Monday, February 28, 2011

The truth about orange juice

Alissa Hamilton is author of the book "Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice

Here's what the leading orange juice companies don't tell you:
- they strip the orange juice of oxygen so they can store it in huge tanks for up to a year
- this process also strips the juice of its orange juice flavors, so engineered "flavor packs" are added back to make it taste fresh
- without the flavor packs, which contain chemicals to simulate nature, the juice would taste like sugar water
-More details here:
Sue's Market in Richmond Hill sells 2L of freshly squeezed orange juice for $7.99, which is not much more expensive than the commercial stuff, plus it tastes way better and is better for you. Or, cut up a fresh Florida Valencia orange and awaken your senses to the taste that the major labels can't imitate.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Majestic Plastic Bag - A Mockumentary

This is brilliant... uses humour to educate.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

GO Station's days are numbered

The York University GO Station is in the boonies. It's about a 2km walk from campus. A free shuttle bus makes the trip for the 4 trains in the morning and 4 in the evening.

However, once the subway is extended to York University, the GO train connection will be moved to the new Sheppard West subway station, providing a multimodal link with the north part of the City. York's GO Station days are numbered. And that's a good thing!

Photos: 1) Way too much salt! 2) Station platform 3) new Presto fare card is coming 4) e-waste at the adjacent industrial warehouse

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gangzhou, China wins sustainable transport award

Guangzhou, one of China’s fastest growing cities, beat out other cities including Tehran, Iran; Lima, Peru; Leon, Mexico; and Nantes France to take this year’s top honors at the ITDP Sustainable Transport Awards.
The committee recognized Guangzhou for its new world-class BRT system that integrates with bike lanes, bike share and metro stations, raising the bar for all cities. Guangzhou’s new BRT attracts 800,000 passengers a day — more than 90% of the existing metro lines in the world.
The Sustainable Transport Award is given annually to the city that made most progress over the year to increase mobility for all residents while reducing transportation greenhouse and air pollution emissions and improving safety and access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Which has the higher density?

Intensification can be looked at in two ways. The towers at Jane/Rutherford, near Vaughan Mills in Maple, remind me of the picture on the left. They achieve high density, but are still not pedestrian, transit, or cyclist friendly, and are not a highly desirable place to live. The picture on the right, however, is more to the human scale, has quality asthetics and public realm, and achieves an even higher density than the left. Now if we could only get city planners and developers on board!

[from City of Hamilton Visioning Workshop]

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's Your Big Green Idea?

At the Sustainable Engineers Association Conference on Jan 15th, I challenged students to provide their big green ideas. What can the Provincial government be doing to be greener?Below are the responses. I've since put them on dotmocracy sheets and asked some of my colleagues if they agree. View the results of voting HERE.

  • Light rail in the median – should be more widespread (already beingplanned on Hwy 407); we should catch up; in between densely populated urban areas it would be a huge energy saver and also immune to congestion
  • Driver education interms of awareness of cyclists and how to treat them on the roads
  • Promotion of warm mix asphalt
  • Smaller buses onthe road, especially on lesspopulated routes and off-peak hours; smaller buses are more than enough for these applications and are more efficient
  • DVP bicycle tram (light rail) with major pick-up points (Salma Saad)
  • Major bike arteries, with private and tax deductible funding (Salma Saad)
  • Wider bicycle lanes on all major roads, like in Beijing, China
  • Single fare system between cities/regions. It is too expensive to commute downtown when you need to buy multiple passes (Radhika Sagar)
  • Piezoelectric type panels for electricity generation
  • Eliminate HOV lanes; they are not a way of saving the environment and a wasted lane when cars sit and idle
  • Increase cost of driving by charging road tolls; Implement a car tax a la Denmark
  • Solar cells on top of cars to power them or contribute to some of its power. In parking lots it can be plugged in to a system and the owner can get a cut of the electricity made off the parked car. Rest goes to owner of land. (Armin Hamta)
  • Wind generation along sides of busy highways; storing energy (heat) from busy highways that surrounding communities can tap in to.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hot Yam

I ate at Hot Yam yesterday. Run by student volunteers at the University of Toronto, it's a mostly local, mostly organic, and entirely vegan lunch for only $4. Not only is it healthy food to nourish you, it tastes amazing. It could just be the best deal in town. Available only on Thursdays from 12-2pm at the International Student Centre (33 St. George St.). Check out some recipes here.