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12th-Feb-2017 10:18 pm - Britain's Healthiest Workplace Study
Companies looking to safeguard their workforce must think beyond preventing ill health and take the opportunity to promote good health.



The Direct Links between Healthy Workforce & Economy

When we consider our health and wellbeing we often think about our diets, our exercise routines — or lack of them — or the last conversation we had with a healthcare professional. We often overlook the place where many of us spend most of our time — and that is work. This needs to change. Our work environment can have a substantial impact on our health and wellbeing. In 2015, some 440,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety and about 553,000 cases of work-related muscular skeletal disorders — including back problems, repetitive strain injury to wrists and other similar ailments — were recorded in Britain. In the same period, 23.3m days were lost to work-related ill health, with mental illness and muscular-skeletal conditions accounting for the majority of days lost.

Good health and wellbeing improves what we do at work. Conversely, poor health and wellbeing is often associated with poor work performance. Ill health has a direct impact on individuals, on businesses and the wider economy — costing billions of pounds.

An Ever-Changing Workforce Dynamic

In today’s world, with an aging workforce and the economic challenges we face, it is more important than ever to talk about health at work. Investing time and resource into the health of our working population has clear business benefits. Informed analysis has shown that employees in good health can be up to three times as productive as those in poor health. They can experience fewer motivational problems, are more resilient to change and more likely to be engaged with business priorities.

Life Does Not End When We Leave the Office

As well as the economic cost to ill health, we must, crucially, not forget the human cost. Managing and supporting the health needs of those in employment presents an invaluable opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of our colleagues and their families. We know life does not end when we leave the office and neither do the issues that affect us when we are at work. Even small changes can have an effect on the health and wellbeing of those at work: changes in line management, facilities, company policies and provision of services. Just something as small as providing lockers and showers for those who want to cycle or run into work can make an important difference.

Thinking Beyond Prevention

We should also think beyond preventing ill health and make sure we take the opportunity to promote good health. It is not just about ensuring that the processes of HR departments are robust enough to catch people when they fall, but also about supporting staff with chances to improve their health. Models of good practice in both the private and public sector are worthy of celebration. Business in the Community’s Work-Well Model and Public Health England’s Workplace Charter, both provide tools for employers to examine their own processes and support mechanisms for employees. We need models like these to spread across businesses and the public sector. Employers need to push themselves to do more for the sake of their employees and ultimately the performance of their businesses.

Design & Share Best Practices

Collecting accurate data is a vital first step. You need to be aware of what the problems are so you can design relevant policies that benefit your team. These are best developed in co-operation with the workforce. Different levels of seniority and different divisions in an organization should feed ideas into the policies in order to support people effectively. We need to share the methods that comprise good practice, both nationally and internationally, and where there are lessons to be learned we should pay attention. We must champion the successful approaches and efforts that are made.

Leadership to Empower

Leadership is essential.“If you’re a leader you’ve got a responsibility to be a role model,” says Rachel Suff, policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. “If you say wellbeing is really important, that’s a powerful message.”

Positive signals from the top must be backed up by proper training and resources to enable middle managers to encourage health and wellbeing, says Andre Spicer, professor of organizational behaviour at Cass Business School in London. He warns that this can be tricky.

“They [middle managers] are at the tough end, juggling multiple demands,” he says. “They’re given demands that their team performs. So demands to comply with wellness initiatives can come down as just one more thing to do.” Explaining the business case behind workplace health and wellbeing is an important way to get line managers on side.

“We know that employee engagement and wellbeing are inextricably linked; it’s now broadly understood that one without the other can lead to burnout,” says BITC’s Aston. A further step would be to include health and wellbeing measures in companies’ business objectives, with line managers — among others — held to account for meeting them, she suggests.

About Britain's Healthiest Workplace:

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace was developed by VitalityHealth, the health insurer, and is determined in partnership with the University of Cambridge, research institute Rand Europe, the Financial Times and human resource consultants Mercer. It is the largest survey to identify the links between an employer’s commitment to workplace wellness and employee health, wellbeing and productivity.

All employers with a workforce of at least 20 in the UK — from the public, private and non-profit sectors — are eligible to participate. They register and complete an online questionnaire describing their
approach to health promotion and the wellbeing services and benefits they may offer. Staff fill out a confidential health assessment covering a broad range: lifestyle; behavioural, clinical and mental risk; stress and productivity and the extent to which staff may feel engaged in their employers’ programmes. Employers receive an overall health report.

