April 22 is Earth Day. Celebrate your support for walkability!
PEDS’ advocacy for a walkable Atlanta and more transportation choices makes a real difference to the environment. Transportation is the largest single cause of air pollution in the US. In 2010, it was the source of 32% of CO2 emissions. Transportation in the US alone causes almost 9% of global CO2 emissions. A whopping 65% of this was from personal vehicle use.
The challenge is huge. From 1990 to 2010, carbon emissions from transportation increased 18%, mostly due to increased travel miles and inefficient vehicles. Miles traveled by passenger cars and light-duty trucks increased an alarming 34% from 1990 to 2010. (Source: Environmental Protection Agency 2012).
Sprawling, un-walkable suburban expansion has been a major factor. Burning just one gallon of gasoline produces 19.4 pounds of CO2.
Walkability improves the health of individuals, the community, and the planet.
Walking instead of driving not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It also reduces other harmful emissions that damage human health and the natural environment locally: particulate matter, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and toxic pollutants such as benzene and acetaldehyde. (You can learn more from the Union of Concerned Scientists.)
Reducing miles driven also improves water quality. It reduces the volume of harmful pollutants from vehicles running off our roads into urban creeks, streams and beyond.
PEDS’ advocacy for walkable neighborhoods, safe access to transit, and transportation choices is making Atlanta a safer and healthier environment for all its residents. Walking to destinations and to transit should be a safe option for everyone. It also needs to be attractive enough to persuade people to leave their cars behind.
Feel REALLY good this Earth Day about supporting PEDS and promoting sustainability.
Have you calculated your carbon footprint?