Bike for Snow
I have been a cross country skier since fifth grade. That means that I have been hooked on skiing—and hooked on snow— for a long time. For 35 years I have been passionately involved in promoting, leading, and coaching youth and high school cross country ski programs and teams. I know snow. I love snow.
I miss snow.
Our climate is changing. It frightens me how fast it is changing. I suppose if you live in Tennessee or Nebraska or another not-so-winter place, you might not notice. But here in Minnesota, we notice.
I wonder from time to time, more often lately, what can be done about climate change.
Guess what? Ordinary citizens like you and me can do a lot. Like use less electricity, buy local, buy smart— and drive less. For many people, a large part of their carbon footprint (the sum of all emissions of carbon dioxide) is created by driving their car.
What is your carbon footprint? Find out!
How do cars contribute to climate change?
When fossil fuels like petrol or diesel are burned, they give off carbon dioxide, the primary culprit of climate change/global warming. The amount of carbon dioxide given off is directly related to the amount of fuel burnt. Heavy cars with big engines use a lot of fuel per distance travelled, and thus emit more CO2 (carbon dioxide) and thus contribute more to the problem of global warming.1
What share of greenhouse gas emissions comes from cars and trucks?
According to Greenpeace International, transport contributes approximately 13% of total global greenhouse gas emissions of which CO2 is the largest part. Two thirds of that comes from road transport. At present, CO2 emissions from road transport and aviation are growing twice as fast as overall CO2 emissions. It has been estimated that by 2050 emissions from transport could be between 30 and 50% of total global emissions. 1
And according to a recent report of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), as much as 26% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from transportation.2
Americans are attached to their cars. I get that. Americans cruise in their cars for fun and rely on their cars to get from Point A to Point B. One of the most common destinations is the work place. Whenever we get behind the wheel and step on the gas, we become part of the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that if we are part of the problem, we can be part of the solution.
What can we do?
You and I can drive less by using public transportation, carpooling, biking or walking. I know—easier said than done. Luckily, I happen to love the design of most human-powered transport vehicles like bikes, and I love the health benefits gained by using them, so I choose to drive less and encourage others to drive less.
Driving less will make an enormous difference in the reduction of harmful emissions that we are responsible for every day. Are you skeptical about that claim? Recently I read an article about how Beijing banned the use of cars for two weeks. The results were incredible. I invite you to read the article for yourself: http://www.upworthy.com/beijing-banned-cars-for-2-weeks-and-the-sky-turned-perfectly-blue-guess-what-happened-the-next-day
The situation in Beijing shows us how grim the problem is but also just how easily we can change it.
Thom Dunn, the author of the article, believes that ”By cutting back on cars and other emissions for two weeks, Beijing underwent a beautiful and healthy transformation. And yet, all it took was one day of business-as-usual to bring Beijing crashing back into the danger zone.”
What am I willing to do?
I do not have the power to ban cars from my city for two weeks, as city officials did in Beijing in 2015. I do, however, have the power to change my actions. Sometimes it’s hard to change, but the way I’m looking at things right now, it’s harder to ski without snow than it is to change a few things in my behavior.
So my intention, a promise to myself, is to ride my bike or walk one day of each week (at least). It will take some planning on my part. There will be days when the weather is icky, I’m in a hurry, or I just don’t feel like it, but I’m doing this.
I am biking for snow. Are you in?
If so, like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bikeforsnow/ and make your promise to drive less! Or…like us on Facebook and promise to think about it.
My initiative and website are a work in progress, so check back often!
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