s primary competitive advantages over its competition.  The USPS is the only carrier who will deliver letters and packages on Saturday as part of its normal non-surcharge service.  To be fair FedEX Ground also does normal Saturday delivery but its mostly packages.

To me eliminating Saturday mail service would be a body blow to the USPS.  One that they may not recover from.

Another point I don’t see raised often enough is the relationship people have with the USPS.  Personally I prefer the USPS over all other options unless I’m shipping something very large.  I find their service to be much more customer friendly – because they care about residential deliveries. 

I avoid UPS at all cost however sometimes its not possible.  I find their service to be terrible and they have an attitude that they can care less about residential deliveries.  This is one thing USPS should be emphasising – that relationship they have with…

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Self-driving cars might be “a coming congestion disaster”

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Old image self driving car

In most of TreeHugger’s discussions about the future of our cities in the era of the self-driving car, I have taken the position that "The autonomous car will likely be shared, smaller, lighter, slower, and there will likely be about a tenth as many of them." That’s because our current cars are parked 90 percent of the time, which is unnecessary with a self-driving car, it can just to serve someone else. However transit expert Jarrett Walker sees the opposite happening in his post Self-Driving Cars: A Coming Congestion Disaster?

He doesn’t think they will necessarily be shared, because "The ownership model is closer to the status quo, and the status quo always has enormous power." He also thinks that these cars will be very busy indeed, and will not just be sitting around parked 90 percent of the time like our current cars are. He describes a nightmare scenario posited by the University of Washington’s Mark Hollenbeck:

A suburban father rides his driverless car to work, maybe dropping his daughter off a at school. But rather than park the car downtown, he simply tells it to drive back home to his house in the suburbs. During the day, it runs some other errands for his family. At 3 pm, it goes to the school to bring his daughter home or chauffeur her to after-school activities. Then it’s time for it to drive back into the city to pick up Dad from work. But then, on a lark, Dad decides to go shopping at a downtown department store after work, so he tells…

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11 buy-nothing gifts of time

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Giving someone a great gift they’ll really treasure doesn’t mean dropping a ton of cash. Sometimes the best gift you can give a friend or loved one is something you can’t buy in stores: your time. This year, why not skip the store-bought gifts and give your loved ones a little bit of TLC instead? We’ve come up with 11 ideas that are sure to yield plenty of love and memories this holiday season. From cooking them their favorite meal to hosting a movie night featuring all of their favorite flicks, read on for our favorite gifts of time.

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