Just finished the pod and sent this off to everyone in my network and to the Olympia School District CFO and school board:

Very stoked to have heard this terrific podcast about a company offering school buses as a service so that school districts.


Getting electric school buses in the hands of school districts


1) Save money in the short term and save LOTS of money in the long term and reduce reliance on dirty fossil fuels

2) Stop poisoning kids’ lungs and deafening kids riding the buses

3) Reduce diesel pollution and noise for everyone and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

4) Enhance community resiliency by providing emergency power storage and response options in case of power interruption events

5) Help their maintenance crews stay relevant by learning the impending new technology.

Olympia schools ought to be leaders — of all the districts in Washington, the one serving the state capital, a fairly compact urban district, is best positioned for leadership.

This is not just a money saving, environmentally necessary step. This isn’t even just a free lunch. This is a lunch that we would get paid to enjoy — we can have a better bus fleet, with reduced health costs, with less risk, and improve our community resiliency at the same time.

Kids watch and learn from what we do much more than from what we say. We say that kids need to develop good critical thinking and the ability to analyze problems objectively — and then we stuff them in diesel buses that hurt their health and contribute to the climate crisis.

Let’s prove to the next generation that we can be at least as smart as we’re asking them to be. Let’s do this. Tell the Olympia School Board: No more diesel buses.

Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay.

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What’s being done with the retired / replaced ICE buses? Do they have a value or are they problem waste? Are some just kept in service (as ICE busses) by new owners? Can they be retrofitted? Can fleet operations follow circular economic practises?

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Feb 5, 2023·edited Feb 5, 2023

OK, now we have to take a queue from the petro industry (and the people they've purchased) to develop and disseminate materials that can be used by communities around the country to accelerate the adoption of electric buses and other complementary technologies. David and Duncan discussed who to contact, but it'd be super helpful to provide some templates to make this as easy as possible.

To that end, does Duncan or anyone else have letters/materials that have already been successful?

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"Zūm electric school buses" The First Electric School Bus Fleet in the US Will Also Power Homes: Battery-powered school buses in Oakland, California, are expected to cut emissions and supply enough electricity to the grid for at least 300 homes. – https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-05-16/the-first-electric-school-bus-fleet-in-the-us-will-also-power-homes

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The podcast spoke of noise reduction, and of regenerative braking, but I didn't get clear whether Ebuses have, or don't have, air brakes that scream at 100 decibels in the ears of everybody at the bus stop. Do they have silent, gentle regenerative braking that they *mostly* use and rarely have to hit the air brakes, or do they not have air brakes at all?

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Great podcast on another of the no-brainer actions we must take on electrification. But dark clouds loom over the electric buses full of eager youths in my mind...

Are the Republicans going to try to gut Inflation Reduction Act funding with the debt-ceiling crisis? Or, rather, how hard will they try to destroy one of Biden's signal achievements? I'd love to hear some reputable policy wonk answer this - so we can gear up activism to save the IRA from the axe.

Thanks for all the excellent work you all do!

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Great job on the podcast. I have some professional knowledge on this topic and you did a great job of planning the interview and asking all the right questions by applying your broader knowledge to this specific topic.

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I worked for the local waterworks. It has to be appreciated, how many vehicles in a city do NOT get used for commuting. And what nearly all have in common is that they put in only about 200km per day, 200 miles would be a record-breaker. Their job is to just get to workplaces and sit while people work for hours.

All the pipes, the wires, the re-pavings. Postal vehicles just rose to Dave's attention because it's federal and so there are so many of them in total. But most of those kind of work-vehicles are municipal, and of course the endless small businesses that maintain buildings, do renos.

Carpenters and plumbers have this big incentive to switch: free electrical outlet without running a generator. We need a wave of decisions - it doesn't rise to the level of "legislation" in cities across the country, to switch their working fleets to electric. I can imagine a special class of vehicles that are a little cheaper, because they're low on battery. Only 200km per day would shave thousands off the battery costs.

Missing you on Mastodon lately, Dave! I'm guessing you never actually posted there, just had a service running that copied your Twitter - and that program stopped working because the API was taken away? Man, just come on over Mastodon as your primary.