Employees receive one with recommendations addressing the individual risks they may be facing. Britain’s Healthiest Workplace has been running for four years, with over 400 employers and nearly 100,000 employees surveyed during that time. In 2016, a record 169 employers and 34,182 employees took part. The data — split between small, medium and large organisations — show which workplaces harbour the UK’s healthiest employees, judged by risks relating to smoking, nutrition, physical activity, body composition and mental health. Scores for the healthiest employer assess culture, workplace stress and the provision and use of wellness facilities and services. An average of the two rankings determines the overall healthiest workplace. Read more about some of the winners on page 44.

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace is overseen by an advisory board including Professor Dame Carol Black, principal of Newnham College, Cambridge; Dr Justin Varney, Public Health England; Professor Stephen Bevan, The Work Foundation; Steve Boorman, Empactis; Professor Cary Cooper, Manchester Business School; Andrew Jack, Financial Times; Professor Theresa Marteau, University of Cambridge; Professor Martin Roland, University of Cambridge; and Shaun Subel, VitalityHealth.

Key Findings

l          160 employers of varying sizes and sectors across the UK took part in the 2016 survey, with 34,000 of their employees providing responses.
l          Health conditions among respondents mirror wider trends across the UK, with a clear north-south divide: Yorkshire and the Humber has the highest workplace stress levels, while the North East reports the largest proportion of obese employees.
l          The public sector has the biggest percentage of employees suffering signs of stress, depression and financial worries. It also has the highest estimated loss of productivity from absences and presenteeism.
l          Health programmes that focus on nutrition are the most widely offered by employers, principally through the provision of fresh drinking water and facilities to store and prepare healthy food.
l          Efforts to encourage physical activity, including providing space for bicycle storage and showers so that staff can cycle to work, are also widespread.
l          Initiatives such as stress management to support mental wellbeing, and measures designed to tackle the heavy toll of smoking and alcohol, are less common.
l          For all health programmes, there is a significant gap between their provision and the awareness, uptake and belief by staff that the initiatives are useful.
l          Employees with flexible hours and the ability to work from home report lower absences and greater job satisfaction, and consider themselves to be in better physical and mental health.
l          Those with inflexible hours, who are office-based and who face long commutes, are less productive and in poorer health.
l          There is a strong correlation between participation in workplace programmes and improved health and productivity.
l          Less presenteeism is reported among staff involved in initiatives to lose weight, exercise more and sleep an optimal seven to eight hours a night.
l          Participation increases when employers allow staff to take part in health promotion programmes during working hours. Organisations whose senior management invest in workplace health and measure the returns see better results.
l          73 per cent of employees surveyed have at least one form of work-related stress; 41 per cent have two or more; 21 per cent have three or more.
l          Half of employees surveyed said stress was due to unrealistic time pressure and demands; some 30 per cent said not being consulted about change in the workplace increased stress, while 28 per cent said it was a lack of control over the work that they do.
l          In addition, 5 per cent of employees said they were bullied on a frequent basis and 18 per cent that they had been bullied at some point in the previous 6 months.
l          Only 30.5 per cent of staff at large companies offering discounted gym membership were aware of the offer. Of those, 31.4 per cent took it up.
l          In large companies, healthy options in staff canteens, bicycle purchase schemes and clinical screening services all had awareness rates of less than 50 per cent.

Full article:
https://www.vitality.co.uk/business/healthiest-workplace/findings/

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Related links:

After-work Emails: Banned in France, a "National Epidemic" in Canada
http://globalnews.ca/news/2725886/after-work-emails-banned-in-france-a-national-epidemic-in-canada/

Is a Condensed, 3-day Work Week a Good Idea for Work-life Balance?
http://globalnews.ca/news/1464022/is-a-3-day-work-week-a-good-idea-for-work-life-balance/

Study: Is Full-time Work Bad for Our Brains?
http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20160714-is-full-time-work-bad-for-our-brains


Please join us along with more than 40 presenters and thousands of sustainable business professionals for a 3-day virtual livestream to:

**Watch inspiring mainstage sessions on the future of sustainable business;

**Gain actionable insights on critical trends across six tracks: Design & the Circular Economy, Purpose & People, Materiality & Metrics, Stakeholders & Storytelling, Risk & Resilience, and The New Energy Landscape.

Even if you can't tune into the livestream, register for full access to the archived video following the event!

