Transportation is an essential aspect of modern living. But along with the benefits is a whole plethora of problems due to the use of fossil fuels in transportation. Because of this, environmental degradation, global warming, poor health due to pollution, and other adverse effects have negatively affected the quality of life of all living creatures on the planet.
The transport sector alone takes up around 28% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions as a result of fossil fuel usage, 75% of which came from vehicles on the road—cars, buses, trucks, and others. It’s also estimated that about 90% of them depend on fossil fuel to run.
Clearly, something has to be done. This is one of those situations where the government, as well as the private sector, have to work together towards a common goal—a clean world for everybody. This is doable if people could find ways to stop fossil fuel dependence, use greener fuel sources, and find alternative transportation methods for greener travel.
There are available eco-friendly modes of transportation today that people can use to sustain the natural world. Here are some of them:
- Electric Personal Transportation Vehicles
The improvement and subsequent price reduction of lithium-ion batteries, the availability of gyroscopes and accelerometers, and other technological advancements have contributed significantly to the rise of electric personal transporters. The past decade has seen the proliferation of these types of transportation.
Some of these are electric bikes, electric scooters, the so-called ‘hoverboards,’ electric unicycles, Onewheel (a variant of monowheel), electric skateboards like dot boards motorised skateboard, and electric skates. Each of these personal transportation types has its advantages and disadvantages, but they’re out there—ready to be used by those who are adventurous enough to try them. Since they’re powered by rechargeable batteries, they don’t emit harmful greenhouse gases, making them a green alternative for your car.
A no-brainer, right? Everyone knows how to ride a bike—well, almost all. But among urban dwellers, using a bike shouldn’t present any problems. It’s estimated that there are around two billion bicycles around the world, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Moreover, the country that has the greatest number of bikes in the world, per capita, is the Netherlands.
Although the Netherlands has the greatest number of bikes in the world, per capita, Copenhagen, in Denmark, is considered the most bike-friendly city in the world. More than half of residents in that city ride a bicycle to commute. But for sheer number of bicycles, Beijing, China is number one. There are an estimated 9 million bicycles in the Chinese capital.
Using a bike to commute instead of a car can greatly reduce a city’s carbon emissions since it doesn’t use fuel. Bikers are also very rarely caught in traffic jams. Moreover, a bicycle is far cheaper than a car. Its maintenance cost is negligible compared to a conventional vehicle. Besides, biking is a great form of exercise.
- Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles (EV) use batteries instead of fossil fuels, so their environmental impact isn’t as great as that of conventional vehicles. EVs don’t emit greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming. Pollutants that are emitted by conventional vehicles are harmful not only to the environment but to humans as well.
Moreover, the presence of EVs shows that people don’t have to rely on gasoline alone for fueling their vehicles—it means there’s an alternative power they can use. People’s reliance on petroleum will be reduced once the majority of people consider using EVs.
EVs at present are pricier than conventional vehicles, but they won’t be, for long. As battery technology improves, pretty soon the prices of both EVs and conventional vehicles will be at par with each other. Some industry experts estimate that in three years, an electric vehicle won’t be more expensive than a gasoline-powered vehicle anymore.
While not a new concept, carpooling today is still one of the most practical means of transportation. Through carpooling, the number of cars on the road are reduced; fewer vehicles on the road mean fewer harmful emission. Traffic is also more manageable.
To encourage this practice, some cities have designated special lanes for the exclusive use of carpoolers. Solo drivers who use these special lanes are fined. Car-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber are also on the rise. Sharing a ride with other people would result in a cheaper ride. These incentives help encourage people to be more aware of the positive effects of these practices on the environment.
Walking can also be counted as a transportation alternative. It may sound simplistic, but it’s certainly doable—in certain situations, of course. Besides, walking is a great exercise, and you could also save money doing it over commuting, most especially if your home’s within a short walking distance of your destination. Invest in a good pair of shoes, take precautions, and you’re good to go.
Walking is also a great way to clear your mind. As you help the environment become better, you’d also help your mind and heart stay healthy.
When it comes to eco-friendly alternatives for transportation, you have many options. You can ride a bike, use any one of those stylish electric personal vehicles, drive EVs, carpool, or simply walk to your destination. If enough people adopt these methods, perhaps the fight to keep the environment clean will have a chance.