Transportation News

Hold the Beef. More Broccoli Please: Why Hong Kong’s Green Monday Movement Is Building a Flexitarian Globe

(3BL Media and Just Means)- After 13 years of pescetarianism, I might be reconsidering prosciutto and fried chicken. Tragic, to my purist, animal-loving friends, yes. But I feel like I don’t see the industrialization of animal production ending because I substitute tofu for chicken on my bacon-less Cobb salad. When I was a young twenty-something, I quickly gave myself to the anti-climate change, animal-loving campaigners at my university.

Florida’s Untapped Solar Power

(3BL Media/Just Means) I've spent the summer living in historic St. Augustine, Florida. The surf is great, the people are friendly and the sun shines brightly every single day. The sun is powerful here, powerful enough it seems to produce enough solar energy for most of the nation.

Sustainable Brands Detroit 2017 Sets Out to Redefine the Good Life


(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Sustainable Brands kicked off their 2017 event in downtown Detroit with a record crowd of over 2,000 attendees.  After a day filled with extended interactive workshops, the official welcome ceremony featured a who’s who of sustainability thought leaders. Koann Vikoren Skrzyniarz, Founder and CEO of Sustainable Brands, welcomed the crowd that packed the Cobo Center’s main hall. She set a somewhat sober tone for the event, citing that we live in an age of unintended consequences, and that we have clearly gotten off track in our pursuit of happiness. “Our push for productivity and efficiency has inclined us to forget how inextricably connected we are.”
But, she said, “Businesses are uniquely equipped…to help us shape our collective future.” Describing the decision to move from San Diego to Detroit, she called the actively rejuvenating Motor City, ‘a fantastic living lab.” Indeed Detroit could be the poster child for a place where the industrial age has run its course and is now ready for what comes next. Citing Harris poll data, she said that a clear shift is happening across the US in the definition of the good life.


Next, Kim Patel Ford’s VP of Sustainability spoke. Quoting her boss, Bill Ford, who she was standing in for, she said, “You can do good work for the planet and for the company.” Describing the company’s shifting commitment to mobility, she quoted Mayor Mike Dugan, who said, “Great if you have a good job, but if you can’t get there, what’s the point.” 

 
Cradle to Cradle originator Will McDonough made a number of terse, but punchy points.   
How do we make the world better because we are here?
Being less bad is not being good.
We need to think differently about carbon. There are three types: Fugitive carbon, Durable Carbon, and Living Carbon  We need less of the first one and more of the other two
By 2050, the weight of plastics in the ocean will be equal to the weight of all the fish.
As a roadmap for making things better he suggested five goods, to take the place of the numerous less bads.
Good Materials are safe, healthy, biological.
A Good Economy is circular, sharing, and shared
Good Energy is clean and renewable.
Good Water is clean and available.
A Good Life is creative and dignified.
What’s next is what’s now.
How much can we give for all that we get?  
Goodness is a living things.
It’s going to take forever, but that’s the point.

Some Facts Regarding the Safety of Oil and Gas Pipelines

(3BL Media/Justmeans) —Within the next few days, the US Army Corps of Engineers will grant an easement allowing Energy Transfer Partners to move forward with the controversial and much-opposed Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). President Trump has signed the order. Opponents have shifted their tactics to pressuring the banks financing the project, but it might be too late, as binding contracts have already been signed. Meanwhile, protestors have pledged mass resistance. If the project moves forward, it will be against environmental prudence, good judgment, or any concern for social justice. Like many decisions being made these days, facts seem to have little bearing on their outcome.

The fact is, these pipelines pose a considerable threat, to people, water supplies and the environment, not to mention the cultural impacts being delivered, yet again, to this country’s first inhabitants. In return for the risks, the benefits are small by comparison, with the exception of the considerable profits funneled to a small number of investors

The company behind DAPL, Energy Transfer Partners, currently manages some 62,500 miles of natural gas pipelines, and they are planning quite a few more. Just after election day, Sunoco Logistics, which is also involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline agreed to acquire ETP, for a reported $21 billion.

An environmental advocacy group called the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LBB) held a conference call last week in opposition to a 162-mile long Bayou Bridge pipeline being planned by the two companies that would connect refineries with export facilities on the Gulf coast. Note that despite the rhetoric about energy independence, this pipeline will be used for shipping American oil and gas overseas.

Climate-Smart Transport is Pivotal to a Sustainable World

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Transport accounts for 23 percent of global energy-related GHG emissions, and is one of the sectors where emissions are rising the fastest. Ironically, the transport sector is also one of the victims of climate change, with transport infrastructure being particularly vulnerable to the effects of higher temperatures, increased precipitations, and flooding.

Have You Already Bought Your Last Car?

(3BlLMedia/Justmeans) — It’s getting hard to know what’s really true anymore. There are a number of reasons for this: fake news, political mischief and perhaps even a greater tolerance for liars. But there is also another reason: technology. Technology is changing so fast, that when people make pronouncements about deliveries by drones, exploration of other planets, or a rapid transformation of the car industry from what it is today, to a preponderance of electric, self-driving cars that are no longer owned by car-owners but hailed by a tap on a smartphone, it’s hard to know if they are simply making all this up.

According to Christopher Mims, writing for the Wall Street Journal, the one about the cars is true. With the convergence of electric powertrains, self-driving technology and the growth of new ride-sharing business models, we could be looking at a transportation revolution on a par with what Henry Ford’s Model T did a century ago. Ford’s revolution happened surprisingly quickly. Car ownership leapt from 8% to 80% of the population in just ten years.  Is it about it to move that quickly in the opposite direction? A lot of trends seem to indicate that it could.

