Thursday, November 29, 2012

Public transit fares are for rationing, not revenue

The Mainlander | Progressive alternatives to Translink’s fare hike: "Fare increases also deter ridership. BC Ferries’ recent fare hike caused a decline in ridership. When Translink first proposed the current fare increases, they anticipated a 2% decline in ridership because people would switch to cars. But as we seek to address climate change, we want more, not fewer, people to use public transit. Therefore, we should reduce fares to get people out of their cars and onto public transit."

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pacific Trails Pipeline forbidden on tribal land

Occupy Wall Street | NYC Protest for World Revolution: "On November 20, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Toghestiy intercepted and issued an eagle feather to surveyors from the Can-Am Geomatics company, working for Apache’s proposed shale gas Pacific Trails Pipeline. In Wet’suwet’en law, an eagle feather is used as a first and only notice of trespass. The surveyors were ordered to leave the territory and the road entering into the territory has been closed to all industry activities until further notice.

Since July of 2010, the Wet’suwet’en have established a camp in the pathway of the Pacific Trails Pipeline. Likhts’amisyu hereditary chief Toghestiy states, “Unist’ot’en and Grassroots Wet’suwet’en have consistently stated that they will not allow such a pipeline to pass through their territory. The federal and provincial governments, as well as Indian Act tribal councils or bands, have no right or jurisdiction to approve development on Unist’ot’en lands. By consulting only with elected Indian Act tribal councils and bands, the Canadian government breaks its own laws as outlined in the 1997 Supreme Court of Canada Delgamuukw decision which recognizes Hereditary adjudication processes.”"

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Auto culture causing oil demand and pipeline pain

"Carrier Sekani Tribal Chief Terry Teegee was one of the organizers of the recent Indigenous-led 3 day protest that occurred this past October throughout British Columbia, against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain and the Trans Canada Keystone XL pipelines. "

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Science journalists ask Harper to stop muzzling research and free expression | The Vancouver Observer

Science journalists ask Harper to stop muzzling research and free expression | The Vancouver Observer: ""Over the past four years, journalists and scientists alike have exposed the disturbing practices of the Canadian government in denying journalists timely access to government scientists. Open letters to your government from concerned journalists have been followed by editorials and public lectures calling for improved access. Still, cases of government muzzling of publicly funded scientists continue," the letter reads."

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Yes, Virginia, Human Emissions Do Cause Climate Change [video] « Father Theo's Blog

Yes, Virginia, Human Emissions Do Cause Climate Change [video] « Father Theo's Blog: "Here’s why they call it anthropogenic climate change.  The clever folks over at the US National Academy of Sciences explain in chapter 4 how we know that climate change is human caused.
The blaming part?  Our children will do that, if we don’t do something quick about our bad habits."

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Is Earth Warming? [video] « Father Theo's Blog

Is Earth Warming? [video] « Father Theo's Blog: "I know Earth is warming.  You know Earth is warming.  It’s obvious that Earth is warming.
But if you need to watch a video that proves that Earth is warming, then Father Theo will present an authoritative video for you.  The US Academy of Sciences put it together.  "

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Masters Planning: Translink's 2013 Base Plan: A lesson in contrasts

Masters Planning: Translink's 2013 Base Plan: A lesson in contrasts: "What they've stated as 'financial challenge' should really be translated as 'political failure'. The fact that our Minister is posing with car, on the world's widest bridge (at 65m wide...last holder of that title was only 49m wide), at a highway expansion project well into the billions of dollars, and yet we can't find the money to provide equitable bus service for our region shows where this government's priorities are. This is unacceptable."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Car sharing getting popular -- saves money!

Car2go, one of Vancouver's car share companies. Photo by w.d.worden in Your BC: The Tyee's Photo Pool.
Do Car Shares Reduce a City's Footprint? - - Mobile: "A year back, Alexis Hinde decided to try an experiment: she ditched her private vehicle and switched to a car sharing group. Since then, she said she's sharply cut back the time she drives."

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Eric Doherty: Shifting context puts billion-dollar Pattullo Bridge project on shaky footing | Vancouver, Canada |

Eric Doherty: Shifting context puts billion-dollar Pattullo Bridge project on shaky footing | Vancouver, Canada |
“Global warming and the end of cheap oil means we need to focus on improving transit instead of roadway expansion for cars and trucks” said Steve Burke, the spokesperson for the Surrey Citizens Transportation Initiative.

With the unprecedented heat wave, drought, and fires south of the border, the public is waking up to the reality of global warming as an immediate crisis and are looking for real action.
For its part, the Wilderness Committee has stepped up with one of the first solutions-oriented campaigns against tar-sands expansion. The Transit Not Tankers petition calls for a “shift from spending our money on new highways to investing it in public transit and passenger rail."

