Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page By Wade Roush December 27, 2018 Just because we have choices about technology doesn’t mean we always choose well. Walking in my neighborhood in East Cambridge one day, I stumbled across an obscure plaque put up by the Cambridge Historical Commission more than 40 years ago. I was astonished to learn that Cambridge had been home to one of the world’s first monorail systems — an experimental track in place from 1884 to 1894.It was envisioned as the prototype for a regional rapid transit system that would have made Boston into a kind of steampunk utopia. The city would have been criss-crossed by marvelous tubular trains that looked like they were designed by Captain Nemo. But we never got that version of Boston, because in 1887, the East Cambridge monorail project got abruptly. . . derailed.At any given moment in history, we humans have multiple … [Read more...] about The Cambridge monorail that wasn’t
Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page By Michael Sweeney December 12, 2018 Last month Americans watched California burn in wildfires that left dozens dead, thousands homeless, and San Francisco shrouded in smoke. It was the type of climate catastrophe scientists warn will become increasingly common as we pump more and more carbon into the atmosphere. Weeks later, we watched what’s likely to be another recurring spectacle — fires in Paris as citizens burned cars to protest higher fuel taxes designed to limit carbon emissions.France’s so-called “Yellow Vests” protest has resonated with some on the American left, who argue that gas taxes are little more than a regressive levy on the poor. But they’re dead wrong.First of all, we know higher fuel prices work to lower consumption, whether they’re the result of taxation or high market prices for crude oil. Between 2008 and … [Read more...] about The “Yellow Vests” protesters are wrong
Miami isn’t known as a city where it’s particularly easy to walk or bike. But underneath the city’s elevated rail line–which stretches 10 miles from downtown to the southern end of the county–a new park is beginning to counteract decades of car-centric design. The Underline, which broke ground today, combines green public space with paths that connect to transit stations, fully separated from the adjacent street, where 100,000 cars drive by each day. (The plan was a finalist in the Fast Company 2017 World Changing Ideas Award.) “Miami-Dade County is one of the most dangerous places to walk and bike in the country,” says Meg Daly, who started a nonprofit to champion the project after walking under the rail line–a dimly lit, dirty, unwelcoming area, surrounded by heavy traffic and hard-to-cross streets–and seeing its potential. “We’re not just moving in our cars because we’re car-centric, we’re … [Read more...] about Miami just broke ground on a new, High Line-inspired 10-mile park under its train tracks
By some measures, the American economy is booming. Corporations are raking in profits. Unemployment is low. But wages are still stagnant, and a new report says that only 28% of Americans can be considered financially healthy. “We felt like we needed to create a definitive study that helped to demonstrate that while the larger economic headlines around a roaring stock market, and low unemployment, and great consumer spending are out there, that’s not actually telling an accurate story,” says Jennifer Tescher, CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation, the organization that created the report, called the U.S. Financial Health Pulse. The organization, which works with startups that are building financial health tools, surveyed more than 5,000 Americans this year. Nearly half said that their spending had equaled or exceeded their income in the last 12 months. 44% of those relied on credit cards to make ends meet. Only 45% have enough to cover three months of … [Read more...] about Despite the “good economy,” only 28% of Americans are financially healthy
A year ago, Royal Dutch Shell, now the largest oil company in the world, acquired NewMotion, a company with thousands of electric car charging points throughout Europe. A month later, Shell started installing fast chargers at some of its largest gas stations. In late October, the company started installing ultrafast chargers that can fully charge the newest electric cars in 10 minutes. It’s one small piece of a company in transition as it grapples with how to address climate change. “If you want to be a long-term relevant company that is on the right side of history, you have to be involved in this discussion, because it’s the most important discussion of our time,” CEO Ben van Beurden tells Fast Company. By 2035, Shell plans to cut its carbon footprint 25%, and 50% by 2050–including the emissions not only from its own operations but from customers using its products. The cuts are in line with the company’s “Sky scenario,” a vision … [Read more...] about Is it possible for an oil company to help fight climate change?