How can you effectively fight climate change? Try a bike - Do práce na kole

How can you effectively fight climate change? Try a bike

How can you effectively fight climate change? Try a bike
31. 7. 2023, 8 min. čtení

“Italy will be scorched by a dog from the underworld, a global temperature record may fall in the USA. The earth is gripped by heat,” reports Czech Television on its website. According to scientists, the scorching summer temperatures are caused by the intensifying influence of human activity, especially non-declining production of greenhouse gases. What can we do as individuals to not lose the fight against climate change?

One solution that everyone can adopt, according to last year’s UN resolution, is to ride a bike. Yes, the bicycle is the new “environmental protection tool” and the UN recommends that all its member states “integrate the bicycle into public transport, both in urban and rural areas”.

Verified by lockdowns

What happens when people stop traveling by car so much, we were all able to experience during the Covid restrictions. City dwellers suddenly saw a clear sky without a smog screen and could hear birdsongs instead of the roar of engines. Emissions in Barcelona fell by 62 percent, as was the case in other European cities, including Prague. People not only used cars less but also walked and cycled more to avoid the crowds on public transport and get some exercise.

Cities that act

In response to this trend, a number of cities immediately began to use tactical urbanism and then permanently create more space and invest in safe infrastructure specifically for cyclists of all ages. And that includes, for example, the Philippine capital of Manila, where an incredible 313 kilometers of cycle paths were created connecting the megalopolis with its agglomerations. You can judge for yourself what the situation is in Prague on its streets.

Amsterdam. A all year-round cycling superpower

What about science?

Every hand counts in the fight against climate change. So, what would happen if we all switched to sustainable transport? The UN has concluded that promoting cycling will help “achieve sustainable development, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.” And what do scientists say?

A world full of Dutch people

A study published last year in the journal Communications Earth & Environment came up with the claim that if people around the world were as passionate cyclists as the people of the Netherlands, emissions of gases that cause the planet to warm would drop noticeably. On average, the Dutch cycle 2.6 kilometers a day. According to the study’s authors, if the whole world behaved the same way, 686 million metric tons of CO2 would be saved annually. That is equivalent to roughly one-fifth of the emissions from global individual car transport in 2015.

Greenhouse gas emissions cause not only such views

Electric cars are not enough

So, it’s a pretty big piece of the puzzle in our efforts to slow the climate crisis, which is causing increasingly brutal heat, drought, fires and storms. Transport currently produces a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, and half of that comes from passenger cars. Their exchange for electric cars is not happening fast enough for us to meet the climate goals of individual states.

To have does not mean to drive

While the bicycle is perfect for trips over distances that are too long for walking and too short for other modes of transport, the study emphasizes. In fact, bicycle production has been growing faster than car production for the past fifty years. But owning a bicycle does not mean that you use it as a means of transport. On a daily basis, less than 5% of journeys are made on it in all developed countries.

A ride that is not risking your life

The difference between the developed world and the Netherlands and, for example, Denmark, where owning a bicycle is associated with moving around the city, is in the safe infrastructure and the related point of view into this mode of mobility. Cycling is often perceived as a dangerous activity and in many places it is. In order to overcome these obstacles, the authors of the study propose a “global pro-cycling policy.” And this leads us back to the UN resolution.

The Dutch Embassy team at this year’s World Bicycle Day Ride

Diplomats recommend

In practice, it is a safe separate cycling infrastructure as well as strategies to overcome the global obsession with cars, for example through congestion charge or carbon tax and other measures to support sustainable mobility. Some of them were described in their statement, issued on the occasion of this year’s World Bicycle Day, by the Prague Diplomatic Bicycle Coalition. The Dutch ambassador to the Czech Republic, Daan Huisinga, shared it on Twitter.

To make it better for all of us

In it, he recalls that 15 member states of the European Union signed the European Cycling Declaration in 2022, in which they push for the support of cycling within the EU and express the belief that the Czech Republic deserves a similar approach to the Netherlands in order to achieve the desired change and embrace healthier modes of transport. And that both for people and for the very being of this planet.

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