Marijuana's closely related plant cousin, otherwise known as hemp, has many more uses than making rope and clothes. Hemp could revolutionize the auto industry, making for an auto-innovation that is even more groundbreaking than electrically powered cars. Bio-degradable and super sturdy, cars made entirely of hemp is the next step in green transportation.
More than just a lofty environmental idea, real scientific research has been performed, and is ongoing, on the uses of hemp in manufacturing automobiles. Methods of creating plant-based substitutes for metal materials is being researched by scientist in England and Australia, who believe hemp cars are the way of the future.
Alan Crosky of the University of New South Whales in Australia points out to ABC news that lighter hemp-made cars will require less fuel to propel them down the road, making them greener in general.
Crosky also notes that hemp fibers are actually stronger (in terms of strength vs. weight) than steel and is far cheaper to produce. Hemp cars would also cost less to produce, and, best of all, when they "die" the body can just be buried back into the earth. No more junkyards and harmful environmental waste.
Prototypes of hemp cars have actually already been produced. The official first (aside from Henry Ford's Model T from way back when) was the Kestrel, a 4-passenger car created by the Canadian transportation design firm Motive. The Kestrel can speed up to 90km/hour, can travel 100 miles before being recharged, and weights only 2, 500 lbs. While the car looks to be nearly done, things have been a little quite on the Kestrel front, but you can read more about it here.
Hopefully more care manufacturers and designers pick up on the benefits of hemp, and how it can be actually be the answer the many problems plaguing the automotive industry, at least the issues seen through an environmental lens. Here's to hemp.
All Canadians are soon going to have to get a little more green. Omar Alghabra, the federal government's Minister of Transportation, announced at a press conference on Tuesday, June 29, that Canada will ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035.
"To build a greener economy, create good jobs, and put Canadians in the driver’s seat to a net-zero future, our government is accelerating its mandatory sales target of 100% zero-emission vehicles from 2040 to 2035," he later announced on Twitter.
As Quebec's new COVID-19 cases continue to decline and with the rules on gatherings, restaurants, gyms — and more — changing quickly, MTL Blog went through your DMs and answered your questions about what it means to be at a "Level 2–Early Warning (yellow)" alert level.
Can I go to a terrasse with people from different households?
As of Monday, people from two different addresses can sit together at a single table at an outdoor restaurant or bar terrasse.
That means if you're a group of eight people from four different addresses, you'll have to sit at two separate tables.
But as long as you keep it to two households, the number of people doesn't matter.
What are the differences between orange and yellow zone rules?
There are lots of differences between both alert levels, but primarily, yellow and green zones allow for larger gatherings than red and orange zones.
Until Monday, restaurants are only permitted to seat a maximum of two people from different addresses at a single restaurant table, but occupants of the same household can sit together, no matter how many they are.
In yellow zones, an unlimited number of people can be seated at a table, as long as they make up two households.
While places of worship in orange zones are limited to 100 people, the limit is upped to 250 people in yellow zones.
Weddings and funerals in places of worship in orange zones are limited to 25 people. In yellow zones, the allowance is increased to 50 people.
Do we still have to wear masks?
Yes, in most cases.
You do not have to wear masks in most outdoor settings where you can practice social distancing, or when you're eating or drinking at your table in a restaurant or bar.
When gathering indoors in private homes located in yellow zones, masks and social distancing are still required.
Masks have to be worn in movie theatres until you are seated in the theatre. Only then can you remove your mask, provided you remain silent.
Masks must also be worn in auditoriums, but may be removed once the person is seated.
Wearing a face covering is mandatory for spectators of indoor sports aged 10 and over, except in facilities where seats are assigned in advance.
According to Éconofitness, in yellow zone gyms, wearing a mask is mandatory to circulate within the gym and when 2-metre social distancing is not possible, such as in the free weights section.
They're not mandatory when you can social distance — but it's recommended that you wear a mask for better protection.
When will clubs be open?
Bars are permitted to reopen their indoor spaces on Monday, and a club is a type of bar.
However, you will have to remain seated at all times — no dancing or singing is permitted at this time.
Occupants two households can be seated at the same table, regardless of the number of people.
For the time being, bars will close at midnight and stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m.
Are there any updates on interprovincial travel?
In yellow zones, travel between regions and cities is still not recommended, but it is possible.
The Quebec and Ontario border is still closed and it's currently prohibited for someone from Ontario to be in Quebec or vice-versa. However, there are exceptions.