Tuesday, February 14: 1:20pm - 5:30pm
Wednesday, February 15: 8:20am - 12:30pm
Thursday, February 16: 9:50am - 12:00pm

**All Sessions are in Mountain Standard Time (MT)

About GreenBiz Forum:
Sustainability leaders from the world’s largest companies gather each year at the GreenBiz forum to explore pressing challenges and emerging opportunities in sustainable business. The event offers a rich blend of presentations, workshops and networking opportunities framed by the State of Green Business report, GreenBiz Group’s award-winning annual research and analysis of key sustainability metrics and trends. Attendees return from GreenBiz both inspired by what’s possible and ready to tackle their organization’s greatest sustainability challenges. GreenBiz is produced in collaboration with the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.

To Register, please visit:
https://www.greenbiz.com/events/greenbiz-forum/phoenix/2017/virtual-event

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Related link:

Economy Literacy for a Green Economy
http://sustainabilitynetwork.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Factsheet-%E2%80%94-ver-A.compressed.pdf
Canadians enjoy a high level of well-being. On all eleven components of the OECD’s Better Life Index, Canada performs better than the OECD average. The economy and labour markets stood up better than those of most OECD countries to the ravages of the global financial crisis.

Canada needs to step up its efforts to fight climate change. Canadian greenhouse gas emissions are among the highest in the OECD on a per capita basis. Without a change in current policies, the country will not meet the target of reducing 2005 emissions by 30% by 2030. This is crucial at the current juncture, when all governments around the world need to agree on a common strategy to limit global warming to below 2 degrees. Moreover, the success story of the recent past was at least in part a result of the natural resources boom, which has now come to an end. To maintain economic momentum, reform efforts need to be stepped up. Catching up with the best-performing OECD countries in terms of productivity is crucial in this regard. Investments in infrastructure to avoid congestion and facilitate trade through better gateway links can also help, provided these investments are focused on high-return projects.



Drawing on the experience and expertise of the OECD, this report was prepared to help the new government of Canada with its ambitious reform agenda. It suggests how Canada can improve productivity by adjusting its regulatory framework, its infrastructure and its competition and innovation policies. It discusses how Canada can reduce unemployment and better assist those who have lost their jobs due to the end of the natural resources boom. It also addresses the need for more inclusive growth, by further enhancing the skills level of the Canadian workforce and making sure that all Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, have the skills they need to succeed in life.

The report also makes suggestions for strengthening the redistributive effects of Canada’s tax system without harming growth, and for making the pension and health care systems more inclusive. From a more global perspective, the document also suggests how Canada can reinforce the linkages between Canada’s development co-operation efforts and systemic undertakings such as climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals or world trade. The OECD is looking forward to working with the new government of Canada to support its efforts to improve economic, social and environmental outcomes by designing, promoting and implementing better policies for better lives.

Key Observations:

Redesigning the tax and benefits system for more inclusive growth
- Canada would benefit from having the increase in the top personal income tax rate accompanied by measures that limit income shifting from labour income to lower-taxed capital income.
- Preferential taxation of small companies should be reviewed (e.g. in the context of the recently announced federal tax expenditure review) to identify clear market failures and the policy instruments best suited to addressing them.

Refocusing Canada’s development co-operation
- Working with the provinces and the electricity industry to facilitate greater interconnections between provinces (where economic) and, more generally, promote greater integration of Canada's electricity markets could improve competition, enhance system reliability and facilitate the integration of intermittent renewable generation.

Enhancing productivity for inclusive growth, putting in place a stronger and more inclusive labour market
- Domestic competition and efficiency could be enhanced by strengthening the internal market through the easing of interprovincial barriers to trade and labour mobility, including a focus on regulatory co-operation and mutual recognition among provinces and territories.

Enhancing Canada’s innovation performance
- R&D subsidies could have more beneficial effects on productivity if they were more clearly targeted at overcoming market failures. In this regard, it would be useful to evaluate R&D subsidy policies to determine whether their structure, including a substantially enhanced R&D tax-credit rate for small companies and a heavy reliance on indirect measures, and the level of the standard R&D tax credit rate are providing value for money.

Promoting sustainable productivity growth in agriculture
- Canada could benefit from phasing out trade- and production-distorting price supports in agriculture.

Raising the relevance and equity of Canada’s education and skills system
- Putting in place robust mechanisms to assess the quality of early childhood education and care in Canada, with particular attention to the needs of under-served populations, could improve student performance.

