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.

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.

Ways to Create Sustainable Packaging and Shipping

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Americans generate about 260 million tons of trash every year. Packaging materials alone account for about 40 percent of that waste. Clearly, for businesses to become more sustainable and reduce their environmental footprint, it is important to focus on packaging, shipping and logistics. Here are some solutions that address the issue.

Optimize the Size of Packages

Creating Eco-friendly Airport Systems for the Future

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Airports have traditionally been viewed as a prime source of anti-environmental activity. Whether it is the high amount of air pollution from the airplanes, the high energy consumption levels within the airport, or the noise pollution that is generated as a plane takes off or lands, the airport systems have been low on sustainability in almost every major area.

ICT Can Have a Huge Impact in Reducing Carbon Emissions

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - We hear a lot about smart technology these days: smart cars, smart cities, smart grid, etc., with an implied promise that these smart things will be far more efficient than their less gifted predecessors, thereby allowing us to reduce carbon emissions. Of course, those claims are generally being made by those selling the smart things, so then it’s fair to ask, how much of this is simply hype?

While the British telecommunications giant BT, is not exactly an objective source, their recent report, entitled, “The role of ICT in reducing carbon emissions in the EU,” takes an in-depth look at the opportunities being offered and then projects those savings forward. The results are certainly impressive. While technology alone cannot solve the problem, they can play a significant role, though clearly there will be commitments and investments required to realize this potential.

The report builds on the SMARTer 2030 report produced by GeSI with Accenture, which showed that globally, ICT could potentially hold 2030 emissions at 2015 levels. This report looks specifically at the EU, which is further along the path than many other places, has more resources, and perhaps commitment as well to allow it to go further.

According to the report, information and communications technology, or ICT, can potentially save 1.5 GT of CO2e in the year 2030. That’s fully 2.7 times greater than the full carbon emissions of the UK in 2012, and 37% of the EU’s 2012 emissions. Of course, we know that all those server farms and cell towers use a lot of energy themselves, but according to the report, the ICT emissions overhead is only about 5.3%.

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