Environmentally Sustainable Society Digest
IBF is 100%
Grades: E = excellent, G = good, S = satisfactory, P = poor, U = unacceptable.
The most comprehensive review to date, which reports to the Prime Minister and Chancellor, was commissioned by the Chancellor in July, 2005. It has been carried out by Sir Nicholas Stern, Head of the Government Economic Service and former World Bank Chief Economist.
By Ernst Poulsen [Bicycle News Agency]
For years the concept of green accounting has been discussed and developed. Now Copenhagen pushes the concept further. The city - which is a member of both the "Cities for Cyclists"- and the "Car-Free Cities" clubs - has presented the worlds first bicycle balance sheet, the newspaper Berlingske Tidende reports.
As all normal balance sheets - the bicycle balance sheet is to be presented once a year - with the clear aim of achieving better and better bottom lines.
This first year, 63% of the cyclists found Copenhagen to be a good or fairly good city for cyclists, 54% are satisfied with the number of bicycle paths, but only 26% find the maintenance of the bike paths to be anywhere near good. A similar low number of cyclists find the snow clearing in winter-time satisfactory. (1997)
by David Mozer
An examination of non-motorized transport as a decisive component in a new strategy for urban development in both developing and developed countries. The book provides useful case studies, tables and many illustrations. Price: 35.- SFr. SKAT-Bookshop, Vadianstr 42, CH-9000 St Gallen, SWITZERLAND. Tel: 41-71-237475, Fax: 41-71-237545.
A Chevy Cavalier (2 liter) gets about 30 miles per gallon ( a top performer in its class and above the overall fleet average for all makes) and is estimated to emit 39.4 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) over its useful life (120,000 miles). A single mature tree can absorb 13 pounds of CO2 per year from the atmosphere. Assuming that the useful life of the Cavalier is 13.9 years how many mature trees does it take to absorb the emissions of one Cavalier? If each tree takes a 20'x20'(6mx6m) area, how many acres of forest are required for each Cavalier? (There are 43,560 square feet in an acre.) A BMW 750/850 (5L) emits twice as much CO2. How large a forest does a BMW require? If a city has an average 5 Cavaliers and 5 BMW's per acre of developed land, how many acres of forest does the city need for each acre of developed land?
The Gas Guzzler Campaign is an educational effort to alter public perceptions and attitudes toward the automobile. Their goal is to discourage the use of fuel-inefficient automobiles, vans and light trucks as well as energy-wasteful driving practices. The campaign is being launched to fight the increasing environmental, public health and economic impacts caused by excessive and unnecessary gasoline consumption. Their campaigns goals are to build public support for alternatives to fuel-inefficient driving such as mass transit, bicycles and car- pooling. GG publishes a very informative email newsletter. For more information write to: Linda Horvath at [email protected] or Kevin Connors at [email protected] or The Gas Guzzler Campaign, c/o The Advocacy Institute, 1730 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006, USA. (1995)
The headquarters for the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) (note the name) is
outside of Nairobi, Kenya. The sprawling office complex is about five miles from the
business center of Nairobi, in a rural area with very little public transit (failure 1).
While the UNEP presence contributes substantially to the economy of the city, the UNEP
felt that they were not getting their due. They threatened to pull out if roads and other
conditions (i.e. telephone service, security) weren't improved. However in their
complaints about access to their site the UNEP made no mention of non-motorized facilities
or transit (failure 2). Eventually the Government of Kenya succumbed: police patrols were
increased, utilities upgraded and the roads - - in the narrowest sense -- in all
directions from the headquarters were repaved. None of the road work included lanes wide
enough for bicycles and cars to share the lane, there are no paved shoulders and no
improvements of any kind were provided for pedestrians (failure 3). While local people
walk and bicycle in the area, the number walking or bicycling to UNEP is minuscule
According to a research paper by David Rukunga, University of Nairobi, in 1989:
[Uvumbuzi Tales & Trails, Uvumbuzi Conservation Club] (1989)
Pedalising Eritrea / Pedals For Progress
The Eiritrean Agency for the Environment, in an attempt to encourage bicycle use, has embarked on an ambitious project called Pedalising Eritrea. The Agency aims to promote the greater use of bicycles by all sectors of society: young, old, women and men. They believe use is not only good for the environment, but is also good for the economy and promotes better individual health, as well.
The need to provide low income working people in Eritrea with bicycles has led to one of the most interesting parts of the Pedalising Eritrea project; it involves the non-profit corporation Pedal For Progress and the U.S. Department of Defense. Pedals For Progress collects used bicycles and the Department of Defense donates the shipping for the first three containers.
