Everyone has to get to work in some way or another. Whether it be walking to a home-office down the hall or flying across the country for a conference, transportation is a necessary part of life. While almost all forms of transportation have some level of carbon output, it’s always possible to make a small difference in one’s routine to benefit the environment. We can each take small, easy steps for the environment that, as a collective, have the potential to make great impact.
Use Public Transportation
Transportation makes up 29% of total CO2 emissions worldwide, and 59% of which come from light-duty vehicles, or personal cars. If you’d like to take part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, saving energy, and reducing traffic noise, you can try using your city’s public transportation system.
While getting to work via the bus or subway is significantly better for the environment than driving, may not be practical for everyone. It can be difficult to avoid driving to and from work, but why not try committing to public transport for just one day out of the week? To encourage the use of public transportation, companies can give a public transportation stipend to their employees. Your employees will save money and feel good the steps they’re taking to lower their carbon footprint.
Use Rideshare Apps
If you take public transportation to work, happen to stay late at the office, and would like to get a car home, consider ridesharing. Carpooling with another person who’s going in the same direction as you results in less trips taken, less cars on the road, and thereby less carbon emissions. NYC has a great amount of rideshare apps, including Lyft, Via, Juno, Curb, and Arro. Not only is ride sharing better for the environment, it’s cheaper too.
Consider a Hybrid or Electric Car
If driving to work is unavoidable, next time you’re in the market for a new car, consider a hybrid or electric. Hybrid vehicles generally have better gas mileage than gasoline and diesel vehicles. They employ an electric motor powered by energy stored in batteries in addition to an internal combustion engine. Alternatively, electric cars forego an internal combustion engine entirely, opting instead for a motor run solely on electricity. Hybrid and electric cars emit little to no exhaust, so zooming down the street won’t be so harmful to the air you breathe.
Consider Long-Distance Train Travel Instead of Flying
Business trips often require long-distance travel, which can be harsh on the environment as air travel is the most carbon-intensive form of transportation. According to the European Environmental Agency, air travel accounts for 285 grams of carbon dioxide per passenger kilometer, which is immense in comparison to the mere 14 grams of carbon dioxide per passenger kilometer from rail travel. Not only is rail travel better for the environment, it’s also generally more comfortable, less stressful, cheaper, and offers a wide variety of scenic views.
Purchase Carbon Offsets
If taking the aforementioned steps simply isn’t viable for you or your business, or you’d like to lower your carbon footprint even more, you can always buy carbon offsets. Many airlines, including United, Jet Blue, and Delta, offer easy-to-use carbon offsetting programs to customers. Additionally, there are many tools online that will point you in the right direction. Try MyClimate.org, Terrapass.com, or CarbonFund.org to get started.
Have a friend join you on the bus, go electric car shopping with a buddy, or encourage others to buy carbon offsets by telling your story.
At Visit.org, we encourage working together to create a more conscious society that brings sustainability into all parts of our lives. For more information on how to make a lasting social impact, visit our website.
Cover photo credit: Antoine Beauvillain