Green, or sustainable, transport refers to ways of transportation that are sustainable in terms of their social and environmental impacts.
Right now, transportation is taking up a quarter of global emissions, making it a priority when attempting to deal with global warming. So, what are we doing about this?
Short-term goals often promote improvement in fuel efficiency and vehicle emission controls while long-term goals include changing transportation from fossil-based energy to alternatives such as renewable energy.
While these are all working towards a cleaner environment, I would like to offer a new way to look at making transportation green; reducing the amount of transportation in the first place. Being stated in the 5 Rs as ‘refuse’ and ‘reduce’, it is a key idea in limiting our environmental impact.
To achieve this, we should shift our attention from transport itself to us and our habits. We should start looking into our lifestyle and everyday choices, such as taking unneeded, lengthy trips to places such as supermarkets or caffes, instead of opting for closer alternatives.
People should also opt for buying locally, which reduces the emissions goods make when travelling from outside countries.
Some issues influencing our daily decisions stem from the city planning of where we live, such as how close our homes are to education, work, services, utilities, and leisure. The difference in how close or far apart these are, changes whether someone would take a car, bicycle, or go by foot. Ideally, they should all be within walking distance of each other.
Problems and solutions in Cyprus
In Cyprus, although the distances between many destinations are short, people tend not to walk because of hot weather. However, I believe that people would be more inclined to walk if the pavements were more consistently placed throughout the city and if more trees were planted for shade. This would turn walking from being a risky, unpleasant and sweaty experience to being a good option for moving between places.
Even if we’re falling behind on reducing transportation, we are working on making it more green by building more bicycle lanes, promoting electric vehicles like scooters and bicycles, and by improving our public transport system.
Overall, there are many big and small changes people can make in their choices of transportation, that can make a change in the global environment, and I sincerely hope that you will be one of those people.
(F1 pupils, Foley’s School)