Turn your journeys green for World Car Free Day
Each year on 22nd September, people across the globe leave their cars at home and head out for a day without four wheels. As part of our year-long focus on changes we can make to become more sustainable and reduce greenhouse gases, we’re taking a look at the benefits of World Car Free Day.
Whilst this focus is only for one day, it’s designed to raise awareness over a longer-term – and demonstrate the health and environmental benefits of incorporating greener transport into our everyday lives.
It’s an important topic that’s even got the Government invested, with commitments to spend £2 billion on walking and cycling initiatives over 5 years.
Making our streets and roads liveable
Living Streets is a registered charity who have been campaigning to improve our streets since 1929, and have led the drive to introduce zebra crossings and speed limits to improve safety.
Since then, the volunteer-led initiative, has continued to advocate for people to swap their vehicles and opt to walk instead. More recently tackling everyday issues such as pavement parking that makes pathways inaccessible for disabled people and pushchairs.
They welcomed the Government’s focus on walking and cycling during the pandemic for health and wellbeing, and ongoing investment to improve our streets. As well as backing the huge environmental benefits that switching off cars and opting for greener journeys provides for our ongoing challenge to tackle climate change.
“There has never been a more opportune or urgent moment to realise our vision of Britain as a ‘Walking Nation.’ Walking can not only be a sure path to personal health and fitness but also help us to build healthy communities and a healthy environment.”
Lord Michael Bates, President, Living Streets (2020-2025 Strategy)
Improving our health and wellbeing
There’s health benefits to walking as well, which many of us rediscovered when a daily walk became the central point of our day during COVID-19 lockdowns. Walking lets you get out into the fresh air, providing a much-needed distraction from everyday worries and concerns – and clearing your head can often help to work through any challenges and come up with solutions. As well as walking being a get way to help improve our overall fitness levels.
Reducing air pollution and carbon emissions
A report from the Committee for Climate Change, showed that UK emissions rose by 4% in 2021 compared with 2020 figures. Although this may not be such a surprise given the wider impact of COVID-19 on businesses and people in 2020.
They suggest that switching to an electric vehicle instead of a petrol or diesel powered car could save around 2 tonnes of CO2 per year – and the same could be said for switching to walking. Less cars on the road will also help to improve air pollution, with COVID-19 lockdowns across the globe having demonstrated the real benefits to air quality when vehicles are taken off the road.
Making lasting changes
Ahead of World Car Free Day it’s worth taking the time to consider what changes you could make to reduce your car use and get out on foot or by bike instead.
Could you take a greener commute to work, such as cycling or walking to the local train station to use public transport? Perhaps you could designate one day a week to cycle instead of driving?
If you’re now working in a hybrid or remote working role so don’t need to rely on a car to get you to and from work, are there other opportunities to reduce car journeys as well? Perhaps when you take a short trip to the shops or take the children to school?
Whether you use World Car Free Day to make a change for 24 hours or use it to start to make meaningful change – it’s clear to see that less car travel has many environmental and health benefits for us all.
Find out more
To find out more about how we’re reducing our impact on the planet, click on the link below.