Archive for the ‘sustainability’ Category

Tweet Last night I finally watched the movie Elysium┬áby South African director Neill Blomkamp. Besides falling back on typical meaningless violence and starting plot lines that were never fully explored, the sci-fi movie had a great premise. It posed a world where the “have nots”, mostly composed of hispanics and black people, lived in the detritus of blighted urban landscapes wracked by air pollution, poverty and little access to medical care and the “haves” lived on a space station that was mostly made up of resorts and golf courses and every home was equipped by a miraculous healing machine that…

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Tweet Not unlike women in Saudi Arabia that are banned from riding their bikes in public today, at one time women in the US faced the same kind of resistance to biking as well. The first drop frame bicycles to make it easier for women in skirts to ride came about in the 1890s. But at the same time, male doctors decried the overexertion to delicate female constitutions that was caused by bicycling. And women who rode bikes were often depicted as a little bit crazy and wild. Bicycles were even accused of deflowering younger women, causing spontaneous orgasms, encouraging…

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May 28, 2014

The Problem with Neighborhood Greenways

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet Neighborhood Greenways have been touted as the best way to make biking safe and appealing on American streets. They are low-cost, at only $250,000 per mile as opposed to $4 to $5 million per mile for cycle tracks, they don’t require heavy modification of existing streets, and they are easy to engineer. The concept of Neighborhood Greenways was developed by Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Greg Raisman and Mark Lear as a feasible way to make bicycling easy and safe for anyone who wants to bike. Having been first implemented in 2009 in Portland, they were widely installed in 2010…

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May 27, 2014

Immigrants and Sustainability

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet My mother, who grew up in a small village called Koday in the northwest province of Gujrat in India, doesn’t waste a thing, even though she now lives in a nice 2500 square foot house in suburban Chandler, Arizona. She once told me that to save water in 1940s rural India, they used ashes to clean their cooking pots. Now that’s sustainability! Today, she saves all the plastic bags that come as roti packaging for later use, she washes plastic cups and forks and reuses them and without fail, she insists on packing a lunch for every significant outing…

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Tweet I moved to Portland from Phoenix essentially for its reputation for bicycling and transit, knowing that I could lead a car free life relatively easily here. But this weekend, I found out that Portland has not always been “America’s Bicycle Capital”. I went to the premier of Aftermass, a movie directed by Microcosm publisher and moviemaker Joe Biel that documents the tenuous beginnings of the bicycling culture in Portland. It reveals, through a series of interviews and historic footage of key events what an uphill battle it’s been to normalize bicycling in this city, starting with Critical Mass bike…

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Tweet This morning, the city of Portland issued a boil water notice for 670,000 customers of the Portland Water Bureau after finding traces of E. Coli in two of Mt. Tabor’s open-air reservoirs. This is significant in light of the city’s controversial move towards covering the reservoirs. Would this E. Coli incident have happened if the city had discontinued its open-air reservoirs over 6 years ago when the federal mandate to do so was issued? Portland is currently in the process of shutting down the use of the open-air reservoirs on Mt. Tabor and is constructing new covered reservoirs at…

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May 06, 2014

An Introduction to Subversive Transportation

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet The Wikipedia definition of subversion is: “an attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power, authority, and hierarchy. Subversion (Latin subvertere: overthrow) refers to a process by which the values and principles of a system in place, are contradicted or reversed.” In some parts of the world, just going to school is a subversive act. In others, two males holding hands is subversive. When you think about it, even something as innocuous as buying your produce at a farmer’s market is an act of subversion. These acts may seem small and insignificant, but they are…

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February 07, 2014

5 Ways Weird Weather Brings People Together

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet Weather is something that transcends all categories of people, that’s why talking about the weather is so popular – because we ALL experience it! The weather doesn’t discriminate, that’s for sure! In Portland, we’ve had what I call a freak snow storm that has left 6 inches of snow on the ground and is expected to bring another 5 inches today. I was so bowled over by this weather event I sat entranced in my apartment for four hours staring out the window at the snow falling and being blown around by the wind. One of the amazing side…

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Tweet Today’s post is the third installment of the Livability 101 Series. Check out installments one and two if you missed them! What do you do when it’s below freezing, the streets are icy and you don’t own a car? This is a true test of livability in your city. For me, as a newcomer to Portland and never having biked in the snow and ice, the frigid temperatures put a wrench in my normal commuting patterns. Why biking is out and that’s OK Biking in below freezing weather when there is snow on the ground is out for me…

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Tweet I attended my first bike move today. You might be wondering what a bike move is. I had never heard about it either until my avid bike mover friend Marina (today was her 29th) was telling me about it a few months ago. So, people get together to help people move, which is wonderful but maybe isn’t so unusual. The amazing part is that they help people move by bike, meaning they take everything, and I mean everything – including beds, couches, refrigerators, you name it – on bikes and bike trailers. I was amazed when I heard about…

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