Enhancing the pension and health care systems
- Canada could benefit from implementing universal health insurance coverage for spending on pharmaceuticals.

Addressing Climate change and other environmental challenges
- Further expanding the use of market instruments to price CO2 emissions, greater co-ordination of provincial schemes at the federal level and greater coherence of provincial climate change strategies with international commitments would help to curb CO2 emissions.

Full Report:
http://www.oecd.org/canada/promoting-green-and-inclusive-growth-in-canada.pdf



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Getting Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Oversight Right
http://www.eprcanada.ca/EPR-Canada-Getting-EPR-Oversight-Right-March-2016.pdf

A New "Debt Retirement Charge" for Ontario Electricity Customers
http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/a-new-debt-retirement-charge-for-ontario-electricity-customers

Storing Nuclear Waste: A $24-billion Problem
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/storing-nuclear-waste-a-24-billion-problem-1.794488

Canada Narrows List of Possible Locations for Nuclear Waste Facility
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/canada-narrows-list-of-possible-locations-for-nuclear-waste-facility-1.2604160
Originally posted by ecastleinthesky at The Good Country Index


It's an unexpected side effect of globalization: problems that once would have stayed local—say, a bank lending out too much money—now have consequences worldwide. But still, countries operate independently, as if alone on the planet.

Policy advisor Simon Anholt has dreamed up an unusual scale to get governments thinking outwardly: The Good Country Index. In a riveting and funny talk, he answers the question, "Which country does the most good?" The answer may surprise you (especially if you live in the US or China).

http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_anholt_which_country_does_the_most_good_for_the_world

About "The Good Country Index"

The idea of the Good Country Index is pretty simple: to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away. Using a wide range of data from the U.N. and other international organisations, we’ve given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.

The Dual Mandate Measurement

The aim of the Good Country is simple but ambitious: to change the culture of governance worldwide.

In the past, leaders had a simple, single mandate: to do the best for their own people and their own slice of territory - frequently at the expense of people in other territories. In the age of global threats and opportunities, they must accept a Dual Mandate:

Today, leaders must realise that they're responsible not only for their own people, but for every man, woman, child and animal on the planet; not just responsible for their own slice of territory, but for every square inch of the earth's surface and the atmosphere above it.

In our opinion, any leader who isn't prepared for this level of responsibility shouldn't be leading. And we will do whatever we can to help the world's leaders move to the Dual Mandate, and to help citizens support them as they do so.

Notice how Iceland ranked 1st in the Planet & Climate Category? Perhaps this should act as a benchmark for the rest of the world to follow....

https://goodcountry.org/index/overall-rankings

About Simon Anholt

He helps national, regional and city governments earn better reputations—not by launching advertising or PR campaigns, but by changing the way they behave.

http://www.ted.com/speakers/simon_anholt

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Related links:

100 Resilient Cities
http://www.100resilientcities.org/resilience#/-_/

Best Practices in Climate Resilience from Six North American Cities
https://www1.toronto.ca/City%20Of%20Toronto/Environment%20and%20Energy/Programs%20for%20Businesses/Images/16-06-2014%20Best%20Practices%20in%20Climate%20Resilience.pdf

How green cities are better for us physically and psychologically
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/how-green-cities-are-better-for-us-physically-and-psychologically/article19474393/

Urban planning: Lessons from the pioneers
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/architecture/urban-planning-lessons-from-the-pioneers/article15959496/
City officials announce new "Vision Zero" logo for road safety plan, plus new red light cameras and 12 "senior safety zones."

In an effort to protect the lives of elderly pedestrians, the city is doubling the number of red light cameras at local intersections and establishing 12 “senior safety zones” across Toronto.

Despite accounting for only 14 per cent of Toronto’s population, elderly residents make up the majority of pedestrian fatalities in the city. Of the 44 pedestrians killed in Toronto last year, two-thirds were over 65.

“These are preventable deaths,” said Mayor John Tory Tuesday, after announcing the first senior safety zone at the intersection of Dundas Street West and Bloor Street.

The intersection was home to four pedestrian deaths and five serious injuries in the past six years, said Coun. Jaye Robinson. Many victims were seniors.

To reduce the carnage at the intersection, the city has lowered speed limits in the area from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, erected signs urging drivers to slow down and increased pedestrian crossing times.

