It seems that each passing moment brings more facts about what scientists say is the greatest challenge facing humanity – global warming. The primary source responsible for this current warming trend is known to be carbon dioxide (CO2).
The overwhelming source of CO2 emissions is from the burning of fossil fuels. You may feel that you have no control over your fossil fuel use, but you do. There is one simple solution that everyone can make to help stop global warming, and you don’t even have to do anything!
Your Addiction To Your Car
That’s right, one of the simplest possible solutions for global warming is for you to stop driving! Do you struggle to imagine your life without owning a personal automobile? You’re certainly not the only one. America’s love affair with the personal automobile has a history and is deeply embedded in our culture. For many, the automobile symbolizes a rite of passage, a higher standard of living and a means to freedom. Unfortunately, there is a downside…
Your vehicle use is a major cause of global warming. The upside to this is that choosing not to drive is the simplest and most effective solution to global warming. In the United States, the only sector responsible for emitting more carbon dioxide than transportation is electricity generation. While reforms for electricity generation could take years of bureaucratic process and infrastructure development, you can take a major step to help stop global warming today by reducing your automobile use.
The Best Solution:
The fossil fuels burned while driving are immense. If you drive 12,000 miles a year in a car that gets an average of 20 miles per gallon, then you are responsible for producing six tons of carbon dioxide every year. This number may seem meaningless, but consider that every year the average American home and car are each responsible for 7.5 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s 30,000 pounds of CO2, per person, every year!
You can make this crucial change by using alternative transportation. According to the American Public Transportation Association, traveling by public transportation produces half of the CO2 as personal vehicles. Walking and biking produce zero emissions and give you a sense of freedom that cannot be afforded by any motorized vehicle. It also takes care of your daily exercise!
The Benefits of Being Car-Free
You will be a model for others when you take this simple step. You can change all the light bulbs you want, but very few people will ever witness that act. Walking, biking and using public transit are public acts which make a strong statement that you are committed to stopping global warming- acts that will inspire other people like you.
Your car may seem indispensable, but your quality of life will likely improve if you’re able to let go of your addiction. Take a moment to ponder the possible benefits:
- More time enjoying life, less time behind the wheel in traffic
- Better health and a more attractive body
- Less stress from a major possession needing upkeep
- More money in your wallet
Consider the fact that the average household in the U.S. spends 17% of its budget on owning and operating personal vehicles. Imagine being liberated from that financial burden! You will be able to spend more money on what you enjoy or spend less time working.
You can make this easy change by first committing to using alternative transportation on one day a week when you would normally use your automobile. Gradually increase this as it becomes easier and work towards making more and more trips this way. When prepared to realize the full economic benefits of this solution, you can take the final step and sell your vehicle. This may seem like a treacherous transition, but for occasional use, many people make use of car sharing.
Stop your car addiction by joining a car sharing program. These programs work by providing cars for people who do not want to own a personal vehicle, but still want the option of having access to one. This type of service is available in hundreds of cities. If none exist in your city, start a car sharing co-op or relocate to an area where you are not entirely dependent on your own vehicle.
Do You Have the Courage
To Reduce Your Impact?
You need to take serious action if you want to avoid the catastrophic consequences of global warming. Giving up your car may seem like a sacrifice, but it pales in comparison to the tragic sacrifices you will have to make if global warming continues. Want to learn more ways you can prevent global warming? You can help right now.
 United States Department of Energy
Author: Brown, Nathan. A Cooler Climate, 2008.