How many guests are allowed at weddings, and can they dance?
A maximum of 50 guests is permitted at weddings in places of worship in yellow zones.
The government doesn't specify whether singing or dancing is not permitted.
While singing and dancing are not currently permitted at bars, Quebec is allowing high school graduates to dance without masks at their proms.
What are the rules on indoor gatherings in homes?
Indoor gatherings are allowed! But they are limited to people from a maximum of two households.
Masks must be worn at all times and you also have to practice 2-metre social distancing.
What are the gym restrictions in yellow zones?
In yellow zone gyms, training activities carried out by yourself, in pairs or by members of two households are permitted.
Training at close proximity is not permitted, except among members of the same household.
Gyms have to keep a sign-in record, and they have to publicly post the maximum capacity of the gym.
At Éconofitness, you are not required to wear a mask while exercising, so long as you can practice social distancing — but it's recommended for further protection.
Some gyms are requiring booking your workout session online before attending so they can ensure the maximum capacity of the space is respected.
Gym locker rooms can open as of Monday.
When could Montreal become a green zone?
The government of Quebec has laid out a reopening plan with the goal of lifting almost all COVID-19 restrictions by the end of August if 75% of those aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
According to the plan, most Quebec regions should be green zones by June 28.
In green zones, there are larger occupancy limits for indoor spaces — but some limits don't change between yellow and green zones, such as weddings and funerals.
This article's cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.
Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN-NDG) borough is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to public parks, Alex Montagano, of Équipe CDN-NDG / Team CDN-NDG, told MTL Blog.
The president and leader of the borough-level party vying for power in the upcoming November 7 municipal election is arguing the city’s most populous neighbourhood is being denied an equitable share of green space while chipping in more than its share to the city budget.
And he’s a little upset about that: "Do you feel sold out? You should," he told MTL Blog.
"Projet Montréal is spending a billion dollars on Parc Jean-Drapeau," he said. "But what about us and what about our needs? We're not exercising our political power effectively and politicians forget about us."
CDN-NDG 'is always getting the short end of the stick,' he says
Montagano argued that when it comes to investments in public parks and green spaces, CDN-NDG being underserved.
According to a 2019 parks plan for the Sud-Ouest borough, CDN-NDG had 0.58 hectares of parkland for every thousand residents, which was about half the Montreal average of 1.19 hectares per thousand.
Moreover — despite contributing a substantial amount in property taxes to the city’s coffers — the borough’s 172,118 residents will be receiving only $20.5 million in scheduled expenditures over two years, which is the smallest per capita investment budget in the city, according to the City of Montreal's 2020 budget.
"We're an economic powerhouse," said Montagano. "We give the city a wack load of money and the city doesn't invest here. They spend the money elsewhere. So now we're in this situation where other boroughs have better services and infrastructure than we do and we're paying for it."
"It's like we're giving to a charity and the benefactors are better off than we are."
'People should be upset'
For pandemic-weary Montrealers, the city’s public parks have offered refuge from the anxieties of life under lockdown over the past year, making them all the more important, said Montagano.
"With the pandemic, the whole dynamic in the way people live in cities has completely changed," he said. "Local community has become a lot more important. People are staying close to home and they're using the parks."
During a recent community clean-up of Parc Georges-Saint-Pierre, Montagano noted residents collected a number of bags of unsightly garbage.
"The park was a mess," he said. "People should be upset. This is not acceptable. We should demand better from our elected representatives and they're not delivering."
'Some spaces are a little beat up'
France Stohner, a mental health counsellor and community organizer, echoed the sentiment.
Stohner is representing the Snowdon district under Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough mayor Sue Montgomery’s new party, Courage – Équipe Sue Montgomery.
"We have to find a way to have more public green spaces as well as cleaner spaces," she told MTL Blog. "I'm sure you've walked around Côte-des-Neiges and some spaces are a little bit beat up."
She noted CDN-NDG is a neighbourhood of young families, with 47% of residents having at least one child, she said, making clean parks especially important.
"The situation we have here in Côte-des-Neiges is we have a lot of families living intergenerationally in smaller spaces," she said. "Our parks are well-loved and well used. You can show up on a Saturday morning and the park is already beginning to fill up."
"We have to make sure the infrastructure is there to support the community and make people more comfortable so they can use these outdoor spaces in a safe way."