In the distribution of the bicycles, priority will be given to people with low income and those who will most benefit from having a bicycle, including farmers, industrial workers, policemen and postal agents. Special emphasis will be given to women. The repaired bicycles will be distributed at a nominal cost appropriate to the income of the people.
The mission of Pedal For Progress is:
Historically bicycles have been a primary mode of transport in Asmara, Eritrea. Statistically cars carry far fewer people. Last October, to protect bicyclists from cars, city engineers banned bikes from most of the major roads – and in some places the approach roads for one block on each side – making the city virtually impossible to traverse by bicycle. The ban has been the source of heated debate on Tigrinya radio and brought protests from the Environmental Bureau. Since the ban is reinforced by mandatory confiscation of offending bikes, the transport police's compound has become so full of bikes that they are now being auctioned off – causing further conflicts. Bicycles are a major asset. The reason so many bikes have accumulated is because owner can't afford the fine.
It’s likely he ban will remain for three major roads only and the plethora of
"no bikes" signs all over the city will be gradually phased out. According to
one city planner "the original plan was for three roads only, but since the
Italian government provided so many signs, city officials thought they'd better
use them all up!" Bless enlightened foreign assistance! Adding to the absurdity,
the sidewalks in the restricted area are so unsuitable for walking bikes that
cyclists who need to travel along banned streets walk their bikes down the road
– in traffic – it’s illegal to ride them!
By Jennie Street, Asmara (Gemini News Service)
In the 30-year struggle for freedom from Ethiopia, Eritrean women rode tanks and armored personnel carriers into war. Yet today a social taboo prevents most of them from riding one of the country's most common forms of transport - the bicycle.
"The traditional view, particularly in the countryside, is that women should walk in a somewhat sedate, graceful and subdued manner," says Ato Naizgy Gebremedhin, head of the Environmental Agency of Eritrea. "Society disapproves of them riding bicycles."
Saba Mebrahtu, who returned to Asmara to work for the United Nations Children's Fund after many years in the United States, says sadly that she would like a bike. "It would have been so convenient," she sighs. "But my family talked me out of it. They thought it was shameful for me to ride a bicycle."
The country has 60,000 bicycles (compared with about 30,000 cars) and, since liberation
in 1991, new ones have poured on to the market from Italy, China and Taiwan. But almost
all cyclists are male. A headcount on a stretch of road between Asmara and the nearby
village of Kushet found that at peak traveling time, from 6.30 to 7.30 a.m., an average of
90 cyclists rode to work or school - and not a single one was female. Despite the gender
taboo, eight of the 241 riders who race in Eritrea's cycle leagues are women, though they
are currently without sponsorship
The principle form of taxi transport in Jinja, Kasese, Kibale and many other rural towns in Uganda is the bicycle taxi, locally called a "Borda-borda". This is a standard bike with a padded seat on the rear carrier. Ladies sit side-saddle, gents sit astride.
This is a well established industry and is spreading throughout the flatter areas of Uganda. Almost every street corner and outlying hamlet has a stand of Borda-bordas. Or they can be hailed just like a London taxi as they ply for hire. At a distance, hand clapping is the recognized call for a Borda-borda.
Almost everything is transported by bike taxi, including the dead, huge loads of farm produce (as in seven full size stocks of bananas) and village pumps, complete with drop pipe and operating rods. There are also specialists who collect children, take them to school and return in the afternoon to take them home with as many as five children riding on various parts of the bike.
There is some disagreement on how the Borda-bordas got their name. That the
root is the English word "border" is agreed. A version from Jinga says that the
name originates from a period known as "the troubles" when people were able to
escape by cycling to Kenya, about 125 km. A second version notes that custom’s
posts may be several kilometers apart at frontiers. Taxis from one country can
bring people to and from its custom’s posts and the same is true in the other
country, but they are not allowed to operate beyond "the gates". Bicycle taxis
going from "border-to-border" ferry people and their goods between officials.
The International Bicycle Fund is an independent, non-profit organization. Its primary purpose is to promote bicycle transportation. Most IBF projects and activities fall into one of four categories: planning and engineering, safety education, economic development assistance and promoting international understanding. IBF's objective is to create a sustainable, people-friendly environment by creating opportunities of the highest practicable quality for bicycle transportation. IBF is funded by private donation. Contributions are always welcome and are U.S. tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
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