Alan Durning

Alan Durning directs Sightline Institute, a Seattle research and communication center working to promote sustainable solutions for the Pacific Northwest.

Politics

Designed to Obstruct, US Senate Erodes Public Trust

Last time, I illustrated how the un-democracy of the US Senate hogties the Pacific Northwest. It radically underrepresents the most-populous, diverse, and innovative parts of the country, making it exceedingly difficult for the nation to adapt to the demands of …

Business & Technology

What can China teach us about electric bikes?

In part 2, I described the extraordinary growth of electric bikes in China, which grew from novelty items in 1998 to almost one e-bike per ten people today. What caused this growth? What can we learn from China about overcoming …

Business & Technology

Four obstacles facing electric bike popularity

In part 3, I promised to describe the obstacles that are keeping electric bikes from taking hold in the Pacific Northwest in the way they have in China. Here are four. 1. Immature technology As BikeHugger’s master blogger (and e-biker) …

Business & Technology

Should electric bike sales be subsidized?

Photo: Flickr via Imnop88aAs I argued in part 2, electric bikes could be forerunners for electrifying the whole transportation sector. They’re sweeping into urban areas in China by the tens of millions. New technologies are improving e-bike performance. And powerful …

Politics

Un-democracy and the US Senate

This series is about flawed institutions of governance. Notice the word “governance”—not “government.” It’s not about inadequate or wrong-headed laws and policies. Nor is it about heroic, passable, or ineffectual leadership. Such things are the normal stuff of public debate, …

Business & Technology

Three trends that favor electric bikes

Photo: Sightline DailyIn part 1, I described the appeal of and demand for electric bikes, and mentioned that three trends bode well for them in the Pacific Northwest and the rest of North America. Battery-juiced two-wheelers could finally break out …

Business & Technology

The parable of the electric bike

Brynnen Ford carpools kids to school in her Madsen electric bike.Photo: Brynnen FordMmmm. An electric bike. Zipping through the city. Surging up hills without gasping for breath. Riding in business dress and arriving fresh and dry. Healthy, moderate exercise. No …

Politics

Sixty or Fifty?

60 or 50? So much depends on those numbers. The news went barely noticed a few weeks back: almost every school district in the state of Washington that put a levy or bond measure on the February ballot won voter …

Climate & Energy

Climate and Race

A boycott in Montgomery, Alabama; a march on Washington; “I Have a Dream;” a bridge in Selma; a Nobel Prize; a balcony in Memphis—the flaming arc of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life is now inscribed in American mythology. But in …