Even Google Employees Can No Longer Afford Housing in San Francisco

Source: LibertyBlitzkrieg.com
Michael Krieger
June 16, 2017

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the new Google modular home

Every now and then a story appears in the national media that causes a lightbulb to start flashing incessantly in my head. For me, such a story came to my attention today and relates to how Google is manufacturing housing for some of its employees due to the ridiculous cost of housing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Here’s a summary from The Verge:

Google’s employees can’t find affordable housing in Silicon Valley, so the company is investing in modular homes that’ll serve as short-term housing for them. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has ordered 300 units from a startup called Factory OS, which specializes in modular homes. The deal reportedly costs between $25 and $30 million.

Modular homes are completely built in a factory and assembled like puzzle pieces onsite. This method of construction can reduce the cost of construction by 20 to 50 percent, the Journal reports. These apartments can also be put up more quickly to address dire housing needs. In one case the Journal cites, tenants saved $700 a month because of reduced construction costs.

Earlier this year, CNBC published a piece that detailed the difficulty tech companies have in trying to convince possible employees to move to San Francisco, especially when they live abroad. In response, some startups are establishing offices in other cities, like Chicago and Seattle. The other option is to out-tech the housing crisis, as Google appears to be doing with its modular home investment.

First, let’s get a couple of things out of the way. Yes, I understand that San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in the world, and yes, I get that nobody is forcing anyone to work for Google or live there. Yes, I understand that this is probably intended for entry level employees. Yes, I understand that revolutionary new ways of building homes using technology is the future, and the ability for such techniques to reduce costs is a positive thing. Yes, I understand all of that, yet I still think this development is a  sign we are getting closer to some sort of breaking point.

The middle class in America has been getting squeezed for a long time, and the societal, political and ethical ramifications of this development cannot be overstated. In fact, I’ve been so concerned about the U.S. transformation into a neo-feualism serf economy, I’ve dedicated much of the last decade to writing and warning about it. What’s going on with Google employees unable to afford housing is a sign that this corrupt, fraud economy is now starting to affect even the fortunate amongst us.

Google is one of the most successful companies the world has ever seen, and if its employees are struggling to find a place to live (I don’t care what city it is), something’s really not working. To me, this is a clear glitch in the matrix. A sign that some sort of reckoning is near. How that reckoning manifests I have no idea, but most companies

Read More at: LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

San Francisco First in the US to Ban Sale of Plastic Bottles

San Francisco
Source: TrueActivist.com
Via: UnderGroundReporter.org
Amanda Froelich

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest burdens to the environment. Believe it or not, enough plastic is discarded every year to circle the globe four times. Even worse, it is estimated that 50% of the plastic on this planet is used only once before being thrown away.

To curb the issue of plastic pollution, the city of San Francisco has just done something monumental: it has  become the first in America to ban the sale of plastic water bottles. 

The move is building a global movement to reduce the huge amount of waste from the billion-dollar plastic bottle industry which is taking a toll on the environment.

Over the next four years, the ban will phase out the sales of plastic water bottles that hold 21 ounces or less in public spaces. A waiver is permissible if an adequate alternative water source is not available, reports GlobalFlare

Think Outside the Bottle campaign, a national effort that encourages restrictions of the “eco-unfriendly product,” was one of the largest supporters of the proposal.

While the San Francisco ban is less strict than the full prohibitions passed in 14 national parks and a number of universities in Concord, Massachusetts, it is a step in the right direction. 

Those who violate the ban could face fines of up to $1,000. That’s certainly an incentive to invest in a  reusable glass bottle.

The ban is “another step forward on our zero-waste goal,” said Joshua Arce, the chairman of the Commission on the Environment. “We had big public events for decades without plastic bottles and we’ll do fine without them again.”

This isn’t the first effort by the city to curb plastic pollution. In the past, San Francisco banned plastic bags and plastic foam containers.

By 2020, the city aims to have no waste going to its landfill. Its diversion rate now stands at 80%.

What did the American Beverage Association, which includes Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, have to say about the plastic bottle ban? The ban is “nothing more than a solution in search of a problem. This is a misguided attempt by city supervisors to decrease waste in a city of avid recyclers.” 

San Francisco may be more recycle-happy than other cities, but plastic pollution needs to be curbed. Perhaps in the future, other cities will follow the city’s bold lead and phase out plastics completely.

Read More At: UndergroundReporter.org

This article (San Francisco First in the US to Ban Sale of Plastic Bottles) by Amanda Froelich originally appeared on TrueActivist.com and is licensed Creative Commons. Image credit: Flickr/Tony Alter

How Some Hotels are Creating ‘Rooftop Bee Sanctuaries’ to Help Bee Populations

One Hive Started with 10,000 Bees, Grew To 70,000

Source: NaturalSociety.com
Julie FidlerApril 20, 2016

The world’s honeybees are in rapid decline. Due to pesticide exposure, disease, and more, there are 70% fewer of them now than there were just 70 years ago. A number of hotels in San Francisco are sympathetic to the plight of these vital pollinators, and have turned their rooftops into sanctuaries for the fuzzy, winged creatures.

Millions of bees currently reside on the roofs of at least 7 luxury hotels in the city. Beekeeper Spencer Marshall has seen the devastating bee decline firsthand. He told CBS News:

“When I started almost 50 years ago, if I lost two or three percent of my bees a year, that was like, ‘What’s going on?’ Now you lose 50, 60 percent. And it’s not sustainable.”

Marshall is a beekeeper at the Fairmont San Francisco, the first hotel in the city to install a bee sanctuary. At first, he thought the sanctuaries were just “good PR,” but now his rooftop hives produce 1,000 pounds of honey every year.

Fairmont sought Marshall’s help in 2010 with a goal of rebuilding the bee population. The flying insects pollinate $15 billion in crops in the U.S. annually. Yeah, a lot of food depends on bees and pollination.

Said Melissa Farrar, Fairmont’s marketing director:

“When I started almost 50 years ago, if I lost two or three percent of my bees a year, that was like, ‘What’s going on?’ Now you lose 50, 60 percent. And it’s not sustainable.”

The Clift Hotel in the city’s Union Square installed its bee sanctuary last May, with 1 queen and 10,000 bees. The sanctuary should fill with 70,000 bees, and that number is expected to grow to 800,000 by early 2017.

Continue Reading At: NaturalSociety.com