There’s no question that we’re already experiencing some of the effects of global warming. We’ve already seen our share of extreme weather of late – from tsunamis and hurricanes to heat waves and polar vortexes. Unfortunately, at least according to one UN draft study, we’re quickly running out of time. The world has gotten .8C warmer since 1900, which could mean more extreme weather and instances of famine, drought, damaged ecosystems and other consequences.
This doesn’t sound like too much fun, does it? Unfortunately, a major reason for this is because of human activity. An IPCC report stated that for any climate change after 1950, it’s a 95% likelihood that human activity was the main cause. Luckily, there are still things we can do to reverse this trend. As the world continues to get warmer due in part to our own activity, green technology, regulations and changing human attitudes are paving the way towards sustainability.
This is none the more evident than in transportation. The transportation industry is not very innocent in climate change. In fact, the transportation industry accounts for 23% of the world’s carbon emissions. The worst example of the transportation industry is road transportation. Cars, buses, and trains account for 60% of all of the oil used in the world. That’s because 95% of them need oil. However, there are things that we can do about it. Here are some of the choices we can make:
Stay out of your Car: Although it is certainly much more convenient to ride in your own personal vehicle, it’s not very sustainable. The majority of cars run on combustion engines and require gasoline. If you do need to take a car, offer to carpool with someone else, so that there’s one less car on the road. If you can, think about purchasing a hybrid car or a car with good mpg, so you’re filling up less at the pump.
Take the Bus: If walking is impossible, consider public transportation. Just think if everyone took the bus. There would be far less traffic jams. Most municipalities offer decent bus rates and convenient routes. You’ll be able to save some money and not have to be as stressed out as you would if you were driving.
Ride your bike more often: You will not only get healthier; you will save the planet and save some money in the process. Urban areas are especially good for bikes as there are usually lanes reserved for bikes. You will get to work or wherever you need to go much quicker than walking (which is highly recommended as well) and you won’t be leaving a big carbon footprint as you would with an automobile.
Don’t Discount the Train: If you need to go longer distances, trains can be a great option. Train construction is going greener as more locomotives are being powered by biodiesel and electricity instead of fossil fuels. When looking for rail services, look for ones that embrace alternative energies.
What are some other ways you can get around without putting the planet at stake?
Tim Jacobs is a hippie at heart. He rides his bike to his office where he works in advertising. He freelances on many green topics.