Archive for February, 2012

Lights. Turn Them Off. Even in Hallways.

Does anyone I know have the skills required to make a movie? I don’t, but I bet one of my readers does.

I’m moving into my girlfriend’s apartment and I find it quite irksome that BC Hydro is running ads periodically that ask me to unplug my cell phone, laptop, VCR or whatever while the lights are on in every hallway of every building every hour of every day of the entire year. They’re NEVER turned off. NEVER EVER. At least not in the residential buildings and maybe not in office buildings either.

I’m the farthest person you know from being a conspiracy theorist, but I do have a theory… I think BC Hydro wants to act like they care about the conservation of power, and at the same time, they don’t want their bottom line to take a hit. On some level, they know their ads will have little if any effect when they make advertisements about unplugging our office computers at the end of the day, but if they advertised what a drain it is to have hallway lights on 24/7 they’d actually sell less power and be less profitable.

And who wants to be less profitable? Not BC Hydro.

I’d LOVE it if I could see a time-lapse video of any hallway in any building. We could add up the amount of time someone is walking from the elevator to their door, or from their door to the elevator. I bet it’s less than an hour a day leaving 23+ hours per day that the lights in that hallway could be turned off.

Why don’t we use timer switches like they do in Europe? I would have thought our Mayor would be right on top of this. It’s green, and no one is inconvenienced. Not even in the slightest.

Bike lanes? Controversial. Turning off the lights when no one is using them? Not controversial.

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Electric Scooters Free? That makes no sense.

How apropos that I should see this meter while out this afternoon for lunch. It was near Main and 7th.

Electric Scooters Free? But why? The environmental savings happen when you switch from a 2000 cc car to a 49 cc scooter, after that, well, electric or gas is basically irrelevant. 49cc is 2.45% of a 2000 cc engine. And it sure isn’t a dimensional thing because they’re the same size. Electric scooters are often slower than gasoline ones, so they’re more likely to be found on sidewalks. Why is the city rewarding the vehicles that are more likely to be ridden on sidewalks?

And what about all the transit, carbon, provincial and federal taxes gasoline powered scooter owners pay when they spend $6 on a full tank of gas? Electricity doesn’t rain down from the sky. Valleys are flooded, atoms split or coal burned so it’s not as if electricity is “free”. Truthfully, this kind of thing cheeses me off. It’s PRETENDING to be green while ignoring the fact that if you can get people out of their cars in one of the rainiest cities in North America, the battle is won. Reward scooter and motorcycle riders don’t penalize the riders you’ve managed to wrestle out of their cars.

I think I’ll email the mayor and council. See what they say. Likely something political but with any luck, they’ll put it in writing.

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Scooters. They’re just plain awesome. Even compared to buses.

I don’t know about the general public, but I consider all bus lanes to be scooter and motorcycle lanes as well. It’s my opinion that if a return bus trip is $7.50 to and from work, and gasoline costs me $6 (cost of a full tank) for several days travel then I’ve satisfied the environmental requirement. My scooter is a 4 stroke, 125 cc Vino which means I’m not burning oil. And, Translink has put up “Motorcycle Ok” signs all over the place, so I’m going with “they forgot” with the rest of the bus lanes in Vancouver. I also just sent Translink an email to see how big their engines are in the buses and how many passengers they need to have it work out to 125cc/person. If it’s close, then more ammunition should I ever receive a ticket from the city. I’ll post a PS at the bottom when they get back to me.

And I know Vancouver is a wet city, but I still try to ride my scooter as often as possible.  That’s what I did this morning from North Vancouver over the Lion’s Gate Bridge to work at 4th and Main.

I usually take the 2nd Narrows Crossing because I’m closer to that bridge than the Lion’s Gate but this morning I changed it up. It wasn’t raining, I was dressed for the cold with long underwear, a fleece, windproof jacket and pants, a balaclava (thanks Mom, best Christmas present EVER) and I took Lion’s Gate Bridge.

Translink, among others, have recently renovated the north shore side of the bridge and extended the bus lane from North Vancouver virtually up to the bridge deck. Traffic this morning wasn’t too congested but I can’t believe how INCREDIBLE Y fast that bridge was this morning. I think I must have passed 40+ vehicles in my travels.

If scooters and motorcycles are going to continue to be cheaper than the bus then I wish more people would consider spending a little money on rain gear. Riding a scooter is AWESOME!

And by “cheaper than the bus” I mean I spend $30.49/month on insurance, and maybe $8 per week on gasoline. $65.13 per month to run a scooter means it’s half the cost of a 2 zone bus ticket. A 2nd hand scooter will run you between $1000 and $1500, or a new one for $2500 (at least that’s what I paid) so if you factor in a 2% repayment per month option on the new $2500 scooter, ALL IN you’re looking at $115.13 per month. ALL IN. Gas, insurance, tax, EVERYTHING, ALL IN.

So. Scooters. They’re the way forward.

And consider for a moment buying a gasoline one versus an electric one. They’re faster for one, so you’ll be able to keep up with traffic more easily which is safer. Gasoline takes about 5 minutes to “recharge” versus plugging in, and the REAL environmental savings is moving from a car to a scooter, not from a gas scooter to an electric scooter. If you’re on a scooter, then you’ve already won. Personally, if I had to choose between people getting out of their pick-up trucks into smaller 2L cars or people moving from 2L cars to hybrid cars, I pick the trucks to cars versus cars to cars. I digress. Anyway. Scooters. They’re the best.

And please, regardless of the size of your ride, consider lessons. I got my motorcycle licence when I was 16 at Action. I’ve only had one accident in 17 years and it wasn’t my fault.  Luck plays apart, but with people with an education often work out to be “luckier”.

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Ethical iPhones

I have a lot of posts in my mind. It’s been AGES since I’ve written, and January is traditionally our slower time of year. I’m developing stronger and stronger feelings about the pipeline Enbridge has planned, but I think I’ll kick things off with a post about iPhone and something I heard on This American Life http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/454/mr-daisey-and-the-apple-factory

Mr. Daisey wanted to know exactly where all his “crap” came from because he’s an “apple evangelist” (his words, not mine).  His  journey takes him to China where he meets and speaks to many employees at the different factories that make a myriad of the consumer goods the west consumes. He’s a story telling genius and does a pretty great job of allowing us to imagine what he is seeing on the ground.

Here’s a link my girlfriend found as a result of listening to the podcast. It’s all pretty powerful stuff. I encourage you to give it a listen. http://sumofus.org/campaigns/ethical-iphone/?sub=fb

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