Have you ever found yourself stuck in the middle of your city’s morning traffic rush?
You’re frustrated at the 70-80 vehicles honking in front of you. The smell of burning fuel fills up the small personal space of your car. You reckon your lungs are at maximum capacity.
At that moment, you’d give anything to make those cars disappear or to be anywhere with fresh air.
Like you, Mother Earth also has to use her KN95s every morning because of the fume emissions. Did we mention that her resources are also depleting at a terrifying rate to meet the demand for fuels?
It is obvious that we aren’t headed for the brightest futures at this rate and we can’t seem to slow down. And you’ve got questions.
Do we give up commuting to places in vehicles and rough it up like the Stone Age?
What sustainable alternatives could we offer you to help you reach your respective destination?
You can stop worrying because we’re here to help. We’re bringing you a complete guide to adapt an effective eco-friendly transportation system and help you live your best life.
Table of Contents
- 0.1 Where Did It All Begin?
- 0.2 How Did One of Man’s Greatest Inventions Lead to One of Their Biggest Downfalls?
- 1 What is Sustainable Transportation?
Where Did It All Begin?
It started with the invention of the wheel in the 4th century B.C. in Mesopotamia. Since then, the evolution of the transportation system has been one heck of a ride, no pun intended.
Further, the invention of ships, aircraft, trains, and cars made life easier.
Importantly, the Industrial Revolution sparked significant advances in manufacturing and machinery.
The rise of more advanced vehicles changed the way the world produced and traded goods. Distances shortened and economic and social activities thrived.
How Did One of Man’s Greatest Inventions Lead to One of Their Biggest Downfalls?
As we progress through the decades, the demand for vehicles and fossil fuels went higher. This continued until we fell into the environmental sinkhole that we’re in today.
This excess of vehicles led to a multitude of environmental problems. Earth’s resources started depleting and fuel prices spiked. Toxic fumes infested the air till clear city skylines were a thing of the past and a breath of fresh air was a luxury.
A quarter of global carbon emissions are because of the transportation of people and goods.This can be made to understand from following aspects of concern:
The surge of cars on the road with no real restrictions and the exhaust fumes released is a major factor of environmental concern. Aircraft handles the most carbon-intensive activities. Ships and other vehicles have proved to be no better.
These fumes are dangerous and can lead to cancer, respiratory, neurological, and cardiovascular diseases.
People exposed to these toxins experience allergies, eye inflammation, and skin irritation.
Below are some toxic pollutants that are guilty of lowering your city’s quality of life.
Psst… here’s a little secret. Our readers are always one step ahead when making easy, eco-friendly choices.Want to know how?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Fuel-driven vehicles cause 26% of the world’s greenhouse gas pollution, according to The Times newspaper.
It’s shocking to realize that we’ve been breathing in all these toxins for such a long time now. You don’t have to be a medical or environmental expert to see that it isn’t a healthy situation to be in.
Have you ever wondered why it still feels like summer even though it’s supposed to be the season of falling brown leaves and pumpkin spiced lattes?
Now you can understand the culprits behind this rising issue of global warming.
Resource and Energy Consumption
The demand for manufacturing vehicles has seen an incremental change and accordingly, the earth’s resources have started depleting. Processing fuel requires a huge amount of energy as well.
Water and Soil Pollution
Unregulated shipping activities result in hazardous materials infesting the soil and water systems. It destroys agricultural lands, water resources, and crop yields.
Noise represents sounds that are chaotic and disturbing. Living near high traffic zones can be stressful. Long-term exposure to noise above 75 dB can lead to hearing impairments.
Port, airport, and road construction destroys forest, biodiversity, and agricultural reserves. Towns infested with vehicles no longer allow people to walk around with leisure.
What is Sustainable Transportation?
All hopes of redeeming these environmental issues seem to be lost. But a silver lining appears on the horizon — sustainable transportation.
We often refer to it as ‘green transportation’ which advocates for a healthy dynamic among man, vehicles, and nature.
It involves transitioning to alternative means of commuting,whilst minimizing the environmental impacts.