Similar changes will be made to 11 other intersections across the city in the first quarter of 2017, Robinson said. Many of the new senior zones are outside the downtown core, including the intersection of Eglinton and Midland, where two pedestrians were killed last year.

Transportation staff will also be installing new red light cameras at 76 intersections. The cameras have been shown to reduce injuries and deaths at intersections by as much as 60 per cent, Tory said.

The mayor was adamant the red light cameras had nothing to do with revenue.

“It’s not about the money,” Tory said. “Even if they produce zero dollars, I would still be happy with them.”

Toronto’s road safety strategy has been rebranded as a “Vision Zero” plan, complete with a new logo and beefed up rhetoric from city officials.

Vision Zero is an approach to road safety that seeks to eliminate road deaths and injuries. It suggests safety is the responsibility of transportation designers rather than individual road users.

When Toronto’s road safety strategy was unveiled last June, Mayor John Tory claimed it would reduce deaths and injuries by 20 per cent. After being criticized for the “timid” goal, Tory recanted, and said the plan will strive to eliminate, not just reduce, fatalities.

“I once mistakenly cited any objective other than zero,” Tory said Tuesday. “Frankly, any number above zero is not acceptable.”
Tory’s remarks were reflected in a new Vision Zero logo for the city’s road safety strategy, complete with an image of the CN Tower. The logo is featured prominently on a new website that lets residents map 11 years of pedestrian collision data and track the city’s efforts to achieve Vision Zero.

To learn more about VisionZero Toronto, please visit:
http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=94bf4d6e50d19510VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD


Barbara Gray is Toronto’s new general manager of transportation. She comes to the city from Seattle, where she was a champion for pedestrian and cyclist safety.

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Related links:
Metro Talks: Transportation Director Barbara Gray on the Future of Our Roadways
http://www.metronews.ca/news/toronto/2017/01/09/metro-talks-toronto-transportation-director-barbara-gray.html

"Safety is Job Number One," Says Toronto's New Transportation Chief
http://www.metronews.ca/news/toronto/2016/12/20/safety-is-job-number-one-says-toronto-transportation-chief.html
With its ongoing recycling revolution, less than one per cent of Sweden’s household waste ends up in a rubbish dump. The rest is recycled in different ways.

Towards zero waste

Wouldn’t it be great if no household waste was wasted? If each and every item of refuse was turned into something else – new products, raw materials, gas or at least heat?

Sweden is almost there. More than 99 per cent of all household waste is recycled in one way or another. This means that the country has gone through something of a recycling revolution in the last decades, considering that only 38 per cent of household waste was recycled in 1975 (see chart).

Today, recycling stations are as a rule no more than 300 metres from any residential area. Most Swedes separate all recyclable waste in their homes and deposit it in special containers in their block of flats or drop it off at a recycling station. Few other nations deposit less in rubbish dumps.

Stepping up recycling

Weine Wiqvist, CEO of the Swedish Waste Management and Recycling Association (Avfall Sverige), still thinks Swedes can do more, considering that about half of all household waste is burnt, that is, turned into energy. He explains that reusing materials or products means using less energy to create a product, than burning one and making another from scratch.

‘We are trying to “move up the refuse ladder”, as we say, from burning to material recycling, by promoting recycling and working with authorities’, he says.

Meanwhile, Swedish households keep separating their newspapers, plastic, metal, glass, electric appliances, light bulbs and batteries. Many municipalities also encourage consumers to separate food waste. And all of this is reused, recycled or composted.

Newspapers are turned into paper mass, bottles are reused or melted into new items, plastic containers become plastic raw material; food is composted and becomes soil or biogas through a complex chemical process. Rubbish trucks are often run on recycled electricity or biogas. Wasted water is purified to the extent of being potable. Special rubbish trucks go around cities and pick up electronics and hazardous waste such as chemicals. Pharmacists accept leftover medicine. Swedes take their larger waste, such as a used TV or broken furniture, to recycling centres on the outskirts of the cities.


At the Gärstadverken in Linköping, waste is turned into energy. The chart shows how much recycling has grown in Sweden over the last decades. (Photo: Åke E:son Lindman)


Waste to energy

Let’s take a closer look at the 50 per cent of the household waste that is burnt to produce energy at incineration plants. Waste is a relatively cheap fuel and Sweden has, over time, developed a large capacity and skill in efficient and profitable waste treatment. Sweden even imports 700,000 tonnes of waste from other countries.

