The Chicago Journal

Your Gateway to the Heartbeat of Chicago

Sustainable Fracking and Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most significant issues facing society today. Though many companies are working diligently to deliver solutions in the transportation, food production, and oil and gas sectors, one of the biggest environmental issues making regular headlines is fracking.

Fracking involves injecting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals into subterranean rock to open fissures to extract oil or gas. It’s been one of the most controversial points in the ongoing climate change discussion. While fracking revolutionized the drilling of oil and gas, it can also poison groundwater, damage landscapes, and harm wildlife. These potential problems caused by fracking have spurred worldwide protests against fracking, and even a call to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking using water) in the United States. 

RocketFrac is a Canadian company that has developed cutting-edge tools and disruptive technologies to solve these pain points in the traditional fracking process. Their focus has been on economically-efficient and environmentally-friendly energy generation and resource recovery without the need for water. 

Changing the Face of Fracking

RocketFrac has pioneered a new approach to waterless well stimulation. Using a safe, customized rocket propellant makes well-stimulation more efficient and environmentally-friendly. The US uses 175 million gallons of water per day in a conventional fracking approach. The RocketFrac Cleantech Energy approach uses no water, eliminating one of the biggest issues people have with traditional fracking. 

The RocketFrac technology is genuinely disruptive. Well performance is improved, and operating costs are lowered with the RocketFrac technique. In addition, the chances of seismic activity from fracking are eliminated with the RocketFrac approach. RocketFrac has carved out a place for itself in the next-generation energy production industry. 

Reducing Emissions for Climate Change 

Climate change is a concern for all countries and governments. With each passing year, it becomes more evident that changes have to be made, with broad emphasis placed on the essential need for reducing carbon emissions. Alberta, Canada, where RocketFrac is based, sequesters and stores more carbon than any other jurisdiction globally. Alberta also invests more per capita in carbon reductions overall. Since 2009, Alberta has invested $821 million in 221 projects worth $6.6 billion to reduce emissions. 

The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) captures and stores carbon and greenhouse gasses underground. The ACTL project leads the world in carbon-capture technology, and has safely removed billions of pounds of carbon from the atmosphere and stored them underground. This technology is unique to Alberta and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. RocketFrac will soon be exporting this pioneering technology to help the rest of Canada and the world lower their emissions. 

The strides RocketFrac has made in technological advancements seek to transform the future, and change the trajectory of climate change. Removing carbon from emissions solves one of the world’s greatest environmental challenges.

The RocketFrac technology has the opportunity to change far more than simply the way we approach fracking. There may be opportunities to use this technology for geothermal applications. In addition, it has the potential to extend the life of existing resources and associated infrastructure; thus, reducing overall greenhouse gas footprints.

The solid rocket fuel that RocketFrac uses in its well stimulation is safe for transportation, requires no special handling, and — likely best of all — there is no potential for spills and costly cleanups. 

Continued Innovation Leads to Necessary Change

The term “fracking” stokes a lot of feelings in people. We have all seen the protests, and many have watched anti-fracking documentaries such as Gasland. Bringing a new fracking technology to the oil and gas industry could be viewed as an uphill battle for a company like RocketFrac. Selling the idea of fracking via solid rocket fuel could be a hard sell for people who don’t fully understand the science behind the innovative technology. 

Nevertheless, RocketFrac is laser-focused on its environmental impact. They have worked hard to get their mission across — and introduce this environmentally responsible option — to the world. The approach to fracking can be changed for the better, and continued innovation is the path to that change. 

Business Expert Henry Ma Helps Over 3,000 Startups

The Great Resignation has given rise to a record number of start-up businesses. As more and more employees choose to pursue dreams of business ownership and becoming their own boss, many are turning to life long leaders for trusted business advice — leaders like Ricoma International CEO Henry Ma.

As a leader in the custom apparel industry, Ricoma offers expert training and support in everything from proper usage of their top-of-the-line embroidery machines and custom apparel equipment, as well as how to effectively start and grow a custom apparel business. As a result, Ma has positioned himself as a de facto success coach, teaching entrepreneurs the skills necessary to get their businesses up and running – all for free. 