To achieve this, we need a shift of mind from private to public transport services. Sustain the flow of people, goods, and services while fighting global warming.
To fix a problem, you start at the root. Here, it’s the corporations that handle the transport systems. We’ll get to that in a while.
First, here’s a list of eco-friendly transport alternatives to reduce your carbon footprint.
Let us stop you before you sit up indignantly and tap the close button.
We don’t mean ‘walk for five days and four nights like the good ol’ days to get to the next town’ walk.
We meant short distance. Replace the use of vehicles for any place within the range of 15-20 minutes with walking
Research shows that doing five trips of 2 km per week on foot reduces emissions by 86 kg a year
Besides reducing car emissions, it’s going to boost your mental health as well. You also get the exercise you need to keep that summer body all year round.
More walkers and fewer cars lower the level of noise pollution. They put space into more resourceful uses and create happier communities.
Bicycles do not add to emissions and still get you to your destination on time.
Cycling is a great workout and prevents cardiovascular diseases and other health issues.
You can put the 20-30 dollars you saved from not getting an Uber or paying for fuel to better uses.
Cycling takes up less road space. It makes for a great hobby to talk about at dinner parties and your body will thank you for it.
For short distances, cycling and walking are great ways to commute. You get to take in your surroundings in peace. A fast-paced life doesn’t offer this.
In the case of long distances, fuel-driven vehicles are usually unavoidable as there are fewer alternatives.
The next best thing is to opt for public transport. Shared vehicles carry double the number of people and cut down on emissions.
Buses are more affordable and sustainable, compared to other modes of transit. A bus has the potential to take at least 55 cars off the road, save fuel, and reduce emissions and congestion.
Not only are you reducing your carbon footprint, so are the rest of your fellow passengers!
Carpooling has the same concept as a bus. Choosing to share a car with multiple people allows you to split fuel costs and parking. You contribute less to pollution and it’s super convenient.
This could be for a night out with friends or a solo trip in an Uber Pool. It’s a great way to meet new people too!
Who confined making friends to just joining clubs and hanging around cafes, anyway?
Hybrid Electric Cars
Electric cars aren’t zero-emission vehicles in absolute terms . They may not emit fumes while driving. It can happen during manufacture, energy production, and its end of life.
Research continues to make these vehicles greener and more sustainable. They are still more eco-friendly than their fuel-driven counterparts.
Trains Over Airplanes
For travelling interstate or overseas, catching a train remains your best bet.
Trains are guilty of emissions as well. They cost more in case of long distances. Aviation pollution ranks higher in the list of global warming contributors.
Here’s a bonus point—Sunsets in midair may make a compelling case. However, you get to experience unique scenery on a train that you wouldn’t see anywhere else.
Are Corporations Doing Enough?
We always encourage the public to adopt healthier choices. However, corporations also need to be responsible for the management transport systems.
Sustainable infrastructure needs to be climate-resilient, technologically advanced, socially inclusive, and energy-saving.
Stakeholders have to adopt sustainability on all levels — from planning to execution and management.
Sustainable infrastructure has to adopt a circular economy of sorts. Replacing non-renewable materials with renewable materials is a start. Wherever necessary, materials should be recyclable.
The four criteria of sustainability are environmental, social, institutional and economic. Fulfilling these ensures resilience in the system.
Introducing pavements, bike lanes and parking spots in and around public facilities motivate more people to walk and cycle to commute.
Can You Work Your Way to a Greener Tomorrow?
We’ve reached the end of the line. You now know the horrors of fuel-driven transport. We’ve also left you with a guide on how you can commute more sustainably. Now, the rest is in your hands.
Walking/ biking/ public transport can seem like a lot of work. It’s tempting to sit in an air-conditioned car instead. Remember, consistency and resilience are key. You’re on your way to building a holistic life that will benefit you and the people you love.
The sustainable lifestyle movement is on the rise. Innovations continue to back the future of green transportation. By making more conscious decisions every day, we can gradually exit the loop of environmental problems we’ve created.