Transportation has become one of the fastest growing sectors of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s now responsible for 22 percent of the world’s emissions. The growth of transportation’s infrastructure and its emission rate emphasize the need for people to adapt their method of travel to more eco-friendly options.
So, how can you start traveling eco-friendly? Adopt these seven eco-friendly travel methods:
#1 Travel by train
Railways produce only two percent of America’s greenhouse gases, yet it’s 30 percent more efficient than driving and 8 percent more efficient than flying. Electric trains can also use renewable energy, instead of diesel, to operate. Countries like the Netherlands, for example, operate a fleet of electric trains. The trains use wind energy to transport 600,000 people per day.
Train companies are also making changes to reduce the environmental impact of trains. LED lighting and improved traction, ventilation and braking systems all push towards transforming trains into a greener method of transport.
#2 Ride your bike
Bicycles are a quick, eco-friendly way to move throughout cities. Using your bike instead of your car makes a significant impact on the environment.
By riding your bicycle for four miles, you prevent 15 pounds of pollutants from being released, which is more impactful when compared to the fact that more than 82 percent of car trips are five miles or less. Shorter car trips cause more pollution, as 60 percent of emissions are released when starting a vehicle.
Bicycling also improves your cardiovascular system, as well as reduces your overall vehicle expenses. In congested cities, bicycling can be a faster transportation method, but be sure to remain alert and stay safe, as it can be dangerous.
#3 Fly direct routes
Flying, though the third-largest producer of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by transportation, is an unavoidable travel method at times.
Minimize your carbon footprint when flying by booking a direct route without layovers or flight changes. Studies have found that stops can increase emissions by 35 percent per person, as planes produce their largest emissions during takeoff. They also use the most fuel during takeoffs.
Use low-cost airlines when flying if possible. These airlines are more likely to fill their cabin in comparison to other aircraft carriers, which provides an overall reduction in their carbon dioxide emissions.
#4 Carpool with friends
Carpool with friends or family to reduce your pollution contribution. Carpooling reduces the number of vehicles on the road, which helps lower emission rates. It also works like airlines, which reduce their overall emissions by reaching their maximum occupancy.
#5 Use public transportation
Public transportation is an excellent way to travel eco-friendly, whether by bus or subway. Metros and subways produce 76 percent lower emissions than single-occupancy vehicles. They also help reduce roadway congestion, which leaves cars idling and giving off gases.
Several cities across the globe use electric buses. These buses feature batteries or fuel cells and produce 70 and 50 percent fewer emissions, respectively, than buses using natural gas. They also reduce smog-forming emissions by half.
#6 Walk to local locations
Walking is ideal for those living in cities. It’s estimated the average person can walk one mile in about ten minutes. While it may take longer for you to reach the park, grocery store or work, it’s a travel option that’s more environmentally friendly.
The benefits of walking extend beyond the environment. Reduce your risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease by walking 30 minutes each day to work or other locations.
#7 Drive an electric vehicle
Electric vehicles produce zero emissions when traveling, but they can increase a power plant’s emission when charging. Vehicle production can also cause pollution, a common factor among all vehicles. If your home uses renewable energy, however, electric vehicles provide an unmatched green method of transportation.
Adopting more eco-friendly travel methods can involve small steps, such as walking and riding the bus, or larger changes, like altering your vacation’s flight or switching to an electric vehicle. While your decisions may seem small, they have a significant impact when other people are making the same eco-friendly choices.
This is a guest post written by Kate Harveston.
Kate Harveston is a freelance writer and blogger. Her writing focuses on politics and the environment, with a particular emphasis on social change. You can follow her writing by visiting her blog, So Well, So Woman.