Tuesday, January 31, 2017

E bikes are the real thing.

The hottest trend right now are e bikes. Yes e bikes. Some of you may be asking why would I want an ebike? There is no exercise in that kind of bike. You would be wrong. So wrong.

Electric vehicles were the best selling vehicles in the world in 2016. There were 35 million e vehicles sold. Improvements in battery technology have allowed for lighter bikes to ride. With this improved battery power there is greater efficiency in climbing hills or dealing with head winds. They also allow for better range.

On the monetary side ebikes are a lot less expensive to  operate than cars. Charging a bicycle is a few cents at a time while cars cost a lot for gas. Cars also require insurance and hefty repair bills. Bikes? The occasional repair that costs far less than a car.

With an e bike you can cut down on your commute time. No more waiting in heavy traffic. You will be able to move quickly alongside the waiting cars. There is more fresh air because you are not polluting. You also are not exposed to body odours or other disgusting smells that are evident in public transportation. Being more efficient in your travels leaves more time for other activities. Also for those travelling to work, an e bike means you will not need  a shower when you get to work. All the hard work will be done by the bike.

Some people feel that cars are faster than e bikes. On the open highway that’s true. But in town that is a different story. In town, cars average 18 mph while e bikes average 15 mph. Plus you can go on paths that cars can’t which can be a real time saver.

E bikes also allow people with asthma or other injuries the luxury of travelling and getting exercise with less effort. You don’t have to peddle all the time to benefit from the exercise portion. And speaking of exercise, if you peddle while you are riding you can put electricity back into the battery making your trek even longer. The new bikes recharge in minutes. You can plug them into any hydro outlet.

For those who like to travel ebikes come with carry alongs that allow you to visit places economically. The money you save on gas means you can do more things for your buck.
E bikes are definitely worth the cost. I think it’s time for everyone to pitch in and help the environment by getting an e bike.

We Must Learn ...

We must learn to trust the minds of children

As adults we tend to think of children as cute little things who we can mold and develop. Yet when thinking this we are already in the wrong. Children are not to be controlled, molded or developed. They are doing that precisely on their own without our help. You see children have minds of their own. Nobody doubts that fact yet we, as adults always contradict ourselves through our actions. Children use so many cues to pick up on what is right and wrong in the world. They explore thoughts, ideas and actions and test us constantly to determine the values for those actions. We on the other hand often over react to what they present. Our body language, tone of voice, reactions all send signals to the children. We need to accept children and listen to them. Let’s encourage them rather than tell them. Let’s follow their lead and discuss with them rather than be the one in charge. It really does make a difference.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Shifting Electricity From Consumer To Producer

Imagine you are in a room with a car that is running. There are no windows and only one door but it is locked from the outside. You can’t get out. We know the outcome is not favourable.

Now take this idea and picture yourself in your home. If you live in a big city, think about all the air pollution that surrounds you every day. Pollution from vehicles and factories and other sources. Can you get away from it?

Do we want to continue increasing pollution by having deadlock on highways and city streets or do we want clean air to breathe and a better environment to live in? The way to do this is to make every building in this country responsible for producing electricity from renewable resources and encouraging the use of Environmentally Friendly Vehicles.

As our government leaders approve pipelines to move oil and solidify the use of fossil fuels in our countries we need to look at other ways to replace fossil fuels. Fossil fuels run vehicles and heat our homes. They give off 98% of the carbon dioxide in the air. We have other ways to run our cars, heat our homes and produce materials without polluting our air. They are all available but not highly recognized at this point in time.

In Canada 18.9% of its energy comes from renewable resources. Only 13.2% of electricity generation in the US is from renewable resources.  That means a whopping 86.8 percent is from non renewable resources. That is like saying in the room mentioned above that the only breathable space is around the door. We know that is not helpful.

