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Clean Break
Tyler Hamilton is the Editor-in-Chief of Corporate Knights Magazine. Prior to joining the magazine, Hamilton spent 10 years as a business columnist at the Toronto Star. Hamilton is also the author of the book Mad Like Tesla.

RMI chief: “It’s game over for the tar sands… for coal”

Canada could become a purveyor of horse buggies and whips in the 21st century, warns Jules Kortenhorst.

There’s no shortage of environmental and energy “think tanks” telling us how to wean society off fossil fuels and at the same time keep climate change from spiraling out of control. But Boulder, Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), founded in 1982 by Amory and Hunter Lovins, arguably stands above the rest.

As Amory Lovins is fond of saying, RMI isn’t just a think tank – it’s a “do tank.” Over the years it has worked with big business and military organizations on ways to get the biggest bang for their energy buck with the least impact possible on the environment. Clients include utility Duke Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense.

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Celestica moves sustainability beyond compliance

From mining e-waste to recycling shipping pallets, Celestica seeks a competitive edge with focus on resource productivity.

James Field was flying back to Toronto from Shanghai when he sensed something was terribly wrong.

The trip itself was routine. Field was part of the engineering services team at electronics manufacturing giant Celestica. Visiting customers and satellite facilities in other countries was part of the job, and he enjoyed it.

Yet on this day the journey home was anything but routine.

Field, 37 at the time, was mid-flight when he began to feel a sharp pain in his chest. His breathing became short and rapid and his heart rate spiked. He was in distress and trapped on an airplane, and all signs pointed to what doctors determined was a pulmonary embolism.

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A Tesla on your doorstep

Meet Mike Lee, the UberX Tesla-driver of Toronto.

Uber, the embattled enabler of ride sharing, loves Mike Lee.

Tesla Motors, the electric vehicle pioneer, loves Mike Lee.

And many UberX users around the Toronto area probably love Mike Lee as well.

Lee is known by his Twitter handle @uberxtesla, and since joining UberX he has become somewhat of a celebrity to users of the popular ride-sharing service. After all, it’s not often that your ride-for-hire shows up in a shiny white Tesla Model S sedan, an electric car that continues to turn heads three years after its introduction.

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Pay-as-you go solar takes off in East Africa

Nairobi-based M-KOPA is using mobile micro-payment technologies to bring safe, affordable light to dark African villages.

It’s not often a person can say he or she has directly improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in just a few years, but that’s exactly what Canadian Jesse Moore has managed to do.

And he’s just scratching the surface.

Moore is co-founder and managing director of M-KOPA Solar, a Nairobi-based venture that for the past three years has been bringing solar lighting and phone charging to homes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda that don’t have access to grid electricity.

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How to avoid an acid trip

Shipping trainloads of sulphuric acid and other dangerous chemicals can be risky and often unnecessary business.

On a cool winter’s afternoon in Temagami, about 70 kilometres northeast of Sudbury, a 51-car train operated by Ontario Northland jumped its track while rounding a right-hand curve. The first 13 cars were spared, but when all commotion came to a halt the conductor discovered that 29 cars near the back had been lost, some tumbling down an embankment – most carrying highly corrosive sulphuric acid.

The accident gave new meaning to the term “dropping acid.”

By the time the dust settled, authorities determined that 386,000 litres of the nasty liquid had leaked out from damaged cars, more than the average Canadian household consumes in water over an entire year. Much of it found its way into a nearby creek and lake, killing fish and bottom-feeding organisms like snails, clams and insects. Regulators determined that “weakened track structure” and poor track inspection were largely to blame for the March 2000 accident.

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