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Showing posts from November, 2006

We're Curling Team From Sweden

The petition to promote cycling in Canada is here.

Velo News had an interview with Steve Johnson regarding his first six months as President of USA Cycling.
Based on this quote, I think he'd sign our petition:
Johnson believes "the time of the automobile is rapidly drawing to a close, and I see the bike as a wonderful vehicle for transportation, health and fitness, and everything else that is wrong with America."

So I'm curling this year. I grew up curling, but was away from the sport for years. I curled a bit around 1999 / 2000 at the Royal Canadian Curling Club downtown, but then I had another break.
I started the job at UOIT and it turned out that one of my co-workers (who I think was an even bigger high-school curling nerd than I was) was looking for a male curler for her mixed team at the Tam Heather club in north Scarborough.

I was a little bit reluctant to take up curling again. Despite the fun of the game, the friendly, social, boozing aspect of it, the commute fro…

Yosemite Sam

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I've come across some interesting documents recently, all of which are available for free online.

The Bicycle and Urban Sustainability by David Tomlinson, who in 2003 was at York University, and now seems to be with the City of Toronto Transportation Services.

Mr. Tomlinson does a good survey of why modern cities are not sustainable and how the bicycle can come to the rescue. At one point, talking about auto accidents he uses the sentence While the carnage inflicted by automobiles certainly changes the lives of countless crash victims and their families, the fear of traffic accidents can affect everyday travel choices. That's a fairly sad sentence on many levels, but for cyclists it is sad because Tomlinson goes on to explain that it is primarily the "fear" of being in an accident that keeps people from choosing to ride their bike to work.
He also mentions this idea, which I'd actually never heard before:
Short automobile trips generate the most pollution, per kilome…

America & climate change

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The Promotion of Cycling in Canada petition is here.


As reported in the Toronto Star yesterday, the best thing about the recent American election might be an about-turn on U.S. environmental policy. Up until the election, the U.S. Senate's environmental committee was headed by one James Inhofe, a Republican Senator from Oklahoma. Inhofe has compared environmentalists to Nazi's, and on the issue of American atrocities in Iraq, and the torturing of prisoners, Inhofe believes that they deserve every bit of abuse they get. Inhofe also believed that climate change was a hoax, and used his power to block any initiatives that would combat climate change.
The new head of this committe is a California Democrat named Barbara Boxer. She has already called for massive cuts in carbon emissions.

Thank God people like Inhofe, and Joe Barton (who I wrote about here) are gone now. If the U.S. makes a big push on the environmental issue, hopefully it'll impress Harper and Ambrose enough to ope…

The Petition is up

I have posted the petition asking the feds to take steps to promote cycling as a means of transportation on a website called Go Petition. I called it Promotion of Cycling in Canada. (click the link and you'll be at the petition).

It is the second draft without corrections. Thank you to everyone who offered suggestions and comments. If it looks like I totally ignored them, these are probably the reasons:

I didn't want this petition to get out of hand. I.E. everything about asking the government to end the hidden car subsidies should probably go in another petition.
In a word - length. In the reading I've done it appears that petitions should be very short, this one is already way over it's word limit.

So please sign it if you agree with the idea. I'm probably going to leave it up collecting signatures until sometime in January. It'll probably take me that long to find an MP to read this in the House of Commons (if anyone has an IN with their MP let me know!) Plus, t…

The 2nd draft

Okay, I'd welcome any suggestions on this draft, and then I'll put this up on a petition signing site.
I've basically shifted the focus away from "give us a tax credit" to "give us something!" and I list a few initiatives the gov. could take to promote cycling as a climate change solution. Any obvious initiatives that I've left out I'd love for you to mention.
I've also tried to streamline this a little bit. I don't think petitions are supposed to be anywhere near this long.
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Dear Ms. Abrose, Mr. Cannon, Mr. Flaherty, and Ms.Gelinas:

At a time when environmental protection has become one of the top priorities for Canadians, we, the undersigned, request that the Canadian government do all in its power to promote cycling as a climate-change solution.

In the summer of 2006, the Canadian government took steps to promote public transit as a climate change solution by offering a tax credit to pub…

If there's any way I can get out there again and finish it, I will

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(quote above spoken by Terry Fox as he lay on a stretcher, telling reporters he was halting the Marathon of Hope because his cancer had spread into his lungs. See clip below.)

The first draft of the petition regarding a tax credit for cyclists is here. I should have a final version up on a petition signing site early in the week.

I kind of feel like I've gone off topic (i.e. cycling) and have been ranting on a soapbox for a little while. I promise I'll shut up and go back to basics once I finish this petition.

The David Suzuki foundation has just released a report which basically says that the federal and provincial governments in Canada have done nothing to effectively combat climate change.

Canada is getting a reputation for being too cowardly to make the sacrifices necessary to fight climate change.

