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Guest Post - Katie Alvord - Divorce Your Car

by: Heather on 01/14/2011

This just in from Katie Alvord - author of Divorce Your Car!
Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile. This article originally appeared on World Streets and is reprinted by permission.)

For your next Car Free Day, go on a diet.

When it comes to transport, we’ve become obese. I mean this in multiple senses. Our population of vehicles has burgeoned; already around 1 billion worldwide, it’s expected to double within just 20 years. The vehicle miles we travel, or VMT, continue to swell; just in the U.S., for instance, VMT now fluctuates around 250 billion per month – trillions per year – and grows each month by an average 200 million more. Even our waistlines have expanded due to excess motor vehicle travel; one study attributes six extra pounds to the extra driving done by typical suburbanites.

Losing Transport Fat with Car Diets:
Cutting VMT Instead of Calories for Multiple Benefits

We’re all too familiar with the downsides of these trends. VMT growth means that greenhouse gas emissions continue out of control, making mitigation of climate change ever more costly and difficult. Vehicles added to the global fleet, still mainly internal combustion and petrol-powered, further denigrate air quality and sicken urban populations. Additional health problems stemming from lack of exercise and obesity – heart disease, diabetes, and more – shorten lives and strain budgets, costing $150 billion per year in the U.S. alone.

To the various interest groups grappling with these major issues, here’s a suggestion: consider car diets. The “diet” – most often associated with cutting consumption of calories – can be a useful model for addressing all these issues at once. Car diets – here defined as cutting not calories, but VMT – can be approached both on an individual and collective basis, and have benefits both ways.

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The Best Place on Earth

by: Heather on 01/26/2010

On the eve of the Games, as Olympic fever slams into high gear, a group of Gabriola activists has released a new video highlighting child poverty in the province of BC. According to First Call, British Columbia's child and youth advocacy coalition, BC had the highest child poverty rate in Canada for the sixth year in a row in 2007, and over one …

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One Laptop per Child Afghanistan devises Pedal-Powered Laptop

by: Heather on 10/19/2009

The mission of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is "to create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning". In its first year of operation the group provided hundreds of …

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Earth Overshoot Day

by: Heather on 09/22/2009

This coming Friday, September 25th, the planet will "celebrate" Earth Overshoot Day - the day humanity uses up all the resources nature will generate this year. According to the Global Footprint Network, Earth Overshoot Day marks the day on which our total ecological footprint is equal to the biocapacity that nature can regenerate in that year.

The …

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Too Hot - Need Some Rain...

by: Heather on 07/29/2009

Too hot to think, too hot to breathe, too hot to blog.

So in lieu of scintillating reading, I bring you the rain that my garden so desperately needs (and thanks to Sandy H. - from whose Facebook page I scooped the link)!

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