The remaining ashes constitute 15 per cent of the weight before burning. From the ashes, metals are separated and recycled, and the rest, such as porcelain and tile, which do not burn, is sifted to extract gravel that is used in road construction. About one per cent still remains and is deposited in rubbish dumps.

The smoke from incineration plants consists of 99.9 per cent non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, but is still filtered through dry filters and water. The dry filters are deposited. The sludge from the dirty filter water is used to refill abandoned mines.

In Sweden, burning waste to produce energy is uncontroversial, but in other countries – like the US – it is a much debated topic.

Doing better

Hans Wrådhe heads the section for waste and chemicals at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) and considers proposing a higher levy on waste collection.

‘That would increase everybody’s awareness of the problem’, he says.

Together with government agencies and corporations, Wrådhe has developed an action plan for waste prevention, including how to encourage producers to make products that last longer. The agency also considers proposing a tax deduction for some repairs.

‘Government-sponsored ads on how to avoid food waste might also help’, he says. ‘And less toxic substances used in production would mean fewer products that require expensive treatment.’


In this stationary vacuum system, users throw their waste into ordinary inlets, where the bags are stored temporarily. All full inlets are then emptied at regular intervals through a network of underground pipes. (Photo: Envac)

Companies joining the effort

Some Swedish companies have voluntarily joined in the struggle. For example, H&M has begun accepting used clothing from customers in exchange for rebate coupons in an initiative called Garment Collecting.

The Optibag company has developed a machine that can separate coloured waste bags from each other. People throw food in a green bag, paper in a red one, and glass or metal in another. Once at the recycling plant, Optibag sorts the bags automatically. This way, waste sorting stations could be eliminated.

The southern Swedish city of Helsingborg even fitted public waste bins with loudspeakers playing pleasant music – all in the name of recycling.

Back to Swedish Waste Management and Recycling Association CEO Wiqvist, who thinks perfection in recycling is possible, an idea worth striving for.

‘“Zero waste” – that is our slogan’, he says. ‘We would prefer less waste being generated, and that all the waste that is generated is recycled in some way. Perfection may never happen, but it certainly is a fascinating idea.’

https://sweden.se/nature/the-swedish-recycling-revolution/


The concept of Vision Zero first originated in Sweden in 1997, when the Swedish parliament adopted it as the official road policy. Founded on the belief that loss of life is not an acceptable price to pay for mobility, Vision Zero takes a systems approach to enhancing safety. Rather than exclusively faulting drivers and other users of the transportation system, Vision Zero places the core responsibility for accidents on the overall system design, addressing infrastructure design, vehicle technology, and enforcement. The approach has resulted in noteworthy successes – Sweden has one of the lowest annual rates of road deaths in the world (3 out of 100,000 as compared to 12.3 in the United States). Not only that, but fatalities involving pedestrians have fallen almost 50% in the last five years.

According to professor Claus Tingvall, one of the architects of Sweden’s Vision Zero policy, system design should be based on the premise that humans are fallible, and will make mistakes. “If you take a nuclear power station, if you take aviation, if you take a rail system, all of them are based on [the idea that] they are operated by people who can make a mistake.” The same understanding should influence roadway design, where traffic calming, well-marked crosswalks and pedestrian zones, and separated bike lanes can help minimize the consequences of a mistake. According to Vision Zero philosophy, “In every situation a person might fail. The road system should not.”

Vision Zero policies have already been adopted in Norway and Denmark and are gaining traction across the U.S. Shortly after his inauguration, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths and injuries in the city. The NYC action plan uses a multi-pronged approach that emphasizes enhanced enforcement, improved street design, and legislative proposals dealing with safety. The plan cites successes from several U.S. states that have implemented similar approaches with dramatic results, including a 43% reduction in traffic fatalities in Minnesota, a 48% reduction in Utah, and a 40% decrease in Washington State.

The public health imperative behind Vision Zero is clear: increasing the safety of our streets not only saves lives, but also makes it easier and more enticing for people to engage in daily physical activity by walking and biking.

