Living in the City

Monday, January 09, 2006

Practical advices about RRR

Transport is one area that our actions can make a big difference. It is up to us to stop using cars in the city, stop buying big inefficient cars, stop traveling by air when we can do the travel easily by land. We can make the change happen when we give the message that we want to live in greener, less congested cities, when we start pressing governments and local authorities, when we reclaim the streets for the people.

You can start by1:

· Demand from your authorities improved public transportation with more regular services, “cleaner vehicles” and bus lanes. Demand for the use of trams and trolleys.
· Start cycling. It is a good exercise, it is fun, you avoid the traffic jam and it is one of the most environmental way to move around.
Use public transport instead of taking the car
Car-pooling to work is a very effective way of conserving fuel
For short journeys walk, cycle or take the bus. Most emissions from a car occur during the first 15 minutes a car is running, yet 75% of all car trips in the developed world are less than 10 km.
· Service your vehicle regularly. This will make it more efficient conserving fuel and emitting less pollutants in the atmosphere.
· Avoid idling your vehicle. You waste fuel and pollute without a reason. Remember ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting your engine. Start driving correctly. Avoid sudden speeding, clutching or breaking, don’t over-speed and don’t over-load.
· Demand for more green and open spaces and less parking sites


· Avoid using airplanes for short distances. Planes pollute more per passenger per kilometre than trains and buses.The greenhouses produced by airplanes are emitted directly higher in the atmosphere making it three times more damaging than a car going the same distance2.

· Prefer traveling by land. It is a good way to feel your trip as you enjoy the in between scenery, you can meet new people and gain experiences. The European Rail Network is fairly good and can take you to the major European countries fast and safely. There are some offers for young people as well, that want to travel in Europe and in some regions outside Europe with cheap fares. Check the following websites for information:,


· When you buy a car check how much fuel they consume. Today car companies have the technology to make super efficient cars but they still manufacture big inefficient cars for profit reasons. The average American family owns a big 4x4 vehicle. These vehicles consume much more fuel from the normal cars, emit at least 70% more NOx and make traffic in the city even worse. It is very ironic when we think that an average family doesn’t really need this kind of “car”, actually it is more a truck rather than a car.

· Avoid buying two seat sport cars. Their use is limited and you will probably need a bigger car at some point when you will want to carry more people.

· See if you can find electr(on)ic cars or scooters. They are not 100% environmental friendly as they use electricity (which is provided by fossil fuels) but they have zero pipe emissions that help in a less suffocating atmosphere in the city.


It is a usual phenomenon people commuting to go to their workplace. That creates the need for transportation and usually people prefer doing it with their own car. We can try to find work near our house or find a house near our workplace. This will have a double benefit: saving our free time for ourselves and creating less pollution. As well you can check if your future job has good public transport links. Is there a bus stop near your work?

Something similar is preferring buying products from the groceries and super markets of our neighborhood rather than driving kilometers to go to a big supermarket.

All these are of course things that sometimes people cannot avoid doing. So, we need to put pressure on the authorities to plan the cities so that they provide people with facilities in every neighborhood.

Greener and open spaces and a friendlier city can reduce traveling often outside it in our effort to spend some time in the nature.

Climate, A survivor’s guide, Produced by People and Planet, Edinburg, UK,


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