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We’ve Been Cartwheeling to Work

Gas prices spur Americans to change behavior Americans hit in the pocketbook by high gas prices are, shockingly, changing their consumptive behavior. A survey by Consumer Reports found that over a third of American drivers are pondering getting a more fuel-efficient vehicle in place of their current one; half of those are considering a hybrid, and fewer than 5 percent want a luxury sedan or large SUV. Lots of drivers are downsizing to two wheels: when gas prices spiked last year, motorcycle sales jumped 16 percent compared to the same period in 2004, and scooter sales leaped 65 percent. Bike …

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Move Thyself: Deer avoids car, hits man on bicycle

D'oh, a deer ... In other bicycle news, it seems the Chinese masses are increasingly trading in their classic cruiser-style Flying Pigeon bikes for cushy mountain bikes and higher tech road bikes (oh, and cars). Not a huge surprise, as an increase in affluence often leads to a transportation upgrade. But nonetheless, the state-owned bike company has noted the changing demographics of its riders as well as a dip in sales. Sales at Flying Pigeon, the state bicycle company set up after the Communist revolution in October 1949, have plummeted so far that the company is considering outsourcing to south-east …

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It’s a Mall World, After All

Green mega-mall gets green light to build in Syracuse, N.Y. Destiny USA -- the purportedly uber-green mega-mall planned for Syracuse, N.Y. -- is finally ready to move into the construction phase, after developers and local officials ended years of bickering and reached a 30-year tax deal this week. According to lead developer Robert Congel, it will be the largest complex in the world run entirely on renewable energy. The first phase, 848,000 square feet of retail, dining, and entertainment space, could open in 2008; subsequent phases include a 1,000-room hotel and an additional 350,000 square feet of shops. Congel says …

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The Wrong Side of the BedZed

Problems in one green community won't keep U.K. from building more Four years ago, a housing complex called BedZed opened in south London with the ambitious goal of running entirely on renewable energy. Well, things haven't gone quite as planned. BedZed's biomass-fueled electric system was unreliable, forcing it to go on the national energy grid. Its natural sewage-recycling system, out of commission for seven months, has not been replaced because of expense. But even so, residents are living the good green life: well-insulated buildings, solar panels, and a wind-driven ventilation system lower electricity usage, and community gardens and a car-sharing …

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Cars pollute the dictionary too

I don't want to rock your world too severely, but it's come to my attention that cars cause problems. If you're not the U.S. government, you may have heard about this global-warming thing, caused in part by driving. There's also a metric truckload of other health and environmental nightmares caused by monoxides, dioxides, hydrocarbons, and other yummy emissions. Meanwhile, our car-propelled reliance on fossil fuels keeps us hooked on Mideast oil like some kind of red, white, and blue crack-smoking eagle. On top of all that, finding a parking space is a mother. But there's a lesser-known victim of car …

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Move Thyself: A tribute to fallen cyclists, and cycling away the gas-price blues

Tonight in some 200 U.S. cities (and six other countries), cyclists will be joining in the Ride of Silence to pay tribute to bicyclists who've been killed or injured on public roadways. And there are a lot. From the Seattle Times article: In 2004, in Seattle there were 258 bicycle collisions with cars -- resulting in 224 injuries and one death, according to the city's Department of Transportation. Um, make that 260, and 225 injuries. My two collisions that year went unreported. (Stupid minivans!) And from the Oregonian: The most recent Oregon Department of Transportation statistics show 14 bicyclists died …

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Countries May Have Shifted During Flight

China builds new airports; still not as pollutey as U.S. China plans to build 48 new airports in the next five years, spending $17.5 billion on construction and continuing expansion of existing hubs. The country is already the premier buyer of Boeing and Airbus planes, and has vowed to buy 100 planes every year until 2010. (For perspective: China's new hubs will bring its total to 190 airports, serving a population of 1.3 billion people -- a far cry from the U.S., where more than 10,000 airports serve less than a quarter that many people.) Expansion of the energy-sucking, pollution-spewing, …

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Read and Green and Urban All Over

Plans for an eco-city in China inspire a green neighborhood in London The world's largest eco-city is soon to be built in China, on an island at the mouth of the Yangtze River near Shanghai. Dongtan, being developed by London's Arup Urban Design, will consist of village-style neighborhoods and will emphasize pedestrian-friendliness, renewable-energy generation, and self-sufficiency in water and food. The city aims to generate zero carbon emissions and will have no landfill. It should be able to support a population of 80,000 by 2020, which may be not a moment too soon, as an estimated 300 million people will …

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Sue and Improved

States to sue Bush admin over weak fuel-economy standards for SUVs Stop us if this sounds familiar: A group of states plans to sue the feds over lax environmental regulations. At this point, the feds have more suits than Armani! Their federalism federalisn't! Take my states ... please! (Hey, we have to liven these stories up somehow.) The latest suit -- to be filed this week by 10 states and two cities -- is over the Bush administration's recently released changes to fuel-economy standards for SUVs and light trucks. The plaintiffs, led by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, hope to …

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Who’s on the Right Side of the Road Now?

Brits change habits to save gasoline; Americans don't Starting in 2008, new drivers in Britain will be tested not only on the anxiety-producing three-point turn, but also on their ability to drive in a manner that conserves gasoline. The country hopes to produce a new generation of eco-aware motorists who accelerate and brake smoothly and change gears early to save fuel. Other countries have instituted similar initiatives, like the Netherlands, which estimates that savvy drivers can cut fuel use by nearly a third. It's almost like they take their effect on the environment seriously. Meanwhile, in the U.S., whining about …

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