Ooh-La-La! Paris Is Going Car-Free for a Great Cause

On September 27, the French capital will spend “A Day Without Cars” to promote cleaner air and safer streets.

image via (cc) flickr user la_bretagne_a_paris

Paris may be for lovers, but on September 27, the French capital will also be for walkers, bikers, and other decidedly non-automotive travelers. Sponsored by the city government, “Une Journée Sans Voiture” (“A Day Without a Car”) will see streets across town shut down (or “opened up,” depending on how you look at it) in order to make things a little easier for the native Parisians and tourists alike, who are sick of the city’s traffic, and the noise and pollution it causes as well.

Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the event this past Spring, tweeting a picture of the city’s famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées, completely car-free:

via twitter

According to the Une Journée Sans Voiture webpage, areas that will be set aside solely for pedestrians include the city’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th and 11th municipal zones, as well as streets around the Eiffel Tower, the Bois de Boulogne public park and the Champs-Élysées. And while the car ban is not absolute (government vehicles, for instance, will be allowed to drive in the affected areas, as will people who themselves live in those neighborhoods) they are widespread enough to have the capacity to dramatically change the way people exist in the city.

image via (cc) flickr user zapthedingbat

Paris’ experiment with car-less streets is scheduled to come fresh on the heels of a similar ban in the (much smaller) European capital city of Stockholm, Sweden. Inhabitat points out that the day without cars also coincides with both European Mobility week and the COP21 United Nations climate conference.

Admittedly, a single day without cars is unlikely to make much of a dent in the global pollution rates. What it does do, instead, is make it a bit easier for city-dwellers—many of whom are likely inured to the frustrations of living in a traffic-heavy metropolis—to experience their everyday surroundings in a new, less hectic light. And perhaps, having had a taste of traffic-less living, enough people, both residents and tourists alike, will be inspired to make an eco-friendly change in their own lives, rather than wait for an entire city to do it for them.

[via inhabitat, forbes]

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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The Planet

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

via Found Animals Foundation / Flickr

Service dogs are true blessings that provide a wide array of services for their owners based on their disability.

They can provide preventative alerts for people with epilepsy and dysautonomia. They can do small household tasks like turning lights on and off or providing stability for their owners while standing or walking.

For those with PTSD they can provide emotional support to help them in triggering situations.

However, there are many people out there who fraudulently claim their pets are service or emotional support animals. These trained animals can cause disturbances in businesses or on public transportation.

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