How to be a responsible steward of Democracy, Human Rights Capitalism and Planet Earth.

How to be a responsible steward of Planet Earth.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Driving on pot doubles crash risk.

Driving on pot doubles crash risk, study finds

Cannabis — marijuana is the most widely consumed illicit substance in the world, and the number of Canadians confessing to driving within an hour of using pot is growing, researchers from Dalhousie University write in this week's issue of the British Medical Journal.

In addition, "surveys of young drivers have also shown that rates of driving under the influence of cannabis have surpassed rates of drinking and driving in some jurisdictions," the Halifax team reports.
Not only is cannabis relatively easy to get, "many young people really don't believe that cannabis impairs," said lead author Mark Asbridge, an associate professor in the department of community health and epidemiology at Dalhousie.

"They know that alcohol impairs their driving, so if they're the designated driver at a party they'll switch alcohol for cannabis. I've heard stories: 'I'm the designated driver so I'm just going to smoke up.' "
"We just simply don't have the same messaging around drugs and driving" that exists around drinking and driving, he said.

Past studies into cannabis and crash risk have been mixed. Some have found an increased risk of being involved in a collision after using marijuana, while others have found either no association whatsoever, or even a lower risk — suggesting people were actually safer driving while intoxicated by pot than not.

The Halifax team set out to disentangle the evidence. They performed a "systematic" review, scouring the literature for the best-designed studies they could find. In the end, they pooled data from nine studies that combined involved 49,411 drivers from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, France and the Netherlands.

All the crashes involved in the analysis took place on public roads and involved one or more moving vehicles such as cars, vans, trucks, buses and motorcycles.

The researchers found a 92 per cent increased risk — a near doubling — of a driver being involved in a collision resulting in serious injury or death, to themselves or others, if they used marijuana within two to three hours of getting behind the wheel.

The strongest association was with fatal crashes.
The study wasn't designed to answer the question: How much pot does it take before the crash risk increases?

Most studies in the analysis used any amount greater than zero as the cutoff for a positive test result. But, "for cannabis, there's not necessarily a cut off that we can identify where risk was most heightened," Asbridge said.

Still, studies have shown that cannabis impairs the psychomotor skills needed for safe driving, he said. Marijuana affects perception and spatial awareness. Drivers have difficulty staying in their lanes, Asbridge said. "There's actually a psychological process where people often believe that they're driving safer than they really are and they don't recognize that they're following too closely, or making these lane violations."

Earlier studies that suggested it might be safer driving under the influence of cannabis often relied on urine samples. The problem there, Asbridge says, is that markers for cannabis in urine "can stay in your body for weeks or even over a month so that's not a measure of recent use at all."

His team only included studies that measured active THC metabolites from blood samples, which is a more accurate way of measuring whet

Low-tech Magazine: How to downsize a transport network: the Chinese wheelbarrow

Low-tech Magazine: How to downsize a transport network: the Chinese wheelbarrow

« Gas Bag Vehicles | Main

December 29, 2011

How to downsize a transport network: the Chinese wheelbarrow

Wind powered wheelbarrowFor being such a seemingly ordinary vehicle, the wheelbarrow has a surprisingly exciting history. This is especially true in the East, where it became a universal means of transportation for both passengers and goods, even over long distances.

The Chinese wheelbarrow - which was driven by human labour, beasts of burden and wind power - was of a different design than its European counterpart. By placing a large wheel in the middle of the vehicle instead of a smaller wheel in front, one could easily carry three to six times as much weight than if using a European wheelbarrow.

The one-wheeled vehicle appeared around the time the extensive Ancient Chinese road infrastructure began to disintegrate. Instead of holding on to carts, wagons and wide paved roads, the Chinese turned their focus to a much more easily maintainable network of narrow paths designed for wheelbarrows. The Europeans, faced with similar problems at the time, did not adapt and subsequently lost the option of smooth land transportation for almost one thousand years.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Human Trafficking

Uploaded by sdsctr on Oct 19, 2008

A video about modern slavery with facts and figures about the trade in Southeast Asia.
Please visit:;;
License:  Standard YouTube License

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Brilliant Teacher

My learning about many things has been greatly advanced by watching the many wonderful TED Speeches.  Sometimes watching favorite speeches many times over. Mike deGruy generated enthusiasm for the oceans with his passionate presentation and he was a pleasure to watch. 