For one thing, there will be a multitude of attractive alternatives. Urban planners, concerned about making their cities greener, have put increased emphasis on public transit, bike lanes and walkable neighborhoods. For those too old or out of shape to walk or bike, new electrified bikes, scooters, and even skateboards can get you where you want to go quickly and affordability without wearing you out, safety concerns notwithstanding. These latter fall into the category of consumer electronics, vying for a market segment known as the last mile, getting a commuter home from a bus stop or train station.

These are some of the reasons why millennials seem to be opting out of car ownership. Surveys by the Urban Land Institute show that they are far less likely to use a car and more likely to use alternatives. Futurist Alex Steffen quipped that it’s because they can’t surf the web while driving. It’s more likely because they can visit their friends online without needing to drive over to their houses.

How to Engage Trump Supporters on Sustainability

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Last week’s US election was both a shock and a disappointment for many people around the world. It’s important to think about what happened and why. There are important lessons to learn for all, including those of us working for a more sustainable society.

What’s clear is that there are a lot of people in America who are struggling, people whose lives had fallen outside of the traditional scope of the compassionate liberal vision, with its focus on “underrepresented minorities.” As ironic as it seems, this election was decided by primarily white, working class voters, who had come to feel that they were underrepresented. Donald Trump spoke to these people. Whether or not he will help them remains to be seen, but when a person is suffering, what they want first is to be seen and heard.

The reason this matters in the sustainability fight is, that for these voters, the issue is not one they felt they could afford to pay attention to. When a man who is barely scraping by, has to drive 50 miles each way to a minimum wage job in a beat-up old pickup truck to feed his family, all he wants to know is how much will gas cost. Not only can he not afford a Prius, he wouldn’t want one. He needs that pickup to do odd jobs with, collect firewood, and find other ways to make ends meet.

Many of these people have lost the good-paying jobs they once counted on, in areas like manufacturing and the energy sector. These jobs were often swept away by changes in technology, as well as by global trade. Robots, ATMs, self-checkout lines, and soon, autonomous cars and trucks continue to squeeze out livelihoods, as does the export of manufacturing jobs to lower wage countries. Environmental concerns have also been cited, in slowing down coal production, for example, though cost competition from natural gas has been a far bigger factor. Laying all this at the feet of the president is a bit unfair. Most of these decisions are made by company executive, sometimes because their products are not competitive.

Democrats are angry and scared, but calling these people names, or painting them with the flaws of their candidate will not be helpful. All that can said definitively is that they felt strongly enough about the need for change to overlook those faults.

The biggest block of Trump supporters was rural, while the smallest came from big cities.  While demographers talk about the migration to cities and planners are looking at how make those cities sustainable as the potential salvation of our planet, there are still plenty of people—enough to swing an election—still living in the past century, for whom this is a corner they haven’t gotten to yet.

Many of these supporters come from areas that lack diversity. They have not had the opportunity to go to school with or become friends with children from other backgrounds while growing up. I don’t mean to oversimplify the issue of racism here, or in any way excuse it, but those who have had firsthand experience of other groups tend to be more tolerant. There is also the question of education, and perhaps even more disturbing is the impact that the right-wing media echo chamber (e.g. Fox News, Limbaugh, etc.) have had by spreading false information couched in inflammatory rhetoric.

These are the patterns and trends that now potentially block the path to a sustainable future. On the plus side, these folks obviously love their families, care about their children’s future and their own health. Many of them surely love the land and are sad to see it  being despoiled. If provided with the facts of the situation, they will see that a flourishing, sustainable future is in all of our best interests.

UPS Plans New Hybrid Electric Delivery Trucks

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – UPS (NYSE:UPS) has announced plans to add 200 new hybrid electric delivery trucks to its growing alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet. The trucks, manufactured by Workhorse Group, Inc., will be deployed in January 2017, starting in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, and possibly in other states as well.

The Essential Role of Logistics in a Growing Circular Economy

Guest Blog by Tamara Barker, UPS 

Electric Cars Are Coming on Strong

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Change takes time, but sometimes not as much time as one would have thought. A few short years ago, the idea of electric vehicles seemed like a tiny speck on a distant horizon—a toy for technophiles and early adapters. But even the Wall Street Journal says the EV’s will be here sooner than you think. And by here, they don’t mean on the fringes.

The numbers seem to bear this out. Worldwide, some 312,000 plug-in vehicles were sold in the first half of this year. That’s a 49% increase compared to last year. That growth rate, says Clean Technica, is roughly ten times that of the overall vehicle market. The biggest action was in China, where they grew 128% with home grown BYD vehicles providing the lion’s share. Japan came in second, and Europe, taken as a whole comes in third, with 21% growth before we get to the 18% growth seen here in the US.

Here at home, some 64,296 were sold through June. That is about one for every 150 cars sold. The top five models were Tesla Model S, Chevy Volt, Ford Fusion Energi PHEV, Tesla Model X, and Nissan Leaf with Tesla Model S sales roughly double that of the Leaf. Leaf sales have dropped recently in anticipation of a new model with significantly improved range, a phenomenon that has become common in the rapidly-changing EV world.

The tipping point, says WSJ, is the 200 mile range mark, which Tesla has already hit, and others, including the soon to be released Chevy Bolt, will meet and improve on.

Pages

Subscribe to Transportation