The move towards using renewable resources has been picking up speed. Albania, Iceland, and Paraguay obtain essentially all of their electricity from renewable sources. Sweden wants to eliminate fossil fuel usage within its borders, and is immediately investing in solar, wind, energy storage, smart grids, and clean transport. Costa Rica aims to be entirely carbon-neutral by 2021. Nicaragua is to be 90% fossil free by 2020. In Scotland wind power produced the equivalent of 97% of the country’s household needs. Uruguay is now 95-percent powered by renewable energy. Denmark got 42% of it’s power from wind turbines in 2015. The country aims to be 100% fossil free by 2050. in 2014 China had the most installed wind energy capacity and the second-highest installed solar PV capacity. China is also phasing out coal and cleaning up its polluted air. The largest concentrated solar plant on earth is in Morocco. This will provide half of Morocco’s electricity by 2020. In the US a NOAA study estimates that they could reduce emissions by 80% without impacting consumer electricity costs by using more renewables. As of 2015, Kenya generates 71 percent of its electricity with renewables.

Given the fact that fossil fuels are the largest problem with pollution and climate change on the planet there needs to be a larger push for renewable energy sources to become the dominant player in the market.

Much has been said about the ineffectiveness and unreliability of using renewable resources. Most of the arguments against using renewable energy on a large level are produced by hydro companies or oil companies. Both are afraid of losing their role in the marketplace as producers. Movement towards renewable energy on a large scale would require politicians to take a stand on the topic and move barriers out of the way. Existing infrastructure would not need to continue to grow if each building produced electricity to support even a part of their needs. At the moment the only barrier are the high costs, which put it out of most people’s grasp.

Even with the high costs we should be moving forward. As hydro rates rise we need to provide the consumer with a feasible alternative that will cut their costs. Who would not like to heat their own home, heat their own hot water or provide electricity for all of their appliances and send extra hydro back into the system? Who would not like to drive electric vehicles (EVs) that burn no gasoline and have no tailpipe emissions. Every building should be producing electricity from renewable resources.

As seen in countries around the world the shift to being fossil free is moving forward. In many countries it is not happening on a large scale. Governments need to get behind the idea. By having every building in a country producing electricity would go a long way towards ending our reliance on fossil fuels. Governments need to make a strong commitment with clear decision making. They must acknowledge the problems and be willing to step away from the rhetoric that is put against being fossil free. There must be a supportive regulatory environment that will help foster and develop renewable energy resources in every community. Every building should be required to produce their own electricity using renewable energy. There must be a strong partnership between the public and private sector. Costs must be reasonable.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Does Bicycling Lessen Behaviour Issues In Children In School?

We live in a world of tension, stress and conflict. Nowhere is this seen more readily than in our schools. The number of students with behavioural disorders is increasing daily. This creates less teaching in the classroom and more focus on solving behaviour issues.

What if there was something to ease the behaviour issues?

A Harvard University Study by April Bowling, James Slavet, Daniel P. Miller, Sebastien Haneuse, William Beardslee, and Kirsten Davison suggests that quality cycling by children with ADHD and other behavioural disorders will help them to be less disruptive in the classroom.  
had students with behavioural issues riding stationary bikes for 7 weeks during their gym classes, twice a week for 30 to 40 minutes.  

Their classroom behaviour was tracked during the process.

The study discovered that students were up to 51% lower in exhibiting behavioural issues and time out of classroom. On days when they were being exercised the odds of disruptive levels of behavior declined between 71% and 76% , while on non testing days these numbers dropped. On days when they were engaged in riding they were participating more in class and completing assignments.

What does this mean?

We live in a sedentary society. We drive our children to school. At home they watch tv, surf the internet, play video games, and use social media among other things. They don’t get the exercise they need to grow. Children with behavioral health disorders (BHD) demonstrate low participation in aerobic exercise. Studies demonstrate that the more children move there is an increase in brain power.  Cycling increases blood flow to the brain resulting in a more oxygenated brain that is able to function with greater efficiency. This allows the child to focus more on tasks which leads to a decrease in behavioural problems.

It is well known that bicycling has many benefits. The high energy workout burns calories, increases quality sleep, increases brain power, relieves stress and is environmentally friendly. It also helps lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of acquiring heart disease and diabetes.

The question might be asked, “What about gym classes? They are exercising during the day.” Unfortunately, gym classes do not deal in the kind of exercise children need to increase their brain power. With a focus more on acquiring skills than developing more muscle mass and increasing oxygen intake they cannot ever help students with behavioural issues. There needs to be more rigorous exercise. In the end that will benefit, not just students with behaviour issues but all students. Let’s increase that Brain Power.