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How can we reduce carbon emissions from daily driving?

Throughout my time in my Climate Change and Global Inequality class, I learned that many people are relatively uneducated on how much their ecological footprint affects the climate. There are also many people that understand their impact, but still are not inspired to change their habits and lifestyles. My goal with this project was to understand what more people need to learn in order to make more climate-friendly choices.

My community

The topic of climate action can be super broad and overwhelming, so I started off by looking at my own community’s transportation. For myself, I drive almost ten miles to school every day. I don’t carpool and I use my own gas car. This is very typical for a lot of people in my community and at my school. Because I go to a private school that isn’t super close to my house, it is harder to find people to carpool with and I am going a longer distance than if I were to attend my local public school. I see this issue with my parents too, my dad also drives himself over 10 miles to work every day. In general I think that the Seattle area where I live is pretty spread out and most people spent a lot of time driving. Although everyone still needs a way to get to work, school, and everything we are driving to there are better ways to do this that can benefit our climate immensely.

 

My research

To learn more about how people feel about this subject, I took a poll of the people in my community that drive often. I found that the majority of people drive over 100 miles a week, and the majority also does not use public transportation regularly. Most people explained this by saying that they had their own car, so they didn’t need to carpool or use public transportation. Most answers described the convenience factor as the most important thing. My next question in the survey was “do you feel that you can make a difference in terms of climate change and global warming with your transportation choices?”. I was happily surprised to see that 100% of people polled answered yes to this. This felt encouraging that everyone feels responsible and capable of making change. 75% of people also said that if they knew more about how their transportation affects our climate crisis that they would be more willing to make changes in their habits. Lastly, 80% of people also said that they think that reducing transportation emissions is very important towards solving the climate crisis. With this information, I felt inspired to create my project that would ultimately educate people about their transportation and the environment.

Infographics

I created these infographics as tool for my community to learn more about this issue. My goal is to eventually display them in public places and use them on social media to spread awareness.

Feedback

In the comments below, answer some questions! What solutions could work for you or your community to make a difference? What other ideas do you have? Also feel free the download the infographic images to spread in your community or on social media!

Works Cited

“Car Emissions and Global Warming.” Union of Concerned Scientists, 18 July 2014, www.ucsusa.org/resources/car-emissions-global-warming. Accessed 15 Apr. 2020.

“Transportation and Climate Change.” Center for Biological Diversity, www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/climate_law_institute/transportation_and_global_warming/index.html. Accessed 15 Apr. 2020.

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COMMENTS: 8
  1. April 23, 2020 by Moses Rifkin

    I’m really glad you’re taking up this important topic, Sarah! I think a lot about the balance between personal responsibility and systemic change (like providing different vehicle options and equitable access), and I agree that getting people feeling like they can make a difference is the key to the first. Way to go!

  2. April 23, 2020 by Susan

    hi there, sarah — we got a new car recently, and our family committed to buying a hybrid. when we narrowed down the basic things we needed in this new car and the commitment to buying a hybrid, our options (in our price range) were few. it started to feel, from my end, like it would be easier or better just to buy a car. my husband said no. hybrid or no new car. so we soldiered on. in recent days and weeks in thinking about how much this huge slow down in our endless driving in america (and where i live in seattle) has helped the environment, i am so happy that we stuck to our original commitment. and, do know, our other car is a prius! and, now the question becomes — how can we drive less — either of our hybrids? we are super eager for the completion of the light rail system here. it is badly needed and how great will it be not to sit in traffic, whether in a hybrid, electric, or full on gas guzzling car…? keep on with your good work! thank you for caring about the environment; it matters a lot.

  3. April 23, 2020 by Ms Diop

    Beau travail Sarah! I really like the context you put to your presentation. It does appeal to people’s sense of urgency and action.
    Bravo!
    Mme Diop

  4. April 24, 2020 by Lizzy

    [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Pending Moderation”. Reason: Whoops. Google reCAPTCHA was not submitted. *]
    Hi Sarah! I was interested in your project because living here in Seattle too, I have definitely noticed some of the same things as you. I think our public transportation system definitely needs some improvements as it is not as widespread/accessible as it could be, although the city is working on that with the lightrail and whatnot. I love your infographics, they are super clear & easy to follow! Keep up the good work!

  5. April 24, 2020 by Charles

    I think taking the bus regularly can be a great way of reducing carbon emissions, I think encouraging people to ride bikes short distances instead of driving can create a big impact.

  6. April 24, 2020 by Anne Bingham

    Thanks, Sarah, for bringing attention to the impact that our commutes and travel choices make on our climate future. I really like your solutions graphic & wish we could post them around. I think we’d need more flex time in our schedules and jobs in order to walk, bike, and use public transportation more.

  7. April 24, 2020 by Richard

    Nice job, Sarah. I appreciate the precise focus of your presentation and the clear graphics. It’s easy to view this project and then remember a couple of key takeaways.

  8. April 25, 2020 by Alejandra

    Hi Sarah! I like the topic you chose as it is relevant to many of us that drive everyday. Since covid19 began I have been at home for longer periods of time and obviously have not used my car as much. I feel really good about not creating emission and I am also saving on gas. I also hope that these measures will help reduce air pollution in my city. Congratulations!

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