Over the years, we have grown more and more dependent on cars, and even flights, to accomplish a multitude of tasks in our everyday life. But our transport choices come with consequences, which are dramatically affecting us and our planet.
The world is currently almost 1 °C warmer than pre-industrial times, and with the increased frequency of devastating hurricanes and heatwaves recorded all over the world we can no longer deny that climate change is happening. According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, at the current rate of emissions, global warming will rise to 1.5 °C by 2030. This will increase significantly the risks of extreme heat, droughts, floods, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
Despite many sectors being responsible for climate change, transport is currently the single largest contributor to the total CO2 emission, at least within the UK. Furthermore, air pollution is responsible for millions of premature deaths worldwide, with car exhausts making children particularly at risk of developing asthma and stunted lungs.
On top of this, the latest assessment report compiled by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has revealed that biodiversity and ecosystems are declining at unsustainable levels, threatening human well being for current and future generations. It is not surprising to read that climate change and pollution are listed among the top 4 culprits also for this environmental emergency.
While deep transformative changes in our societies need to be sought at a global level, we all have opportunities to make an individual impact and shift our lifestyles towards cleaner transport alternatives.
Cars can be useful and even essential for some of us, but 50% of all car journeys within the EU cover less than 5 km and, whenever possible, could be undertaken on bike or foot. Bicycles provide a simple and effective means of transport which is intrinsically clean, cheap, and comes with a whole host of health benefits. Furthermore, with the increasing efficiency of electric and cargo bikes, the accessibility and versatility of cycling has never been greater.