Driving Change: 10 ways to Give Back on World Transport Day
Transportation has become such an ingrained part of society that it’s weird to even think of a time when it didn’t exist. But did you know that the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is transportation? The United States Environmental Protection Agency develops an annual report, and the most recent 2021 report found that while there is an increased growth of green energy being used globally, over 90% of fuel used for transportation is still petroleum based (like gasoline and diesel fuel). Its time for all of us to start driving change and make some positive changes for the future of our environment.
That’s why the United Nations general assembly came together on the 16th of May 2023 to declare November 26th as the official ‘World Transport Day.’ The powerful occasion is a way to educate citizens of society on topics that are vital for not just the planet, but for themselves as well.
With this in mind, here are 10 ways to give back on World Transport Day:
1. Use Ride-Sharing Services
Living in today’s society means that there are endless options for ride-sharing solutions. In Canada, companies such as Uber, Lyft, ridesharing.com, CarpoolWorld, Lucky To Go and even cabs offer greener alternatives to reducing emissions from vehicles. Fewer miles mean less emissions and less emissions can help contribute to less pollution and clearer skies — perfect for seeing those night stars!
2. Take Public Transport
It might take a bit longer to get to your destination, but think of the upside: you’ll have a lot more chances to soak in the scenery. It’s estimated that public transportation in North America saves 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually . And, if you’re commuting with family, check for family deals! In Vancouver, children under 12 ride for free on public transit.
3. Drive Wise, Don’t Idle
Idling of vehicles unnecessarily can cause air pollution, excess engine wear, and can cause fuel to deplete, which in turn creates more of an economic burden on the individual. When it comes to diesel based vehicles, such as school busses for example, reducing idling can prevent children being exposed to diesel exhaust and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Errands can pile up, and you can find yourself stopping at places to pick up something that wasn’t even on your original itinerary. ‘Trip-chaining’ is a concept that was originally coined by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, and first used by the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey. If possible, try to start the practice of trip chaining when leaving the house to do errands. It helps save gas as well as spend less time on the road, idling in traffic.
5. Bike or Walk
Canadians on average use almost more energy than any other country in the world — one of the reasons is our heavy reliance on motor vehicles. So how do we mitigate this? Biking and walking is unarguably, the best way to be eco friendly when it comes to going place to place. It’s cost efficient, creates less noise, less air pollution, and creates less demand for motor vehicles. Not only that, but both biking and walking have health benefits, including increasing strength and stamina, increased cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, boosting immune function, and more.
6. Maintain Your Vehicle
While something malfunctioning in your vehicle can cause a sense of panic, it’s better to address head-on rather than delay fixing it and potentially making the problem worse. Avoiding the problem until it’s too late can lead to increased fuel emissions, reduced fuel economy, and a costly repair. In addition, keeping the tires properly inflated on your vehicle can improve gas mileage between 0.6% – 3%!
7. Fly with Air Companies That are Eco-Friendly
Aviation creates 12% of transport-related emissions. Not only that, but carbon emissions from the airline industry grew by 75% from 1990 to 2012. With this in mind, it’s important to note that some airlines are making the effort to reduce carbon pollution. Airlines like EasyJet, for example, have come top of the league for airlines trying to cut down on carbon emissions to tackle climate change. You can use websites like atmosfair.de to look at emission rankings by airline.
8. Organize a Commuter Challenge
Canadian Environment Week is June 5-11 annually (dates vary year to year) and the commuter challenge that occurs that week is designed to encourage Canadians to leave their cars at home! It’s a friendly competition between Canadian cities and their workplaces, and it rewards any kind of active transportation. People can sign up by registering their workplace, and to be included in the final results individuals need to have made at least one sustainable commute during the commuter challenge week. To learn more, click here.
9. Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
Calculating our carbon footprint whenever we travel place to place can not only help us streamline our transit, but also help us become aware of our impact on the planet. Websites such as Offcents allows people to detect, calculate, and offset carbon emissions from transportation. Other websites, such as Carbon Fund helps both individuals and businesses calculate and offset their environmental footprint. Carbon Fund also lets individuals purchase credits and donate to help support projects that benefit the environment and local communities.
10. Say Thank You to Transport Workers!
Transport workers help public transit function effectively, and are the backbone of the community. Taking a moment to thank them during your commute can make a world of a difference in brightening their day (and yours, too!).
If you’d like to learn more about how to be environmentally friendly, visit 365give.ca or check out these posts: