Alan Durning

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

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 …

The body electric

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 …

Circuit breakers

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 …

Flipping the Switch?

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 …

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 …

charging up

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 …

Juice Hawgs

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 …

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 …

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 …

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