In this talk, as in his photography and his many films, you can sense Mike’s infectious humor, his passion for the oceans — and his example of a life well and richly lived.

We are saddened by the news that ocean photographer, filmmaker and storyteller Mike deGruy died yesterday in a helicopter crash in Australia. Mike was truly one of the great teachers and advocates for the oceans, as you can see in his TEDTalk, filmed aboard Mission Blue in 2010:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Take Care

Conservation & Communities

Africa loses more than 10 million acres of forest every year -- twice the world’s deforestation rate. Global demand for forest and extractive industry products is growing, with competition for Africa’s natural resources at an all-time high. Meanwhile population growth in Africa is faster than anywhere else, with accompanying poverty, and basic needs unmet. To be effective, forest and species conservation must address the deeply rooted human problems associated with poverty. As Jane says, “How can we even try to save the chimpanzees and forests if the people are so obviously struggling to survive?”
JGI’s community-centered conservation approach provides local communities the tools needed to manage their natural resources for long-term economic gain and environmental prosperity. With increased local capacity, responsibility, and participation in the sustainable management of natural resources, communities are much better positioned to effectively preserve the natural environment and wildlife of their area.
 We do not "parachute in" with defined solutions. Rather, we support communities as they identify priority development and conservation goals. As a result, our projects set is eclectic – reflecting the diversity of communities in Africa and the myriad problems they face.
Here’s an idea of what our activities look like on the ground: 
  • We educate farmers on sustainable farming methods such as rotating crops for soil fertility and re-cropping rather than clearing forest to make new fields
  • We promote the use of fuel-efficient stoves that reduce the need for fuel wood by two-thirds and are made from local materials – saving time, money and trees
  • We organize micro-credit programs that allow villagers – especially women – to obtain capital for small business ventures by pooling their own money seeded by JGI funds. The payback rate is impressive – over 85 percent.
  • We work with villages to improve health through training and infrastructure development, including spring protection, shallow and bore wells, and ventilated improved pit latrines
  • We place a special emphasis on girls’ education, providing scholarships that have help girls in Tanzania complete secondary school and beyond.
These sample projects are part of JGI’s conservation and community programming, which falls into four broad areas: 

Roots and Shoots

Roots & Shoots youth raise funds for trees in Tanzania

After a year of literally sowing seeds of hope, participants in the “ReBirth the Earth: Trees for Tomorrow” campaign—as part of Jane Goodall’s global Roots & Shoots youth program—have something to celebrate:

Raised: $16,415 (USD)
Planted: 3,550 trees

The youth-initiated and youth-led campaign blew the top off of its tree-planting and fundraising goals, which were to raise $10,000 for five Roots & Shoots tree nurseries in Tanzania while planting 3,000 trees in the United States. Campaign organizers called on young people across the US to panda miti (Swahili for “plant trees”) and get sponsorships for every tree planted. Our campaign was supported by Animal Planet and the National Arbor Day Foundation and led by Campaign Chairperson Bryan Lairmore.

Money raised paid for seedlings, their transport, nursery tools, and training youth in Tanzania how to start and maintain nurseries. Now, Roots & Shoots members from three schools in Moshi, near Mount Kilimanjaro, have put 1,351 seeds into sprouting beds. Meanwhile, in the Morogoro region, young Roots & Shoots members began bedding seeds this month, hoping to have 10,000 seedlings ready for planting by year-end. As the youth work to establish the tree nurseries, they’re learning about local tree species and sustainable growing practices.

The ReBirth the Earth campaign started in 2006, after 10 Roots & Shoots youth leaders from the US traveled to Tanzania as part of an immersion experience. While there, they joined local Roots & Shoots groups in planting trees and learned there was a need for more nurseries.

“This is a fantastic and exciting campaign, because it is completely conceived, organized and implemented by our Roots & Shoots young people,” said Dr. Goodall. “These youth are gaining the worldly knowledge and practical skills to make a real difference in their own communities and in the communities of their new-found friends in Tanzania.”

Jane Goodall