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Biking for Light… and Freedom

Gotta hand it to those Brazilians. They’ve come up with a pretty smart idea to keep prisoners active, promote good health, AND save money on electricity.

According to a recent NPR broadcast (yes, I’m addicted to NPR)… it all began in a small town called Minas Gerais, where the local police department donated four bikes to a prison in the area. The bikes were then outfitted to store the energy generated from pedaling.

Interested prisoners must apply to the program, and once approved, they receive one day off of their sentences for every three days (at eight hours each) that they bike. (That’s a lot of biking!)

Those four bikes alone are able to light ten lampposts through the night in this small city. That could amount to a substantial savings for this city over the long term, particularly if they add more bikes to the mix and more prisoners take part in the program. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to physically engage prisoners who would otherwise be sitting idle most of the day, while also rewarding them for their good behavior.

In addition to the electricity, it seems that positive mental energy is being generated among prisoners through this effort, too. One prisoner said that he finally felt “useful” in society, after feeling forgotten in prison for so many years.

What a great little story, hmm? You can check out the full transcript here: http://www.npr.org/2012/07/16/156869010/in-small-brazilian-city-prisoners-pedal-for-parole

Now if I could just find a way to harness all the energy I create from typing these blog posts! What innovative ways do you think you could generate electricity in your daily life? Leave a comment with your ideas!




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