Cool Alternative Transportation Methods to Reduce Air Pollution
So you’ve got a car, right? Probably even two if you have a larger family and someone needs to play the transporter part – circling between kindergarten and various stores for lifesaving products: diapers, toys, other stuff your kids crave about. While in your mind having two cars is the right amount of vehicles for two adults with kids, the environment around you surely disagrees with your firm choice.
While Elon Musk is blowing millions of dollars trying to save the world by digging tunnels and refining the design of his Tesla’s so we can have breathable air, I believe there is something we can all do to prevent the depletion of the ozone layer.
I don’t want to sound like a paranoid environmentalist who is mad at everyone around using plastic coffee cups while planning a public riot on Sunday afternoon. I’m simply getting a bit worried that we’ll soon become prisoners in our own homes because the outside air will be unbreathable. And I’m not exaggerating. If we continue to consume goods like it’s always Christmas, our favorite gadget will soon become a gas mask.
Since I’m also aware that moving from point A to point B and consuming stuff is something of great importance for us as a species, I decided to start slow. With something we can all do. I decided to share with you some cool innovative methods for alternative transportation. If more and more people consider using a new way to move around the city, we’ll potentially reduce the risk of chronic lung cancer.
Before we observe some long-forgotten ways to commute to work, the local store, your dance classes, let’s see why you should even care:
What Is Causing Air Pollution?
When we’re taking a walk and we see trash on the street we might get a little disturbed. When we see cans and plastic bags somewhere in the forest when we’re hiking we can even get a little mad. Still, physical pollution is not the real demon here. I mean, it’s still damaging nature and we should definitely not do it, but there are other things, things we don’t see, that are doing serious damage to our surroundings. Some of these things are:
Natural sources: Volcanic eruptions and wildfires produce carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other polluting gases.
Burning of fossil fuels: A lot of factories process various fossils while they are producing products. Usually, these companies have large chimneys so they can take the smoke out of the building. They release a large amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds, and chemicals into the air thereby depleting the quality of air.
Agricultural activities: Ammonia is a common product used in agriculture–related activities. People who have lands often use insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers when taking care of their crofts. These activities, however, emit harmful chemicals into the air and can also cause water pollution.
Mining operations: Mining operations are usually done underground but this doesn’t mean that they are not affecting the atmosphere. During the process of mining large machines are involved and also a lot of dust and chemicals are released in the air causing massive air pollution. These two facts are the main reason mining is one of the deadliest professions on the planet.
Pollution from households: Household cleaning products seem like a drop in the ocean in terms of harming the planet but they do have a negative impact. Painting supplies emit toxic chemicals in the air and cause air pollution. Just think about it. When you paint the walls of your house you can’t bear the smell, right? Well, that smells it’s toxic and influences the air as much as burning coal. In addition, a lot of households use wood-burning stoves to keep their homes warm during the winter. The latter, actually, is the reason Skopje is the most polluted capital in Europe.1
Consumerism: Most of us think that there is nothing wrong with ordering new t-shirts every second month or going to the mall to buy something we kind of like. Yet, each order we submit triggers a set of events, all of them harmful to the environment. When an order is submitted this means that someone needs to deliver the item, thus drive to your place. Ordering means that the factory needs to produce a replacement. Additionally, when your consumption is higher this also means that you have more waste.
How These Things Impact Our Health?
Well, I believe it’s kind of obvious. I mean, it’s surely bad to go outside when there is smog and you don’t need a scientist to tell you that. Still, let’s observe how the rising levels of air pollution are affecting our bodies:
Exposure to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy can lead to miscarriages as well as premature birth, and asthma in children;
Heart conditions along with different cancers can also be caused by the contaminated air.
Air pollution may damage children’s brain development and also lead to pneumonia.
High levels of air pollution include emphysema and chronic bronchitis, as well as lung cancer.
Bad air is hardening the arteries and increase the risk of heart attack and strokes.
Air pollution is the reason for the increased temperatures worldwide, increase in sea levels and melting of ice from colder regions and icebergs. This leads to floods, climate change and loss of habitats for different species.
The eutrophication condition where a high amount of nitrogen present in some pollutants gets developed on the sea’s surface and turns itself into algae and adversely affect fish, plants and animal species.
The ozone layer is getting thinner. This emits harmful rays back on earth and can cause skin and eye-related problems. UV rays also have the capability to affect crops.
The list is quite larger but there is no point in going further. As you can see, hazardous air can lead to a lot of nasty shit.2
Unfortunately, we rarely think about the impact while we’re driving our 300 horsepower BMW to work. We look cool, so why give a damn about the air and that it might, at some point, backfire to your children?
Not that I’m a super eco-friendly person, nor should you be. But if we don’t all do something, together, even a small change, we’ll soon live inside a planet that’s similar to the world described in Mad Max movies – everyone will wear goggles, gas masks and we’ll be killing each other for a glass of water.
So, what can we do?
Well, blaming the government, the modern factories and your neighbor for burning coal is a way to proceed, surely. But how do you think this will unfold?