And it's true. After signing Kyoto and saying we'd join the war against global warming, we took a look at the numbers and said "Yikes! It'll be expensive! We're …

the economist on the Stern report

The Economist is not usually a place to find supportive words on green issues. When I read it I mainly do so for their international news. But, in Stern Warning in their Nov. 4th issue they actually come out in support of the Nicholas Stern report which basically argues that the economic impact of climate change will be astronomical, and that it will be far better in the long run to spend the money to avert climate change now, than to risk the economic disaster that climate change will bring in the future.

"Sir Nicholas may well err on the gloomy side. And it is certainly impossible to predict precisely what effect climate change will have had on the world economy in a century's time. But neither point invalidates Sir Nicholas's central perception - that governments should act not on the basis of the likeliest outcome from climate change, but on the risk of something really catastrophic (such as the melting of Greenland's ice sheet, which would raise sea levels by six …

Kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight

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If you're looking for The Petition - click here.

Over at BikingToronto Joe was reaffirming his vow to fight for biker's rights in the face of the onslaught of cars that we all face each day.

I'd like to hope that many more cyclists across the country will take up the torch and fight this battle as well. There's no doubt anymore (see the bottom of this post) that the planet is dying, and that cycling is one of the things that can save it. I refuse to believe that we're too lazy to try to fight this battle. It sickens me that the Conservatives have gone to Kenya for the latest talks on Kyoto trying to "renegotiate" the Kyoto terms because we can't meet our goals. We're the nation of Terry Fox. We're better than this.

As far as this petition goes - I know there are flaws with it. I know the math/logistics will be tough to figure out, I know it leaves out pedestrians' rights, I know it doesn't address penalizing drivers. But, I don't t…

As the americans go to the polls

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(If you're looking for the petition, keep scrolling, it's the next post down).

Hi everyone, this is just a short note because I'm preoccupied today with the American elections, a prof who has given an assignment that I'm not sure is possible for her students to do, and a class I'm teaching this afternoon....
BUT -
A thought on what this petition is all about. Ideally, yes I'd like to encourage more people to get on their bikes, and somehow reward those of us who are already biking while our neighbours fly by in their steel-cans. Perhaps more importantly though, I'd like to force the government's hand and have them enact legislation that would more or less say "Our preferred way for Canadians to travel is by bike and public transit."
Whatever this petition evolves into, I hope that it will go some way towards legitimizing cycling as a means of transit.

So what will this petition evolve into?

Maybe it'll be the tax credit it is so far aimed a…

A first draft of the petition - tax credits for cyclists

First - I just found a WWF petition regarding Kyoto that people might like to sign.
World Wildlife Fund petition for Canada to meet its Kyoto Targets

Second - Below is my first draft of the petition regarding a tax credit for cyclists. I welcome any and all comments /suggestions. I'm sure there are some good editors out there and people with good ideas. Let me know what you think. After we go through a couple drafts and are happy, I'll find a place on the web to post it for people to sign.

The addressees are the Minister of the Environment (Ambrose), the Minister of Transportation (Cannon), the Minister of Finance (Flaherty) and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (Gelinas).

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Dear Ms. Abrose, Mr. Cannon, Mr. Flaherty, and Ms.Gelinas:

At a time when the international community is focusing on the environmental degradation of the planet with initiatives such as the Kyoto Accord, we, the undersigned, w…

What is hip?

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Although I was intending this post to be all about my new bike, other things have come up that I want to talk about as well.

First - is blogger's photo upload working for ANYBODY these days? I can't remember the last time it worked for me - I've had to do all my photos through Flickr. Thank God Jenny showed me how to do that a while back, or this would be one boring looking blog.

I haven't looked through the Allderblob much before, but I did yesterday, and it was awesome. Jacob Allderdice rants pretty much the way I would if I ever wrote this blog while drunk (i.e. if I loosened up and wasn't concerned about pissing people off). I love his Ban Car Advertisements letter to the Toronto Star, especially the line about the Star's frequent "Automotive" Section when he says "why don't you just have sections called "Tobacco!" and "Firearms!" as well?"
I mean really - the smoking industry got nailed because smoking causes can…

If I write it, will they sign?

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Part of what I do at work is shuffle government publications from one place to another, and yesterday I came across the 2006 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. The report is entirely devoted to climate change, and the fact that I came across this yesterday was very appropriate as the Nicholas Stern report on the costs of global warming came out yesterday as well.

The 2006 Commissioner's report is basically a very tame warning that climate change is happening and that the government needs to do something about it. It was actually prepared before the Conservative government here in Canada launched their already infamous Clean Air Act. The report says something like "the new government has promised it will introduce stiff measures to fight climate change, and we will be interested to see what they deliver."

After seeing the Clean Air Act (it could be summarized with the sentence "Let's not do anything about the environment for…