July 13, 2011


Whose Streets? OUR STREETS!

Help Convince Congress to Protect Pedestrians, Bicyclists, and Mass Transit Users by Passing Complete Streets Legislation

Image by National Complete Streets Coalition, CC BY-NC 3.0Complete Streets! It's the craze that's sweeping the nation.

Across the country, towns, cities, and states are asking their planners and engineers to start designing and building road networks that ensure the highest in safety, accessibility, and livability for everyone.

Wherever we live, our roadways are a central part of our communities, and they should be as safe and accessible for all users as possible. What's more, it's imperative that we make walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation safe and attractive options as part of our general efforts to green our energy economy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Unlike some other auto clubs, Better World Club has always supported a complete streets principle that acknowledges the safety and transportation necessities of our members, be they in their cars, on their bikes, on foot, or riding mass transit. Now we have the chance to legally establish that principle at the federal level.

If passed, the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011 would complete streets throughout the country by mandating that complete streets policies be incorporated into any roadway project that receives federal funding. (Sixty-seven percent of all pedestrian fatalities in the last decade were on federal aid roadways.) The Act has been introduced into both houses of Congress, as H.R. 1078 in the House of Representatives and as S. 1056 in the Senate. Help drive change by contacting your federal legislators in the House and the Senate and encouraging them to support the Safe and Complete Streets Act. A sample letter is available here.

Then, forward this email to a friend.

Not exactly sure of what a complete street might be? Learn more at the National Complete Streets Coalition website, where, among other informative content, the Coalition lists ten elements of a comprehensive complete streets policy.

Sure, Money Talks, But Should Corporations be Allowed to Dominate the Conversation?

The Supreme Court Says Yes!

Just When Better World Club Helps Organize the Fight Against Citizens United, the Supreme Court Hands Down an Even Worse Decision

No sooner did Better World Club join ice cream magnates Ben and Jerry and other socially responsible business leaders in their efforts to overturn the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to extend the protection of speech under the First Amendment to corporations than the Supreme Court handed down an even worse decision. At the end of last month, the Court struck down a provision of an Arizona public financing law that guaranteed matching funds for publicly financed campaigns when privately financed candidates increased their campaign expenditures.

In that case, Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett, the Court ruled that the Arizona law suppressed speech because privately funded candidates would have to consider that their opponents would be able to respond were the privately funded candidates to raise additional funds.

In other words, the Court found that the consideration of those responses represented impositions on privately funded candidates' First Amendment rights.

What? So, when making decisions on the ability to speak, it is more important that the wealthier candidate have unlimited funds than that an opponent have the ability to speak at all??? Isn't speech increased when both sides can speak?

Does this make even the slightest sense?

It was bad enough in Citizens United that the Court ruled that the Constitution should treat corporations as people. But now it seems that it wasn't enough that money be equated with speech. Now the money/speech of the rich is now to be protected over the money/speech of a publicly funded candidate.

The accepted, underlying rationale for free speech is that the better argument will win out. The Court has apparently lost confidence that the best argument will win. Rather, it has ruled that a privately funded candidate must be protected from a publicly funded candidate's arguments.

Sure, money talks, and we certainly encourage our readers to use their dollars to vote for the environment and social responsibility, but should wealthy corporations and the candidates they back (who then most often back those corporations) be allowed to dominate our political discourse?

Complete Story

More "Washington Watch" in Kicking Asphalt

- 16 Republican Senators Want to Abolish the EPA


Energy-Short Japan Eyes Renewable Future, Savings Now

by Chuck McCutcheon, National Geographic News

At Tokyo's Meiji Gakuin University, professor Keiko Tanaka has been teaching classes with half as much lighting as usual and with less reliance on computers and other electricity-hogging tools. She now often gets out her chalk and eraser to use the blackboard.

But with tsunami-torn Japan's electricity system struggling, she wonders whether her fellow citizens will commit to the level of energy savings the nation needs.

In the long run, Prime Minister Naoto Kan has indicated a push for renewables, setting a new goal of 10 million solar-powered homes by 2020, and abandoning ambitious nuclear expansion plans. But Japan which has no fossil fuel resources of its own faces an immediate test in the sweltering months of July and August, when air conditioning demand typically strains the grid. Japan's government says its citizens need to reduce their electricity demand this summer by 15 percent, and in Tokyo, the goal is 25 percent.

Faced with potential crisis this summer, Japan has attempted to ramp up the Cool Biz campaign it has promoted since 2005. Re-branding it Super Cool Biz, Japan is calling for offices to keep temperatures at 28C (85F), when summer high temperatures in Tokyo can surpass 30C (86F) with high humidity. Office workers are encouraged to shed their business suits in favor of sandals, khakis, and pedal pushers.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced it planned to lead by example on energy savings reducing the use of printers and copiers in its offices, deactivating automatic doors, reducing the number of elevators in services, and adopting early work hours.

Complete Story

Additional Ways to Get Where You're Going:

One of these days, Alice, straight to the moon! (But for nuclear power?)

Not for Germany, anyway. (Are Germans risk averse or just plain smart?)
At least NASA is developing a system for recycling astronauts' urine that won't require external power.

If you would like to contribute your opinion to Driving Change's "Giving Directions" please email it to us at


Newspapers Recycled Into Paper Timber & Furniture by Mieke Meijer / Vij5

by Kimberley Mok,

From do-it-yourself cat litter to hand-rolled jewelry beads and mulch, newspapers can offer versatile options for re-use after they've been read. From Dutch designer Mieke Meijer comes what she calls "NewspaperWood," which can actually be made into furniture.

Made from recycled newspapers that are stacked, glued, rolled into logs, dried and cut, it looks and acts very much like real timber, from each log's unique grain pattern to the fact that it can be cut, milled and sanded. After experimenting with the material as a student design project back in 2003, Meijer has now teamed up with other young designers from Dutch design firm Vij5 to create surprisingly functional and distinctive pieces of furniture from NewspaperWood.

Complete Story

Bridgestone adds more sizes to fuel-saving Ecopia EP422 tire lineup

by Eric Loveday,

Bridgestone has announced the expansion of its fuel-saving Ecopia EP422 low-rolling resistance tire lineup from five to 29 sizes, ranging from 15- to 18-inch tires sized specifically for vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Chevy Malibu, Nissan Altima and Honda Odyssey.

Complete Story


rich den van gig

#1 GoodSearch Result For "rich den van gig" - What is GoodSearch?

Tell a friend about Better World Club! •  Better World Club