Ma’s boundless enthusiasm and expert insight has turned him into a beloved personality on YouTube: dispensing advice, answering questions, and racking up millions views. 

“The first step to becoming an embroidery expert is to master your craft,” Ma says. “Whether you’re a beginner who has never touched a machine before, or you’re looking to enhance your embroidery skills, we’ve got you covered.” 

Ricoma offers nine unique educational resources to help custom apparel business owners master their craft and navigate the industry. 

One resource, “Embroidery Hub”, features over 160 YouTube videos detailing practical tips and tricks for embroiderers. Each video explains a different aspect of the embroidering process — from needles and stabilizers, to how to embroider specialty garments like sun hats and Converse shoes

Another resource, “Apparel Academy,” offers business owners expert business advice from Henry Ma himself. In each video, Ma addresses a wide range of topics, including how to price garments, expand your custom apparel business, get the most out of a razor thin budget. Ma says that it is essential to have a business plan before jumping into the intensely-competitive world of custom apparel. Academy students learn various tips and tricks to avoid pitfalls when starting their entrepreneurial journey. 

Other resources include hour-long webinars, cheat sheets, troubleshooting guides, and live Facebook Q&A sessions where Ma answers various questions about the custom apparel industry, and gives out prizes to lucky social media followers. Afterwards, viewers can gather in Ricoma’s Embroidery & Custom Apparel Mastery Facebook group which has grown to more than 30,000 crafters and business owners. 

“It’s important to network because I can’t get to every question, and many of the people in the groups have already experienced the same issues that people want to talk about,” Ma says. “What everyone has in common is that they are investing in their education, so there is more support than competition. We all want to win.”

Ma has also posted a repository of written articles and listicles on a variety of topics of interest to apparel entrepreneurs. Recent issues include “5 best machine embroidery accessories of all time” and “10 profitable niches in the embroidery business.”

Ricoma has grown into an industry leader with a global footprint, serving thousands of small business owners worldwide. “Our success is a direct result of all of our thousands of entrepreneurs,” he says. “They give me my energy; the blogs and videos are my way of giving back.”

Chicago’s Traffic Problem: What’s To Be Done?

Chicago’s traffic is literally infamous. Congestion in Chicago has been rated as the third-worst in the country, just behind Boston. Last year, drivers wasted an average of 145 hours in traffic. In terms of lost productivity, that adds up to about $2,100 per year for every driver on the road.

Not only is traffic congestion causing a loss of time and productivity — accidents and injuries are also on the rise. In 2020, Chicago saw an 11% increase in fatal accidents from the year before. Worse still, 2020’s numbers are a 45% jump in traffic fatalities from the year before. Chicago’s traffic injury and fatality record is much worse than the national average.

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a major part in these numbers. There was a documented increase in drivers exceeding the speed limit during the pandemic, as the fact there were fewer drivers on the road led to less congestion, and, ironically, more accidents. Another reason for the spike in traffic incidents is the increased amount of cycling. Chicago residents replacing walking with cycling as a form of socially distanced transportation led to a 125% increase in bicycle-related traffic accidents.

Another unexpected source of traffic congestion are ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. While they’re a popular choice for residents trying to get around, ride-sharing drivers are notorious for double-parking or sitting in front of traffic awaiting passengers. Granted, this was already something of an issue with delivery drivers and traditional cabs, but many believe the ride-sharing is making matters worse. In addition to the safety hazard it poses, this phenomenon also slows down traffic even further. Some have suggested ride-share pickup zones as a solution to this issue, though there’s been no real forward movement on the idea.

There are even wider-ranging consequences to the ongoing problem of traffic congestion — in Chicago and many major urban areas. Heavy traffic increases air pollution, which not only has an effect on physical health, but also sends emissions into the air that accelerate the effects of climate change. Heavy traffic can also cause stress, which is not only harmful to mental health but can lead to phenomena like road rage, potentially making bad traffic situations even worse. And, beyond even the individual financial impact of spending hours in traffic, congestion can cause much wider-ranging financial issues as well: slow traffic can mean delayed deliveries, increased fuel consumption, and wear and tear on vehicles, both everyday vehicles and delivery vehicles. And slow deliveries (as we’ve all found out during the pandemic) can cause widespread supply chain problems.

