According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the temperature across the last one hundred years on our earth has increased by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (“Climate Change: Basic Information”). If the temperatures continue to rise, then the water molecules in the oceans begin to move at greater speeds, making water levels rise. This would have the potential to flood big cities. This is just one effect of rising temperatures among hundreds of other environmental issues. Among many reasons, climate change occurs because of the growing number of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, and transportation plays a large role in this issue. Based off of data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2015, 27% of the greenhouse gasses that were emitted in the United States came from transportation alone. This was the second highest category behind Electricity Production (“Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions”). Thus, through change in this part of our daily lives, we have the potential to truly benefit the health of our planet.
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In response to the issue of climate change, I decided to focus my efforts on transportation. I have been volunteering in this field for a few years, with the Seattle Youth Climate Action Network. We at the Network hold an annual Transportation Challenge where we get as many people as we can to bus, carpool, walk, or bike instead of driving alone. In our first year alone, we saved 12,128 pounds of CO2.
Transportation is a big part of student life. My high school, Lakeside High School in Seattle, Washington, has taken some steps to help move forward this cause by making carpool spots available to those who drive carpools. I myself have made it a goal to carpool or take the bus as much as I can. For example, I take the bus to and from school almost every day. Whenever I see my friends on the weekend, I try my best to carpool so that there are fewer cars on the road. Thus, through my actions, I hope to inspire others in lowering greenhouse gas emissions due to transportation.
My project hopes to better enforce the usage of these carpool spots and to utilize these carpool spots to inspire environmentally beneficial change. The first step to better enforce these parking spots is to hand out a limited number (8) of carpool passes to people who are committed to driving daily carpools with others beyond their immediate family.
These carpool passes look like:
This way the limited carpool spots will be able to be used to most benefit the health of our planet. If we go through an entire year of successful implementation of carpool passes and the program, then I hope to have an ice cream party for the school. In order to ensure that the carpool program starts promptly next year, I have written specific steps for the next person to pick up. These steps include managing the carpool pass system by organizing the start and end dates of the 8 active passes and periodically checking proper implementation of these passes.
What can you do?
My biggest suggestion to students around the world is to urge their schools to have spots in the parking lot specifically for carpools. This will encourage students to start driving carpools. This will not only help the environment because there are fewer cars on the road, but also make it easier to park in often busy parking lots. This powerful quote taken from the citation below shows just how important carpooling is:
“When all interested travellers, independent of knowing appropriate rideshare or not, choose carpooling then vehicle trips per day would decrease about 780000 vehicle trips per day and reduce annual fuel consumption by 336.53 million litres” (Seyedabrishami, Mamdoohi, Barzegar & Hasanpour, 2012).
To help save the health of our planet, carpool spots at the school parking lot is a great first step. Don’t forget to take the survey!
“Climate Change: Basic Information.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 17 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 Apr. 2017. <https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/climate-change-basic-information>.
Seyedabrishami, Seyedehsan, Amirreza Mamdoohi, Ali Barzegar, and Sajjad Hasanpour. Impact of Carpooling on Fuel Saving in Urban Transportation: Case Study of Tehran. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier, 4 Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2017. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042812042139>.
“Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 14 Apr. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017. <https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions>.