We have 11 years to save our planet - how employers can help with bike commuting?
According to the United Nation’s report, we only have eleven years left to save our planet and change our direction. Which makes us the last generation, that has the chance to prevent climate catastrophe. „I invite you all to commit to 2020 being the last year carbon emissions increase due to human activities” says María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, the President of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. The change must start here and now- in our daily lives.
What’s going on with the earth right now?
The increasing burning of fossil fuels and mechanization changed our society irreversibly, unfortunately at a cost. The global temperature rose by 3°C above pre-industrial levels, with oceans warming up by 0.5°C. Heatwaves, wildfires, smoggy cities and higher food prices, we can observe today, are just the beginning. Did you know, soon enough climate change will affect the beer and coffee industry? Food and water shortages will affect all of us eventually. The sea-level rise will sink areas of low lying, the mass migration will damage economies and lead to the spread of diseases, while the extreme weather conditions will disrupt cities and villages, and soon enough it will be too late to save our species. So we’d better get started!
Make a small change
It’s always good to start simple, recycle, buy seasonal vegetables, use a reusable bag, ditch the electric dryers or turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. There are thousands of small ways in which you can reduce your ecological footprint, and thus positively contribute to saving our precious planet. One good ecological deed leads to another, and before you know it, you’re living a sustainable life with a modest ecological footprint.
Riding a bike emits on average 21 g of CO2 per one kilometre. That’s more than 10 times less than a car, which emits 271 g1 of CO2 per kilometre. On top of that, cycling doesn’t produce any air pollutants, such as N2O, thus doesn’t contribute to a higher frequency of respiratory diseases. It’s certainly one of the most sustainable means of transport.
The reach of the positive influence of swapping to a bike is enormous. When it comes to bike production, emissions from, as well as the manufacturing footprint, are significantly smaller than in the case of cars and buses. The materials are used in much smaller quantities and they’re much more environmental friendly, in comparison to the leather, used for car seats, or non-recyclable large batteries that produce toxic waste. The use of rubber for wheel production is significantly smaller than in the case of large and thick car tires.
Save the space!
Another way in which cycling saves the environment is a matter of parking. Building car parks usually leads to sacrificing green space, that’s home to both flora and fauna. The asphalt and other industrial products used to make parking lots release pollution. In urban areas, usually 10-20% of the land is devoted to parking and road infrastructure. In extremely commercial centers, the percentage can rise to 50%. One parking space could fit as many as 12 bikes.
Imagine all the more eco-friendly alternatives for the use of space, even planting trees. Bikes require very little space for parking, something as simple as a stand integrated into the sidewalk. In bike-friendly countries, such as Denmark or the Netherlands, the government invests in bike parking lots, that can fit up to 100,000 bikes. In general, cities subsidize parking, which means that the taxpayer’s money is funding an unsustainable use of space that assists driving.
The environmental, physical and mental health, economic, social, personal and safety benefits of choosing a bike as your main form of transport are endless, so why are you still hesitating? In this article, we presented just two of the endless benefits of cycling. The rest can be found in our ebook, which is a complex introduction on how to introduce cycling habits to your life and your company. In this issue, you can also find an introduction on how to become an eco-friendly business. You can download it here: Get the Activy ebook!