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Spooky congruence -- I got a link to this book about cobalt within a few minutes of the email about this pod about electric buses.


Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives By Siddharth Kara Cover Image

By Siddharth Kara


An unflinching investigation reveals the human rights abuses behind the Congo’s cobalt mining operation—and the moral implications that affect us all.

Cobalt Red is the searing, first-ever exposé of the immense toll taken on the people and environment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by cobalt mining, as told through the testimonies of the Congolese people themselves. Activist and researcher Siddharth Kara has traveled deep into cobalt territory to document the testimonies of the people living, working, and dying for cobalt. To uncover the truth about brutal mining practices, Kara investigated militia-controlled mining areas, traced the supply chain of child-mined cobalt from toxic pit to consumer-facing tech giants, and gathered shocking testimonies of people who endure immense suffering and even die mining cobalt.

Cobalt is an essential component to every lithium-ion rechargeable battery made today, the batteries that power our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and electric vehicles. Roughly 75 percent of the world’s supply of cobalt is mined in the Congo, often by peasants and children in sub-human conditions. Billions of people in the world cannot conduct their daily lives without participating in a human rights and environmental catastrophe in the Congo. In this stark and crucial book, Kara argues that we must all care about what is happening in the Congo—because we are all implicated.

About the Author

SIDDHARTH KARA is an author, researcher, and activist on modern slavery. He is a British Academy Global Professor and an Associate Professor of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at Nottingham University. Kara has authored three books on modern slavery and won the Frederick Douglass Book Prize. Kara's first book was adapted into a Hollywood film, Trafficked. A feature film inspired by Cobalt Red is currently in preproduction. He divides his time between the U.K. and the US.

Praise For…

Praise for Cobalt Red

"Powerful...heart-wrenching...compelling." — The Wall Street Journal

"Harrowing...a righteous quest to expose injustice." — The New York Times Book Review

“With extraordinary tenacity and compassion, Siddharth Kara evokes one of the most dramatic divides between wealth and poverty in the world today. His reporting on how the dangerous, ill-paid labor of Congo children provides a mineral essential to our cellphones will break your heart. I hope policy-makers on every continent will read this book.” — Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost

"Cobalt Red is a riveting, eye-opening, terribly important book that sheds light on a vast ongoing catastrophe. Everyone who uses a smartphone, an electric vehicle, or anything else powered by rechargeable batteries needs to read what Siddharth Kara has uncovered." — Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air

"Meticulously researched and brilliantly written by Siddharth Kara, Cobalt Red documents the frenzied scramble for cobalt and the exploitation of the poorest people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

— Baroness Arminka Helic, House of Lords, UK

"Siddharth Kara's powerfully told and meticulously researched book exposes the dirty secret that much of our 'clean' energy is powered by the violent exploitation, and blood, of children in the Congo. He makes a compelling case for the urgent need to address this modern form of slavery. " — Nick Grono, CEO, Freedom Fund

"As the world continues to embrace the net zero agenda and becomes ever more dependent on personal electronic devices and new technologies, this compelling book paints a dire portrait of the conditions under which a crucial natural resource is extracted. Drawing on multiple field missions and first-hand accounts of the process of cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Siddharth Kara shows in vivid detail not only life on the ground and the true human cost of extraction, but also the gross inequalities built into global value chains and business models that underpin this industry. This account reinforces our understanding of the interdependent and mutually reinforcing nature of all human rights and the many negative externalities of our modern global economy." — Todd Landman, Professor of Political Science, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Executive Director of the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham

"Kara, who traveled the country, entering mines and speaking to workers at every level of the labor chain, exposes slavery, child labor, forced labor, and other ongoing horrors and crimes. Extensively researched, this piercing narrative is muckraking journalism at its finest. " — Booklist, STARRED review

“[Siddharth Kara’s] well-written, forcefully argued report exposes the widespread, debilitating human ramifications of our device-driven global society. A horrifying yet necessary picture of exploitation and poverty in the Congo.” — Kirkus, STARRED review

“Readers will be outraged and empowered to call for change.” – Publishers Weekly STARRED review

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