7 Ways that Bicycling Can Save the Environment
by Erika Parker Price
We all learned to ride one as a child, but then sometime after we turned sixteen, most of us abandoned that sleek two-wheeled bicycle in favor of a car. If you are thinking about getting green, here are some green facts to show you that rediscovering the bicycle is a great way to start.
Beyond getting green, people choose to ride bicycles for many different reasons?it could be to save money on the commute to work, for fitness (instead of driving to the gym to use an electric stationary bike), or to visit a friend in the neighborhood. Regardless, the choice favorably impacts the environment several ways, in addition to reducing CO2 global warming.
Riding a bicycle will:
1. Reduce carbon emissions ? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a car driving an average of 12,500 miles per year will expend 11,450 pounds of carbon dioxide. That?s nearly one pound of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas responsible for CO2 global warming, for every mile driven. If you choose to ride your bike to work just one day a week, you can reduce your contribution to CO2 global warming by 20% annually.
2. Reduce America?s dependence on fossil fuels ? Every gallon of gas you put into your car comes out of the ground. Recent events, including political unrest in oil-rich countries and the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, show the high cost we pay for this dependence. If you use bicycling as one of your ways of getting green, you?ll minimize your own dependence.
3. Decrease the need for more roadways ? While you may not be ready to trade in your car, every day you stay off the roadway reduces the need for your space. If others also choose to bicycle some days, cumulatively there is less need for our ever expanding highway system. That means more trees, more open space, and less resources needed to build the roads.
4. Reduce landfill waste ? One of the encouraging green facts is that 75% of the parts of a car are recyclable, but Argonne National Labs estimates there are still at least 3 million tons of non-recyclable shredder residue head to landfills each year. If you bicycle more, you will create less wear and tear on your car, which means you can keep it on the road (or in your garage when you?re biking) longer and reduce your contribution to the landfill.
5. Improve air quality ? The Environmental Protection Agency, a great source for green facts, reports that transportation accounts for 33% of CO2 emissions in America, with more than half of that coming from cars. Bicycling is a zero emissions way to get from place to place; as a cyclist, you will definitely appreciate clean air.
6. Reduce cold start emissions ? Cars are most inefficient when started and for the first few miles of driving. If cycling all the way to your destination is prohibitive due to the distance, cycling part way and then taking mass transit may be possible. By skipping the short drive altogether, you will reduce your impact on CO2 global warming.
7. Protect wildlife ? According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates, 60 million birds are killed each year in collisions with cars. Reduce the miles you drive each week, and you?ll reduce your negative impact on birds and other wildlife.
For more green facts and getting green ideas, visit Going Going Green Today for a 90-day customized action plan that can help you protect your health, save money, and reduce your impact on the Earth.