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globalbriefs


News and resources to inspire concerned citizens to work together in building a healthier, stronger society that benefits all.


Bikes-to-Go Cycling Gains Ground at Colleges and in Cities


May is National Bike Month, and more universities continue to commit to bicycling as a sustainable, healthy and environmentally conscious transporta- tion choice. Recently, Harvard University joined Princeton and Yale as an official Bicycle-Friendly University (BFU), and the League of American Bicyclists desig- nated 14 new BFU members, expanding the program to 58 colleges in 30 states across the U.S. with more to come.


When New York City opened registration for a public bike-sharing program, Citi Bike, more than 5,000 people signed up within 30 hours. Similar demand for more cycling options is happening across the nation where shared bicycle pro- grams are taking root (see Tinyurl.com/Top50BikeFriendliestCities). The popular Washington, D.C., Capital Bikeshare program began operat- ing in September 2010, and is now the nation’s largest, with 200 locking docks able to accommodate more than 1,800 bright-red bicycles. As in many programs, people can sign up for a short-term stint or an annual membership using either a credit card online or at a station kiosk. Then they can unlock a bicycle and return it to any station within the system. All rides under 30 minutes are free, after which escalating fees kick in, encouraging people to make short trips and to keep more bikes available for other riders.


For more information, visit BikeLeague.org.


Solar Surge Global Rise in Sun-Generated Power


Last year, the U.S. joined Germany, Italy, China and Japan in producing more than 10 gigawatts of solar production nationwide. Now, other countries have awakened to the opportunity and are on their way to catching up. The popular Scandinavian retailer IKEA has sold $10,000 solar panels in 17 British outlets.


Peru recently started a National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program to connect 2 million of its poorest residents with solar power. In the first phase, 1,601 solar panels were installed to


power 126 impoverished communities. The plan is to install about 12,500 photo- voltaic systems for 500,000 households at an overall cost of $200 million. Earth Hour India is helping citizens to switch to solar energy in villages that previously had no electricity. Woodlands stores, in partnership with World Wild- life Foundation-India, has launched a collection drive across the country, inspiring individuals to donate to help light up more than 100 households in three villages in Madhya Pradesh with solar power. The residents had traditionally depended on forest resources for their energy needs.


12 Hudson County NAHudson.com


Forests Preserve Trees Rescue Urbanites from Dirty Air


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, poor air quality can irritate the respira- tory system, reduce lung function,


inflame and damage the cells that line the lungs, make lungs more susceptible to infection, aggravate asthma, aggravate other chronic lung diseases and cause permanent lung damage. U.S. Forest Service researchers have discovered that the urban forests in 10 cities across the country save on aver- age one person a year from pollution- related death. In New York City alone, that number increases to eight people per year. The scientists recommend that people everywhere plant more trees.


Source: AmericanForests.org


Radical Fuel Three Automakers Roll Out Hydrogen Models


Toyota has announced that it will mar- ket a hydrogen-powered car beginning with the 2015 model year, and Hyundai has also committed to rolling out its fu- el-cell Tucson model next year. Honda has already begun leasing its hydrogen- powered FCX Clarity to customers in California.


Each of these vehicles can travel about 300 miles without a refill (three times the range of the hybrid Chevy Volt in battery mode), and reach a top speed of about 100 miles per hour. A refill takes just a few minutes, and because the hydrogen is used to produce electric- ity, the cars drive without the roar of an internal combustion engine. The cost of hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles is expected to continue to fall and eventually match that of conventional cars by 2023.


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