Millennials are far less likely to own a car, or to even make that a priority. Instead, we tend to opt for public transit, biking, or car sharing. While millennials don’t identify as vegetarians, either, we actually trend towards eating less meat – and we value the eating experience, which means that, though we tend to make less for our work (or sometimes nothing at all), a lot of us are still willing to spend a little more to go organic and local. Heck, even the fact that so many of us still live at home, or choose to live in shared houses or dorms rather than getting a place of our own, translates to a more efficient use of household water, electricity, and gas.

Which isn’t to say that millennials are making these choices exactly for the purpose of being green. We do it because it makes sense: Green living is more affordable, more enjoyable, and thus perhaps makes us more able to deal with the messes we’ve been left with. But, as long as things are starting to change, does it really matter what the motivation is? And can’t there be more than one motivation? Millennials seem more likely to recognize that the environment doesn’t exist in a glass bubble, that it’s tied in with business, technology, and what’s on your plate. Protecting the environment is not something out there and far away, but something right here that needs to be intelligently incorporated into our day-to-day.

Check out the rest of the article here.

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From The Vancouver Sun:

Whitney Sharp always expected she would be driving when she turned 16. But five years later, she has yet to make it behind the wheel — or even to a driver licensing branch.

Sharp is representative of what TransLink has deemed a “noticeable drop” in the proportion of young adults aged 16-24 who are forgoing a traditional rite of passage: getting a driver’s licence.

Only 50 per cent of young people aged 16-19 and 80 per cent of those 20-29 had a driver’s licence in 2011 — down from 60 per cent and 90 per cent respectively in 1999 — according to TransLink’s latest trip diary, which surveyed almost 18,000 households on their commuting patterns, including how many trips they made in a 24-hour period.

There’s no specific reasons given for the decline, but the TransLink analysis suggests it could be attributed to several factors, including a combination of the graduated licensing program and TransLink’s U-Pass program — a cheap universal pass that gives students access to bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain services within Metro Vancouver — or a “generational behaviour change because of shifts in values and attitudes.”

“The notion of getting a car and the ability to drive as a rite of passage is really eroding,” said Larry Frank, professor and J. Armand Bombardier chair in Sustainable Urban Transportation Systems at the University of B.C. “It’s an indication that our degree of car dependence, at least in this region, is declining.”

It appears teens no longer view a restored Mustang as the ticket to independence, said Maria Su, senior manager of research analytics with TransLink. The high price of gas and car ownership, on one hand, and the U-Pass program and better transit opportunities on the other, she said, are likely contributing to the trend, which “is not unique to Vancouver.”

“It used to be when people got out of school, the first thing they did was get a used car because it was a sign of freedom,” Su said. “Now you can meet up with a friend without a car.”

Check out the rest of the article here

(Photo source: Streetsblog DC)

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Connect the Dots: Lester Brown on ‘Why Food Is The New Oil And Land The New Gold’

From CNBC:

The United Nations food agency reports that food prices are rising again, reaching 6-month highs and nearing levels not since 2008. Higher prices then spurred food riots in the Middle East and North Africa, which fueled the Arab Spring.

There’s no sign of widespread food riots now but eventually there could be, says Lester Brown, president and founder of the Earth Policy Institute and author of the new book "Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity."

"The term ‘food unrest’ will become part of our daily vocabulary," Brown tells The Daily Ticker.

It reflects the imbalance between the supply of food and demand for food globally.

Check out the rest of the article here.

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Thinking Sustainability: ‘What if Can Do Can’t? The Vulnerability and Resilience of Cities’ 

Bill Rees, co-originator of the "ecological footprint" concept, explores how our green buildings, smart growth, hybrid cars, renewable energy, other hopeful techno-fixes alone won’t be enough to solve our climate and energy crises. He argues changes to our thinking and culture are fundamental to addressing them. 

You can access his presentation slides here. The video was shot in October 2009 at the 'Gaining Ground: Resilient Cities' summit in Vancouver, Canada.

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(Source: Gaining Ground Summit)

My plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.

Resilient Communities: ‘Brixton in Transition’ (Video)

From Al Jazeera English:

In the last part of earthrise's economics special, Russell Beard travels to the inner-London neighbourhood of Brixton to meet a community trialling an alternative economic model - one that values people and planet, as well as profit. Brixton is part of the growing Transition Town movement - a worldwide network of people who are re-shaping their local economies to cut carbon emissions and build stronger communities.

Residents have started a local currency - the largest in the UK - to stimulate sustainable, local production and help make their economy more resilient to financial shocks. The Brixton Pound can only be spent with independent businesses in the area and is now accepted in around 200 outlets.

They have also begun to generate their own energy through the UK’s first inner-city renewable energy co-operative. So far Brixton Energy has installed 152 solar panels on the roof of a council estate, funded by over 100 local people. Profits from the electricity generation are shared between investors and a community energy efficiency fund for residents of the estate.

Check out the rest of the article here.

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Energy on the Mind: 'Don't Worry, Drive On' (Video)

From The Post Carbon Institute:

In recent months we’ve seen a spate of articles, reports, and op-eds claiming that peak oil is a worry of the past thanks to so-called “new technologies” that can tap massive amounts of previously inaccessible stores of “unconventional” oil. “Don’t worry, drive on,” we’re told.

But as Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg asks in this short video, what’s really new here? "What’s new is high oil prices and … the economy hates high oil prices."

You can read more about the video, including its script here. As for Heinberg’s claim that the economy and high oil prices aren’t exactly best friends the UK’s Telegraph newspaper recently reported:

… a disturbing pattern has emerged where each tentative recovery in the world economy sets off an oil price jump that it turn aborts the process. A two point rise in global manufacturing indexes leads to a 30pc rise in oil prices a few months later.

“Oil has become an increasingly scarce commodity. A tight supply picture means that incremental increases in demand lead to an increase in prices, rather than ramping up production. The price of oil is in effect acting as an automatic stabilizer,” they said. If so, it is “stabilizing” the world economy in perma-slump.

Yet another big reason to speed the transition to a clean energy economy while building resilience.

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