MODULE 1: Driving and the Environment
In Canada, we own about 20 million vehicles and drive more than 300 billion kilometers each year.
Understanding the relationship between driving and the environment is about some basic concepts
and a couple of important strategies you can use right now.
What we’re going to talk about is, quite simply, driving like the future depends on it. Because - it does.
Ready? Here we go.
Let’s move on – on to point 2
A car/truck/minivan/SUV/motorbike/scooter is a wonderful thing.
It’s about freedom. Independence! Mobility! Adventure! But there’s a problem.
All vehicles create greenhouse gas emissions that are very harmful to our environment.
Here’s the simple equation.
Vehicle engines produce carbon dioxide (CO2), and CO2 is the principal greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas emissions affect the Earth’s climate
Climate change compromises the survival of living things
A vehicle produces about 2.3 kilograms CO2 for every litre of gasoline it burns. The average vehicle in Canada produces 3 times its weight in CO2 every year.
For a 1,400 kg car, that’s 4,200 kg of CO2… Multiply that by 20 million vehicles, and you’ll see that, together,
we’re generating large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, that may be disastrous to life on Earth.
But we can cut down the greenhouse gases our cars spew into the environment.
It’s about driving like the future depends on it – and that’s where Park It and Plan It come into play.
Got it? OK, Awesome – here’s point three.
Here’s the basic fact. The NUMBER ONE way to save our planet is to reduce the number of kilometers we all drive in a year.
Here are two simple ways to do that:
ONE – Hang up Your Keys: Just because you have a vehicle doesn’t mean you need it to be your only mode of transportation:
walk, bike, skateboard, carpool, take the bus or subway or train. Look around you next time you use public transit.
Each bus or subway car can represent 40 or more cars not on the road… not producing greenhouse gas.
In some places in Canada, you can also kayak, skate, or even ski to work or school. TRY IT!
TWO – Take a Look at Your Life: You know, there ARE alternatives to grabbing your keys and driving:
consider tele-working if you can; use conference calling or video meeting software
and save lots of people from doing lots of unnecessary travel; consider taking one or two of your courses on the web;
look at being more physically active and building part of your social life around that – at the rink, on the bike and running trails –
use your imagination to find ways to have fun that don’t involve the car;
Simple isn’t it.
And if you want to drive (or in this case, not drive) like the future depends on it, take these suggestions and work them into your life.
Still with us? OK! On to point four.
Once upon a time, Denise called Bob and Mustapha and Alexis, saying that she was planning to head to the mall
and the food market in her spiffy new car and wanted to make the trip environmentally worthwhile.
Bob tweeted, “Awesome – I need hockey tape and broccoli, count me in!”.
Mustapha texted “I am so there – and I’m in for a spatula and some paprika:
I’ll shoot you traffic reports and construction notices so we don’t waste any time.”
Alexis SMS’ed “I have cool new map software so I can plan the route, and besides I need bok choy and squash racket.”
Denise texted/tweeted, and emailed everyone, who agreed to meet at Alexis’ place.
And off they went, saving the planet – driving like the future depended on it.
The moral of the story? plan your trip, avoid backtracking or inefficient routes, combine several trips or errands into one,
watch for slowdowns and snags, and drive intelligently.
There. You did it!