December 1, 2016
One great thing about tackling climate change is seeing the diverse array of innovative and practical solutions being dreamed up in all corners of the globe. Given that the transportation industry churns out over a quarter of total carbon emissions, it’s certainly something we’d like to dig into.
Many of us love to travel, but hate thinking about the impacts it has on our planet. When it comes to investing in more sustainable forms of transport, some parts of the world are already forging ahead. We’ve even jumped on board with some of the new technologies ourselves, with our new Tesla ice cream “truck” – it’s the fastest scoop on wheels, hands down.
While individual solutions such as walking or taking a bike are great – honestly, who couldn’t use a little more exercise? – they’re not a viable answer for the masses. People need an easy and practical means of getting around, and going forward, they need to do it with as little environmental impact as possible. Here are a few solid approaches to tackling the problem:
Up and Running:
1. Amsterdam Tesla Fleet
Back in 2014, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport enlisted 167 Tesla cabs into its taxi fleet, as part of its drive to become the world’s greenest airport. Tesla might be the world’s hottest car company, but it’s fighting hard to keep the planet cool. Its zero-emission vehicles have already shaken up the automobile industry, and plans are afoot to do the same thing for trucking. We’re delighted, since nearly a sixth of our carbon footprint comes from transportation, and we’ve recently been fighting for more efficient long-haul trucks.
2. London Underground
You’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise on a Monday morning at 7:00am, but London’s public transport system is simply awesome! Along with the Shanghai Metro and the Beijing Subway, it’s one of the three longest transit systems in the world, with over 1.2 billion users per year. Needless to say, this cuts down hugely on vehicular traffic and pollution in the city above, and a lot of other major cities would do well to take a leaf out of that particular book. Yes, Los Angeles, we’re talking about you.
3. Curitiba, Brazil
Cutting edge technology is great, but there’s a lot to be said for an intelligent approach and good planning. Take Curitiba, whose visionary bus system is a shining example of flexible, rapid and low-cost public transit. Why? Dedicated lanes mean buses can move about freely, unimpeded by traffic signals and angry motorists, and ingenious design makes it easy for people to get on and off quickly. It’s used by around 70% of commuters, meaning the city streets are remarkably uncongested, and the air is pollution-free. Extra kudos for the future-proof bus stations!
4. Solar Impulse II
Back in July, Solar Impulse II made headlines when it became the first plane ever to circumnavigate the globe using only solar power. Not one single drop of fossil fuel was involved. Ok, with a total journey time of 16 months it wasn’t exactly non-stop, but it showcases the potential of renewable energy gives a tantalizing glimpse of what the passenger aviation of tomorrow might look like.
Dubbed “the fifth mode of transport”, the Hyperloop is essentially a vacuum tube through which a passenger capsule can be propelled at supersonic speeds. It’s like the old pneumatic tube mail system in New York, but with people! It’s free of direct emissions, noise, delays, pilot error, and weather concerns – no more “leaves on the track” or “the wrong kind of snow”. The idea is open-source, so the race is on to build the first working version – watch this space.
A Zero-Carbon Future!
Humans are smart – we can predict the existence of black holes and build hugely complex machines that travel to other planets. Some of us can even solve the Rubik’s Cube! Just think what we could do if we took all that problem-solving intelligence and applied it to more sustainable forms of transportation.
We’re not advocating going back to the Stone Age, and no one has to live in a cave, but it’s high time we got our act together to tackle global emissions. The sooner we put the brakes on climate change, the sooner we can go back to enjoying the good things in life, like normal weather patterns and un-melted ice cream. Sign the petition today, and let’s work towards a cleaner, greener future!
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