To Learn More About Vision Zero:
http://www.visionzeroinitiative.com/
http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/pdf/20151210_1_sweden.pdf
https://www.sei-international.org/mediamanager/documents/Publications/Future/vision_zero_FinalReportMarch06.pdf

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Related link:
How to Design a Neighborhood for Happiness
http://www.shareable.net/blog/how-to-design-a-neighborhood-for-happiness
March 21 @6:15PM -- Free Pre-Festival Screening : After the Last River with Minister Glen Murray and Director Victoria Lean



For tickets, please click:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/free-screening-after-the-last-river-tickets-22069275798

In the shadow of a De Beers diamond mine, a remote indigenous community lurches from crisis to crisis, as their homeland transforms into a modern frontier. Rosie Koostachin delivers donations to families who live in uninsulated sheds, overgrown with toxic mold. She is determined to raise awareness, believing that if only Canadians knew, her hometown's dire situation would improve. Over five years, filmmaker Victoria Lean follows Attawapiskat's journey from obscurity and into the international spotlight twice - first when the Red Cross intervenes and again during the protest movement, Idle No More. Weaving together great distances, intimate scenes and archive images, the documentary chronicles the First Nation's fight for justice in the face of hardened indifference.

Join us for a viewing of this thought-provoking and enlightening documentary that connects personal stories from the First Nation to entwined mining industry agendas and government policies, painting a complex portrait of a territory that is an imperiled homeland to some and a profitable new frontier for others.

Hosted by the Ontario Water Works Association (OWWA)- University of Toronto Student Chapter in association with Ecologos as a part of Water Docs 2016 - a documentary film festival about all things water

More about the Water Docs 2016 Festival:
http://ecologos.ca/water-docs-2016/
Written By Jeromy Johnson

Wireless technology has become an integral part of our culture. It has connected us to people and information and has also brought us incredible convenience and economic benefits.

Just think how this technology has expanded in just the eight years since the iPhone was introduced. We have seen ubiquitous WiFi, tablet computers, wireless smart meters, the smart home, wearable tech, and now the Internet of Things. This latest development will connect everything we own to the internet via pulsed microwave radiation.



This may sound like an amazing technological future that will only provide us with benefits. However, what if there is a downside that is just now becoming apparent? In short, is this exponential rise in microwave radiation affecting our health? And, most importantly, is it affecting children who will be exposed to unprecedented levels of artificial electromagnetic radiation their entire lives?

This is the question I look at in this TEDx talk. I explore the problem and delve deeply into the long-term health consequences and why a growing number of people world-wide are starting to be injured by wireless technology. There are common symptoms that many people now experience when they are near a WiFi router, wireless smart meter, or cell phone tower. They include:

*Insomnia
*Headaches
*Tinnitus/Ringing in the Ears
*Fatigue
*Cognitive Disturbance
*Irritability/Stress

This TEDx talk is not only about the health effects and the science behind this growing problem. I also provide solutions – simple actions you can take right now to reduce your exposure. The five solutions I provide will cost you almost nothing at all, but will provide tremendous benefits.

I also discuss paths we can take to create safer technologies. This is the ultimate destiny of our culture. It is not about going backwards. I believe we can move toward a future with safe technology and that our society is evolving to the point where industry will have to implement safe technologies. Once this happens, our entire society will move into a healthier future.

My intention is that this talk helps you create a healthier relationship with technology and that it is something that will open up this important topic to those who are close to you.

**About Jeromy Johnson - He is an expert on reducing Electromagnetic Field (EMF) pollution. He has a leading website website on this topic and speaks around the world to provide solutions to this important issue. He has also written a book called "How to Find a Healthy Home" and has demonstrated that simple changes in our daily practices can go a long way to ensuring a healthier life. Jeromy has an advanced degree in Civil Engineering and has worked in Silicon Valley for 15 years.

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/02/22/wake-up-call-why-we-can-no-longer-assume-wireless-technology-is-safe/


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Related Link:
This Is What WIFI, Cell Phones, iPads & More Are Doing To Your Child’s Brain – 100 + Scientists Are Now Petitioning The UN
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/02/21/this-is-what-wifi-cell-phones-ipads-more-are-doing-to-your-childs-brain-100-scientists-are-now-petitioning-the-un/
Chemist Rebecca Abergel and her colleagues have found a way to remove radioactive contaminants from the body. Now they are trying to put their solution in a pill.

After the US dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War Two, more than 100,000 people died — many from exposure to radiation. At high doses, radiation blasts through tissues, ruptures DNA strands and alters the rhythms of cell division. Disrupted cells cause nausea, diarrhea and fever, then dizziness, weakness and hair loss. Over time they may turn cancerous. For a person who has experienced high levels of radiation in a short period of time, from a nuclear weapon or a Chernobyl-scale nuclear power plant meltdown, treatment options are limited. Doctors can make a patient comfortable, treat burns and nausea, and try to keep the radiation from spreading. But an acute dose is usually fatal. The problem is, once radiation is in the body, it can be very hard to get out.