Heavy traffic also increases the risk factor of driving, not just for the most dangerous intersections in Chicago, but financial impacts like higher insurance premiums because those areas are high-risk — which could send drivers scrambling to find cheap car insurance in Illinois.

While it’s not directly related, traffic issues can fold into a wider negative impact on a city’s reputation, of which Chicago’s is already troubled. Even though, statistically, Chicago is not near the top of the list for homicides, it still has a reputation as one of the most violent cities in America (deserved or not), and rage-inducing traffic congestion surely does nothing to help that perception.

So what can be done about Chicago’s traffic problems?

Some cities are already instituting ideas like congestion pricing, which are essentially taxes to discourage people from driving in certain areas during peak times. This would create express toll lanes that would charge drivers based on the current traffic situation. Vehicles like buses and registered carpools could have access to these faster lanes for a reduced cost or even for free. The money generated by congestion prices would be funneled back into improving Chicago’s transportation system and infrastructure.

There are also some high-tech solutions to traffic problems that may become mainstream in the near future, such as autonomous vehicles. Self-driving cars, though currently not without some issues, could address traffic congestion in a couple of ways. First, autonomous cars can follow more closely than human-driven cars, and also don’t require as wide a lane as traditional cars do. Each of these features can literally double the capacity in the driving environment, leading to a four-fold increase in freeway vehicle capacity.

Of course, another factor that may have a positive effect on traffic congestion in the long run: remote work. Since the changes wrought by the pandemic, employers have become far more friendly to the idea of remote work, and having far fewer cars on the road could mean less traffic, less pollution, and much less strain on both the environment and Chicago’s traffic.

Getting around a major city always has been, and always will be, an ongoing problem requiring new and inventive solutions. The problems may never quite go away, but new tools are being developed that could make life in the Windy City that much easier.

Shay Olivia Is Helping Individuals Thrive Through Exceptional Coaching and Consulting

Every individual has their own concept of success. To others, it could mean making a difference in the lives of people or the world. It could also mean doing something one is passionate about or feeling a sense of accomplishment through career progression. Everyone approaches success differently depending on how they define it, and although the path towards it may appear intimidating or daunting, Shay Olivia proves that it does not have to remain difficult. 

Bringing to the table years of experience in professional coaching and consulting, Shay has helped transform the lives of thousands of women and empowered them as they pursue success. On top of being a keynote speaker, a talk show and a radio host, she is also an internationally published author in psychosomatic healing, stress and depression studies.  

“My calling is to help broken, in transition, post-divorce, unmotivated, distracted and overlooked women get back on their feet, launch a business, and move forward to health and wealth,” Shay shared. At the core of her efforts is her dedication to aiding others in healing from abuse, building businesses, and growing in mental health and financial wealth.

Combining her expertise, professional techniques, and compassionate guidance, Shay has counseled women from all walks of life and assisted them in accomplishing personal and business milestones. Shay expertly oversees all aspects of the clients’ needs, from early planning phases to consistently executing tasks to help them achieve the results they are aiming for. 

Through her unique 30-day coaching program, Shay presents a comprehensive approach to healing and success. No goal is too small or too big, and progress is determined by the clients’ attitude and efforts towards it. “Committing is the most important. If you don’t commit, that means you don’t begin, and there can be no end without a beginning. The gist is to focus on getting clear about what you want in all areas of your life for years to come. Remember, your goals open up possibilities, they give you focus for your future, and they call you forward,” Shay explained. 

Shay always goes above and beyond in delivering excellent and unparalleled services to the clients. As a professional coach, she puts emphasis on accountability and how it helps an individual practice personal responsibility and prioritizes one’s interest, as well as how investing time in completing tasks to reach a goal is critical to achieving it. 

“The right partner in your life keeps you accountable to invest your time in completing the tasks rather than wasting idle time in fruitless activity with them,” she remarked.

Shay Olivia continues to be remarkable in inspiring, empowering and encouraging others to find their voice and realize their potential to create the life they envision for themselves. Moving forward, she intends to share her expertise with more people across the world and support them to become the best versions of themselves and experience the best things that life has to offer.