Government:

OPTIMIST MAGAZINE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Soul Talk: Can Spirituality and Politics Govern?

By Sister Jenna Have you ever wondered who our congressional leaders are? What do they really believe, beyond what we know of their policies? Who are the people making the decisions for the lives of citizens in America? “Soul Talk on the Hill,” a series hosted by Sister Jenna takes us into the halls of the U.S. Capitol as she engages in heart-to-heart conversations with some of our Congressional leaders. The series takes us where no policy hearing ever has. Together, we will discover the heart and minds of the men and women of the United States Congress. Are we…

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  • Date:02/14/2019

Why taxing empty apartments can help solve housing shortages in major cities

Many expensive cities around the world are suffering from a housing crisis as more and more people move towards these sprawling metropolises. Strangely enough, these cities tend to have lots of unoccupied homes that are either used as investment properties or second homes. This is the case in Vancouver, which is in need of more housing. To deal with this, the city passed a tax on homes that sit empty for more than six months out of the year. The result? The number of empty apartments dropped 15 percent in just a year and the city raised $38 million. Most…

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  • Fast Company
  • Date:02/14/2019

The Green New Deal wants to bring high-speed trains to America

In many countries around the world, high-speed trains compete with planes in terms of time and costs, providing passengers with a quick, comfortable journey from point A to point B. That’s not the case in America. The United States has only one train that can technically be called a high-speed train, which averages a meager 68 mph as it travels from Boston to Washington DC. Under the Green New Deal, a comprehensive national plan to tackle climate change and inequality that was proposed last week on Capitol Hill, investments would be made in developing a high-speed rail network across the…

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  • Vox
  • Date:02/11/2019

Finally, politicians are taking climate science seriously on Capitol Hill

Climate science was on the agenda on Capitol Hill this week…for the first time in 10 years. OK, we acknowledge that climate science’s 10-year hiatus from the political agenda is simply ridiculous considering the very real presence of climate change these days, but at the very least we can be pleased that it’s getting attention again where it matters most. What’s more, the climate skepticism that usually dominates congressional hearings for the past decade was presented as a minority view as scientists and politicians alike expressed the need for urgency when it comes to drafting policies that prepare for the…

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  • Wired
  • Date:02/08/2019

The Green New Deal sounds great, but what is it actually?

While the Green New Deal resolution has been floating around in the media for the past week or two, the actual details of the deal have been obscure at best. Now a leaked copy has emerged online, and the contents reveal a plan that could thread the needle between a number of serious problems, from the climate crisis to the issue of growing inequality. Amongst many things, the Green New Deal seeks to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs in the renewables sector, restore ecosystems, and upgrade electricity grids. More importantly though, the resolution puts ordinary people at the…

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  • Vox
  • Date:02/08/2019

Hawaii wants to ban cigarette sales to anyone under 100

Is it in our power to take away the right of people to purchase and smoke cigarettes, even if we know it’s terrible for their health? Representatives in Hawaii’s State House think so, which is why they’ve introduced a bill that will eventually ban cigarette sales to anyone under the age of 100. The bill calls for raising the cigarette-buying age to 30 by next year, up to 40, 50, and 60 in each subsequent year, and up to 100 by 2024. Hawaii already has the most restrictive cigarette laws in the nation after it raised the minimum age to…

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  • CNN
  • Date:02/07/2019

Green politics is taking center stage at the state level

While climate action is moving rather sluggishly at the federal level, state governments are picking up the slack by enacting a flurry of new climate policies. That’s partially thanks to the several green-minded governors who were either elected for the first time in 2018 or reelected. Just in the past few months, Oregon has introduced a cap-and-trade system, Colorado has committed to 100 percent renewables, and Florida is pushing for new projects to restore the Everglades and prevent offshore oil development. Experts suspect this recent surge of climate action at the state level will eventually force the feds to follow…

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  • Vox
  • Date:02/05/2019

The European city that eradicated rough sleeping from its streets

Through successful government action, Finland has managed to relieve its capital’s streets of rough sleeping. Since 2007, the Finnish authorities have been running a housing scheme which gives homeless people a stable and permanent home of their own as soon as possible. The beneficiaries can pay rent through state housing benefits and can even opt to stay for the rest of their lives. The groundbreaking scheme sets an exemplary case for other countries who struggle with the problem of homelessness.

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  • BBC
  • Date:02/01/2019

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is using social media to change politics

29-year-old congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not your average politician. Not only has the young politician shown amazing charisma in the face of hostility, but she’s a first-class example of how to use social media to bring more honesty and intimacy into politics. Have a peek here to see how Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is shaping a new political reality in America.

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  • Wired
  • Date:01/28/2019

Is it wise to ban cars from city centers? Just ask Oslo

When a progressive political coalition came to power in the city council of Oslo in 2015, they began unfurling plans that would ban all cars from the city center. Those plans were met with some backlash, but now the positives of pushing cars out of the center of Oslo are becoming clear: parking spots are now bike lanes, transit is fast and easy, and the streets (and local businesses) are full of people. Read more about Oslo’s remarkable car-free transition here.

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  • Fast Company
  • Date:01/25/2019

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