It may not have to be this way. Nuclear weapons and accidents commonly release actinides, a group of radioactive elements at the bottom of the periodic table. Actinides such as plutonium, uranium and curium easily lock into our bones and organs, where they can emit radiation into our bodies for decades. Chemist Rebecca Abergel and colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in California, have created molecules that bind to actinides to form large, stable complexes that are easier for the body to expel. She (TEDxAix Talk: Ambivalent radionuclides) shares more on the idea, not least that it’s been around for more than 60 years.

Hey, plutonium, you’re coming with me. Abergel’s team is developing chelators, naturally occurring molecules that can form multiple bonds to a single metal ion. Chelators are a long-established treatment for poisoning by heavy metals such as iron, arsenic and lead. (They have also been tried as risky “alternative” treatments for conditions like heart disease and autism; many doctors consider these uses of chelation to be controversial.) Abergel and her team at Berkeley have made a chelator that binds to actinides — without interfering with other metals that we need in our bodies, such as zinc or iron. The work is a continuation of research that started back in the 1950s, pretty much once people started realizing the potential havoc of nuclear warfare.

Building a chelator requires educated guessing and checking. To make their chelators, Abergel’s team worked with scaffolds inspired by the known molecular structures of iron-binding chelators in bacteria. They tinkered with parts of the scaffolds step by step, modifying properties such as the acidity and number of binding sites through a series of chemical reactions. They also tacked on additional arms. “Actinides are bigger than iron, so you need more coordinating atoms,” Abergel explains. Over the last 30 years, she and her colleagues have tested dozens of different structures. One removed 80 percent of contaminating plutonium from mice, in two days, with just a single dose.

Human trials for a radiation poisoning cure. Abergel’s team has already demonstrated the safety and efficacy of their chelators in human cell cultures and several animal models. Last year they received FDA approval for a clinical trial testing the safety of a chelator treatment in humans. This will give one dose of the chelator, first at extremely low levels and then at increasingly higher levels to healthy volunteers, to establish the safety of the chelators and pinpoint any side effects. The researchers will never do a “controlled” clinical trial on people because that would require contaminating humans with radioactive substances. Instead, they will compare their human trial data with their animal data to establish safe, effective doses in humans.

Now, to make an anti-radiation poisoning pill. It would be possible to deliver chelators via a pill or an injection, but Abergel much prefers the pill. “If there is a mass casualty where millions of people are contaminated, you don’t want to be handing out needles,” she says. “Pills are straightforward to distribute, and can easily be crushed into a powder and mixed into something like yogurt for children or elderly people.”

The imperfect science of determining dosage. Much of the work that lies ahead for Abergel is nailing down the details of how to administer such a pill. “In animal models we’ve been looking at different contamination and treatment scenarios,” she says. “If there’s a nuclear power plant accident, what happens if we give the treatment 24 hours after contamination? Two days after? Should people take one pill every day for two weeks or twice a week for one? When do we stop treatment?” Her team is also looking at uses outside large-scale catastrophes — for instance, how the drug might benefit people who are regularly exposed to small amounts of radioactivity, such as scientists, nuclear power plant workers and uranium miners. Such everyday use would be a first for Abergel: normally, the best-case scenario for her product is that it never be used at all. (Until now, her work has relied on funding from the US government, which would add any resulting decontamination drug to its stockpile for emergency use.)

Chelator as a legitimate cancer treatment? Abergel is now experimenting with using synthesized chelators as a way to introduce therapeutic actinides to the body to treat cancer. Her idea: to attach the actinide-chelator complex to another molecule, such as an antibody, that can recognize and attach to a cancer cell. To minimize damage to healthy cells, Abergel is choosing actinides that decay and exit the body quickly. Doctors could also add tracer compounds to the actinide-chelator complex, which would show as fluorescent under certain light. “So these new platforms could target the cancer cell, bring in the radionuclide that destroys everything around it, and we can also image it,” Abergel says. It is very, very early days here — don’t ask your doctor about it quite yet. But if it works, then that of course is one treatment that definitely would be used.

http://ideas.ted.com/how-were-making-a-pill-that-cures-radiation-poisoning
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