Three items of interest in the news this week:
1) In AlterNet, there’s a great story called Why Working Less is Better for the Globe.
The gist of it:
Americans work more hours than anyone else in the industrialized world. According to the United Nations’ International Labor Organization, we work 250 hours, or five weeks, more than the Brits, and a whopping 500 hours, or 12 and a half weeks, more than the Germans. So how does ecological damage figure in to the 40-plus workweek?
Do the math: Longer hours plus labor-saving technology equals ever-increasing productivity. Without high annual growth to match productivity, there’s unemployment. Maintaining growth means using more energy and resources, both in manpower and raw materials, which results in increased waste and pollution.
Unsurprisingly, the United States is the world’s largest polluter. Housing a mere 5 percent of the world’s population, it accounts for 22 percent of its fossil fuel consumption, 50 percent of its solid waste, and, on average, each citizen consumes 53 times more goods than a person in China, according to the environmental nonprofit, Sierra Club.
The rest of it’s definitely worth a look. Either in that article or somewhere else I recently read that George Bush took five weeks off last year — even though worker bees like me only get two. I’m thinkin’ if the leader of the free world should set the example. If he needs five weeks off, I sure as hell do too. Make him walk the walk on this one.
2) In Reading Toronto is an interesting rerun of a piece they posted long ago that the mainstream press is just now getting wind of. It’s about Greening Toronto’s Concrete Slab Towers.
Toronto is littered with apartment buildings kinda like these, which make parts of the city look alarmingly like failed socialist states (the one above is actually among the better ones). The blog post notes that with the interest in greening Toronto, people are looking at a number of ideas.
Not yet part of the discussion however is the opportunity inherent within Toronto’s extensive stock of hundreds of bulky concrete residential slabs. Typically viewed with skepticism as ‘mistakes’ from the 60’s and 70’s, they may in fact be one of our greatest opportunities for creating a sustainable region.
These buildings are energy pigs. Counterintuitive to the accepted theory that density aids sustainability, our stock of again modern slab apartments demands more energy per square meter than any other housing type; a full thirty percent more than a contemporary single detached house.
Holy sh*t, Batman, they are pigs! And I just thought they were ugly and depressing.
3) Last — and least, it’s Malaysia to fight movie piracy with DVD-sniffing canine unit.
Yup, disc-sniffing dogs.
Malaysia hopes to obtain special dogs trained in Ireland to sniff out bootlegged DVDs as part of growing efforts to combat movie piracy in a country accused of being among the world’s top producers of illegal discs, officials said Wednesday.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t say what “that bootleg smell” actually is.