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Adding Juice to La Niña

Climate Change Makes Climate Systems More Extreme
The flow of surface waters in the South Pacific ocean has a profound effect on the world’s weather.  The system known as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can both warm the planet with El Niño, or cool the planet with La Niña.  2011 was a double-La Niña year.
Of course, climate on a local scale is not necessarily in lock-step with everything happening everywhere on the planet.  While La Niña years are cooler on a global scale, they are also consistent with hotter, drier summers in the American southwest, for instance.  Of course, the heatwave that struck the USA last year led to the second-warmest summer for the country as a whole, and the hottest summers ever recorded in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana.
The La Niña system is consistent with heavy rainfall in places like Colombia.  But the rains in 2011 were catastrophically heavy, killing 425 across Colombia, causing billions of dollars in damages, with at least 3 million people affected by floods and mudslides.
La Niña also brought drought and famine to East Africa, adding to the affects of a long-term drying trend in the region.
In Zimbabwe, they experienced the heaviest January rainfall in three decades.  The second wettest summer in the Australian record brought record-breaking rain to New South Wales and Victoria and widespread flooding in Queensland.  The extent of the flooding in Queensland was almost the size of France and Germany combined.
What happened in 2011 was La Niña-plus.  Globally, it was the warmest La Niña-year on record.  Climate change has already raised the level of water vapour in the atmosphere by 4% which means that there is more rain to fall out of it when it does fall.  When La Niña drops rain on Colombia and Australia, it drops a lot of rain.  And, with the planet already warmed by climate change, with earlier springs and drier soils, that means when La Niña brings heat to Texas it is adding to what is already there.
The result is starvation in Africa, floods in Australia and Colombia, fires and agricultural failures in Texas.
Systems like El Niño or La Niña have always been around to influence the climate.  According to a recent study, however, La Niña-related heatwaves in Texas are now 20 times more likely to occur than 50 years ago.
La Niña doesn’t really mean quite what it used to mean and the difference is not in our favour.  Chaos seldom is.  Unfortunately, because of the ongoing influence of changes in atmospheric composition, the addition of carbon dioxide from deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels, the chaos is likely to ramp up for the foreseeable future.
Climate change is already a fact of life.  That’s obvious.
It’s also obvious that we need to act before the chaos that climate change brings is beyond the capacity of our civilization to cope with.
Looking around, looking at merely the last three or four years, that critical point–beyond which effective action is impossible–doesn’t seem very far off.  Not far off at all. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Free Riders and Wildfires

My local Skytrain station has been undergoing construction for some time now.  Last year they closed down one entrance for several months to rebuild the stairs.  This year they tore down the stairs to build a turnstile and accompanying bureaucratic paraphernalia – to fight against free riders.

It’s already been calculated that the money they save from stopping free riders will never recoup the cost of building the turnstiles.  So the government is spending our money in order to, um, lose money.

Free riders bother some people’s minds so much that spending useless money fighting it appears logical to them.

Honestly, it has never been the free riders on the buses that bother me; it’s the free riders in the cars.  We all pay taxes to build the roads, just like we all pay taxes to build the transit system.  But cars ride free while pedestrians have to pay.

The real free riders.

If we are going to have free riders, honestly, I’d rather it be pedestrians.  They are not sending 11 tons of pollution into the atmosphere every year like your average commuter car.

Which the owners also insist on dumping for free.

Why should I pay to pollute? the free riders ask.

Well, because there are real costs sending carbon dioxide into the biosphere, actually, that somebody eventually is going to have to pay.  And logically it should be those who incurred those costs.

What kinds of costs?  Well, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, not your usual bunch of eco-radicals, financed a study into the affects of climate change on wildfires in British Columbia.  The study found that over the next forty years, the number of wildfires may increase more than 50%. British Columbia is already suffering an increased burn because of earlier springs and hotter weather brought on by climate change, averaging 2000 fires a year from 2000 to 2010.

An extra 1000 fires a year in British Columbia on top of our already disastrous 2000 is an extra cost, a major one, but only one among many, that future generations will have to pay..

That’s why, as far as I’m concerned, pedestrians should ride free.  Pedestrians aren’t messing with my grandchildren’s (or children’s) future.

Cars are.

But I’m not saying put tolls on the streets.  Equality is fine for now.  I just say, if cars ride free, then pedestrians should too.

With free transit, people will get out of their cars anyway without anybody forcing or inconveniencing them.
We’ll all win from that.

And it will really put a dent in the free rider problem.  The free riders on the streets and highways, that is.

