Reading the news regarding climate change can be extremely upsetting. From forests being torn down to record high temperatures, there is little good news. Even if one company takes “green initiatives” on board, there are three others doubling down on bad practices.
The average person can feel helpless in the fight against climate change.
But there are ways a single person can impact the environment. Today the focus is on a single aspect: transportation habits.
Cars and the Environment
A transportation emissions study from 2015 revealed that cars were the cause of 62% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Experts suggest the figure has only grown, with more cars introduced to the road.
There is no doubt that some type of vehicle has become necessary to life in many parts of the United States. Aside from cities such as New York, Boston and San Francisco, using public transit is not always an option.
But what can the average person do when they want to reduce their carbon footprint related to cars?
Biking When Possible
Biking is a fantastic alternative to taking the car out. While cycling is not a practical way for a family of four, it is great for single individuals and couples. Many people dismiss biking, but would be surprised to learn their route to work is an easy bike ride.
So long as it is not the middle of summer or winter, the weather is good enough to cycle in most parts of the U.S. And with more cities embracing bike-friendly downtowns and streets, it is becoming a more popular way to travel. Bikes do not emit any greenhouse gases, as they do not use any fuel.
Carpooling and Public Transit
Say a family drives their three kids to school each morning. There are probably other families who do the same – at the same school. And many of those families may live within five minutes driving distance of each other. What if some of those families carpooled? Instead of ten cars being on the road for the same purpose, it could be two or three cars. It is not the perfect solution, but it is better than what is happening right now.
Public transit should not be ignored either. Children should be sent on the school bus, unless there is a specific issue with a child riding the bus. And individuals must look at how they can use buses in their area to get to work.
Sometimes it can be as simple as driving to the nearest bus stop and taking the bus to work. A car is being used, but it is driven for five minutes a day instead of an hour. If everyone were to take such steps, local governments would see the popularity of public transit and invest in it more.
Everyone can make a difference to climate change. It may not be easy or convenient. It will require a change in behavior. But it is very much possible. And the reward is a hospitable planet for the next generations to enjoy.