Let’s say you write a detailed blog post on your favorite social media account about the air pollution and how the government is doing basically nothing to make the air breathable again. Or, you simply knock on your neighbor’s door and tell him to sell his 3 cars because your future kids will probably have asthma because of the damage he’s doing right now. Well, these two actions will only lead to angry comments and a potential fistfight with the person living next door. Or in other words, it won’t be impactful, at all.
What you can do instead, is to influence others through your actions. Starting with dumping the car and moving across your city with something different.
Alternative Transportation Methods
Let’s see some cool ways of alternative transportation that don’t include owning a car:
It might seem like an odd first option but public transportation is one of the best ways to prevent air pollution. Since not all people own cars, or can drive. The government is kind of obligated to ensure there is a system of public transportation in place for children, people without a license and elders. And since buses and metro stations are working regardless, you can simply benefit from this already established system.
The downside of this is that you’re dependent by this system and in some cities, it will take you a bit more time to reach your desired destination. Still, there are a lot of benefits: You don’t have to worry about parking; You don’t have to pay taxes; It’s cheap; You can use the time while riding the bus to read.
Price: Probably around $2 per direction, or less, depending on where you live.
Walking it’s free and it can be a lot of fun. Grab a friend or put your earbuds and you can go everywhere. It’s good for your health and you can even learn a new language if you’re mindful about what you listen to while you walk.
The downside here is that it’s not an option to a lot of people. If the distance between your job and your apartment is more than 5 miles it’s quite tiring. Still, it’s a valid option for a lot of people.
Price: New shoes every couple of months and spare time.
I love cycling and I regularly go to work on my bike. It’s super fun and quite inexpensive. A single bike costs around $300 and the maintenance per year in most of the cases is around a few bucks.
The only problem bikers face is when it rains but that’s something you can easily resolve. You can get a good raincoat and you’re all set.
Cost: You can get a decent bike for around $300.
Skateboards and Scooters
When I was younger people used skateboards only to impress girls or glide on a half-pipe. Nowadays though, things are way different. A lot of people use longboards and scooters to move across towns. You’ve probably seen the “birds” around your town.3
Cost: You can buy a decent longboard or scooter for around $200.
Modern Transportation Alternatives
If the above options sound dull and not that fun, we’ll correct that with the following examples. Technology is so advanced right now that you’ll fall in love with the gadgets I’m about to show you. Most of them are way cooler than cars.
Halfbike offers completely new riding experience. Something between cycling and running. It will change the way you think about bikes and it will surely make some people jealous. It’s available in different colors and you don’t need anything in particular to ride it. Only a few hours to get used to the innovative way it works and some cash.
It’s like the skateboard from the future. Onewheel it’s absolutely stunning. It looks super fun to ride and you don’t need a remote control to power it. You simply need to “lean back” and relax as the famous rapper Fat Joe says in his all-time favorite rap song. Or forward, of course, depending on the direction you’re going.
If you’re regularly consuming YouTube videos you’ve probably seen Casey Neistat riding one of these boards. They look amazing and have around 14 miles range. Enough to get you to work and probably get you back. But even if the 14 miles range doesn’t sound like enough, the battery gets fully charged in around an hour.
The most bizarre and most unique bike on the market. Mate X is a big tire e-bike with pedal assist and on top of that, it can be folded to take even less space. It has a big battery that can last for up to 55 miles.
If you love cycling but your job is not that near, you should definitely consider Mate X.
Directly from L.A., we get the electric equivalent of Harley Davidson. At least that’s my opinion. The e-bikes you’ll see created by Lithium Cycles are insanely good. They look like a gasoline bike but they are fully electric.
You’ll definitely become the star of the party if you drive something like the Super 73.
Technically it’s a car, but a car from the future. No air pollution, low maintenance costs. It’s the high-end solution for anti-air pollution transportation.
If you can afford one you should definitely invest in yourself and in the future of transportation. Hopefully, in the near future, such vehicles will be more affordable and we can all benefit from what they have to offer.
Price: Starting from $35,950.
Some Closing Thoughts
Alternative transportation refers to commuting in any way other than driving alone. The examples are the ones included above: biking, walking, carpooling, and taking public transportation.
Besides the obvious benefits for the environment, there are others, more personal gains:
It’s super fun to ride a bike.
It’s cheaper than owning and maintaining a car.
Driving in the city traffic can be stressful.
You don’t have to worry about parking.
You’re making an impact.
So, if you’re obsessed about owning a car, take some time to reconsider your values. Surely driving is comfortable and it’s the preferred way when it’s raining outside, but we need to think about the environment and the negative impact our cars have on mother nature.
The more people switch from driving cars to riding bikes, the greater the benefit for all of us.
So, what’s your preferred way of transportation? Share in the comments below:
You can see, here, how thousands of people burning wood to keep their homes warm can influence the air in a whole city.
The information above was gathered from these two articles: LINK; LINK.
The electric scooters available for rent: bird.com.