Reposted from Father Theo’s Blog The Free Rider Problem

Friday, June 8, 2012

Because spills occur: No Enbridge

We don't want the Northern Gateway pipeline to pass through British Columbia because, frankly, it is not in our civilization's interest to take any of this oil out of the ground at all.  We already have too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and too much damage has already been done.  However, there are other reasons to oppose Enbridge and the Gateway project that even climate change deniers can understand.

When they build pipelines, they have spills.  Spills look like the picture on the right.  And most don't occur conveniently by a road so they are easy to deal with.

Some occur by rivers.  For instance, this one here near Red Deer, Alberta:

They intend to build the Northern Gateway pipeline through some of the wildest, most remote--and pristine--wilderness on the planet.  Hazards include avalanches in the Rockies and the Coast Range, floods over literally hundreds of streams, wildfires, storms, and that's before we get to the coast and load it all up on gigantic tankers and send them through narrow channels out to Hecate Strait, one of the most treacherous bodies of water on the planet.

It's not a good idea.

The number of permanent jobs the pipeline will create in British Columbia is less than 60.  The number of streams that will be endangered by the pipeline is reportedly more than 200.  That's just bad math.

Friday, May 18, 2012

People want #publictransit. Let's get going.

University of B.C. students support TransLink's Moving Forward Plan for funding: "Unfortunately, while environmentally conscious university students stand at bus stops each day, the government of British Columbia is ignoring their good intentions, by failing to fund an adequate system of rapid transit in the Lower Mainland."

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

$27Million dollars to collect fares

Metro Vancouver’s transit police costs increase 110 per cent in five years: report: "Martin Crilly noted in an efficiency review of the transit authority that it cost $27.1 million last year to run the Transit police — a 111-per-cent increase since 2006, which is partly because of additional officers assigned to the Canada Line."

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bike unfriendly Vancouver BC

Here's a photo of the latest work the City of Vancouver has done to improve life for cyclists

Yes, they filled in a gap in a cement curb that previously allowed cyclists to ride through a park and avoid the many large, toxic trucks in the surrounding area.

This is a park (Strathcona) that has a bicycle rack in the middle of it but no bicycle access, unless you stop and lift your bike up over the curb, not an easy feat for older or younger folks or those of us who carry heavy loads.

Over a decade ago, I formally requested that the curbs be cut to allow cyclists to more easily use this safer route.  It could link up the Adanac bikeway with National Avenue that runs past the Via train station to the Main Street Spytrain Station.  There's a new artificial turf park on the road (with uncovered bike racks) and the City's engineering yard (with over a kilometre of free car parking: hmm, why weren't meters put here?).

When I made my request, I was told it would take 7 years.  That's how long the queue was then for requested curb cuts, for both bicycles and wheelchairs and strollers and scooters, etc.

Well, it took longer than 7 years but they finally got to it.  Only they filled it up instead of cutting it out.  Thanks.

And while we're on the topic of making it easier to cycle in Vancouver, the by-law fining people who tie up pets outside of businesses is another case in point.

Only car drivers can legally access businesses with a pet in tow.  Pedestrians, Cyclists, Bus Riders and the rest of the non-motorized population are criminalized if we bring our pets with us.

Oh, is that it?  No, no, no.  I could fill up your hard drive with issues that criminalize or threaten my life as a cyclist every single day.  Buttons that don't change lights (why did they spend $60,000 of our money for each of these?), painted lines that don't stop cars from killing cyclists, green (bike route) signs and 30 km/h signs that most drivers don't even notice (and don't enforce safe driving on those that do), yada, yada, yada.

If you'd care to, send a word of thanks in to your local councillor or mayor for making it easier and safer to travel in the city without killing other people or the planet.  

Business is not usual, for the planet and for humans.

Frankly, Vision's Vancouver is not the one for me, thank you.

dave olsen

Saturday, January 28, 2012

1% throws seniors under the bus

Seniors unhappy with loss of their bus service: "Nanaimo's Parks, Recreation and Culture department has eliminated a bus service for seniors in a cost-cutting measure.
Grace Tickson spoke out on behalf of seniors at the last meeting of city council and voiced her displeasure with the decision. "

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Tempers flare ahead of B.C. pipeline hearings | CTV News

Tempers flare ahead of B.C. pipeline hearings | CTV News: "Tensions surrounding the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline are expected to bubble over this week when public hearings on the embattled project begin.

Discussions will kick off on Tuesday in Kitimat, B.C., site of the project's proposed oil tanker port.

More than 4,300 individuals and groups are slated to speak at the regulatory hearings, which will stretch out over the next 18 months across British Columbia and Alberta."

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