Drive responsibly: your safety depends upon it.
Good advice that we’ve heard from the moment we begin learning to drive.
Today, with more vehicles on the road, and more distracted drivers behind the wheel, that advice is more vital than ever. But it’s not just our safety and the safety of those around us that demands constant and increasing driver responsibility.
The entire planet’s health depends on us, all of us, becoming more intentional drivers.
Automobiles and trucks are responsible for one-third of the pollution we emit into the atmosphere. The average North American car pours a breathtaking (literally) 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. Hybrid cars emit about half as much.
We see and feel the effects of our carbon footprint very clearly, in what has become a serious climate crisis that has led to a global rise in temperatures and sea levels, increasingly violent weather, devastating wildfires and more. And while carbon dioxide is a key contributor to global warming and atmospheric degradation, it’s far from the only pollutant our vehicles produce. Carbon monoxide, sulfur, nitrous oxide and lead are all pouring out of the exhaust systems of even the newest and most efficient vehicles.
Six Ways to be an Environmentally Responsible Driver
Drive less. Drive only when you have to and set yourself the goal of reducing your driving by 10% this week. Once you see how relatively painless that reduction is, set your sights higher and see if you cut your drive-time by half over the course of a month.
Make sure your car is well-tuned. Keep your car in good operating condition; have emission-levels checked regularly and check that your tires are properly inflated. In short, if you have to drive, do so in a vehicle optimized to produce the least amount of pollution possible.
Consider going electric. Electric vehicles emit no greenhouse gases. And as cities and communities add more charging stations, electric vehicles are more practical than ever. When considering your next vehicle, put an electric car at the top of your list. Living in Ontario also means that the overall impact of powering an electric vehicle is relatively clean and low-carbon when compared to other provinces and countries due to the nature of our energy sources.
Ride-share. By joining a car-pool for work or ferrying kids to school and activities, coordinating shopping trips with neighbors and friends or becoming a member of a group that shares ownership of vehicles, you can make a dramatic reduction in the amount of automotive pollution you’re responsible for. And you’ll save money!
Take mass-transit. Are there bus routes or light-rail stations nearby? Even relatively near? How much driving could you eliminate if you drove only to the train or bus stop rather than all the way to your destination? This is especially effective with regular destinations to which you commute.
Bike or walk. You might be surprised not only at how many of your destinations are within relatively easy walking or biking distance. Walking and biking produce none of the environmentally dangerous pollutants that our vehicles emit. Plus, walking and biking are great for your health!
These ideas are all a great start towards reducing our environmental footprint — anything helps in the effort to realize the change needed for a more sustainable world.
Drive responsibly: our planet’s future depends upon it.