The Advantages of Carpooling and Cycling to Combat Climate Change

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On the 28th day of January of 2019, president Donald Trump uploaded a Twitter post with frustration, “In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you!”. Such a suggestion showed a whole new level of idiocy of him, making the citizens aroused. How can he be so inadvertent when he is supposed to be a leader of one of the most developed, influential country by just denying all the overwhelming scientific evidence for climate change? Even 9th graders know that a day-to-day weather report and the whole climate are not equivalent. According to National Geographic, the global average surface temperature has increased by more than 0.9 degrees Celsius over the past century bringing a list of horrifying results to the table of human life (“Global Warming Effects”, 2019). Trump just doesn’t understand or is simply ignoring these facts and misleading people to view climate change as not a big deal as they are doing when they use massive amounts of natural resources for their economic benefits. As one of the contributors to the world population, I suggest we make a change in our current status if the president is not willing to do so. Specifically, frequent carpooling and biking will be a conducive method for preventing climate change even though they are uncomfortable and less flexible.

To begin with, the use of carpooling and biking means the decline of all the chemicals that personal transportation creates. Traffic congestion is one of the major problems in metropolitan cities these days, being the main reason to cause air pollution due to vehicle exhausts. Even cities with an excellent network of roads and traffic rules can’t escape from this problem of chaotic traffic due to the drastic increase in the number of vehicles, already reaching far beyond the adequate capacity. It is severe when thinking about the fact that cars release approximately 333 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, which is 20 percent of the world’s total emission (Stutsman, n.d.). In such situations, people shouldn’t just give up on their fate, but need to seek alternatives such as carpooling and biking. To make the city free of polluted air, one must need to share their ride or bike letting the environment take superior to him or her’s comfort.

Furthermore, carpooling and biking can reduce potential health risks, especially for children. Inhaling vehicular pollutants will affect our respiratory systems, digestive systems, and mental stress when exposed for long hours. The easiest target for these risks are children more than adults since their physical functions are not fully developed and are not strong enough to fight off infections. Also unlike most of the adults who spend their days in an office inside, children are frequently exposed to the outside in the purpose of entertaining outdoor activities leading to more inhaling chemicals. Researchers found that teenagers who were raised in communities with higher levels of air pollution were far more likely to have decreased lung development that cannot be remedied throughout their lifetime (Wynd, 2018). The solution suggested from schools of different regions where a significant amount of children are located was a developed “School Pool” program in which a voluntary group of parents share the responsibility of getting children to and from school by methods like walking, biking, carpooling or taking the bus helping communities address child safety and reduce traffic congestion.

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Despite these great advantages of carpooling and biking, some risks come along too. The method of transportation itself is not convenient and secure than a personal vehicle. Carpooling particularly is not a method that everyone is accepting since the responsibility of the passenger while carpooling is mostly relied on the driver. One has to ensure the passenger arrives at the certain destination and at the same time drive with more caution in case of an accident. In terms of dealing with accidents, it is far more complicated than it has to be. Laws are continually changing to reflect the issues that keep arising so one should look into the laws in one’s city or state to determine whether he or she will be covered in the event of a ridesharing accident (White, 2017). To tell the truth, I wouldn’t be a carpool driver for another person unless I’m obligated for these reasons.

To focus more on cycling, the conditions for it are poor on concrete roads designated for cars. The width on the road provided for bicycles itself is quite narrow compared to the extensive width for cars. This leads to cyclists to be more vulnerable on the roads, having nowhere to avoid risks such as someone running a red light or not paying attention to the road because they are distracted by a cell phone. Also, the minor obstacles such as tiny branches or rocks in the roads may not be a big deal to cars, but fatal to cyclists. According to Bay Area Bicycle Law, 3,958 Cyclists have died across the U.S. averaging 792 people per year (“A Reality Check for Cyclists”, 2019). Why would people dare to risk their safety by biking and 4 abandoning their comfortable, secure personal vehicles?

These drawbacks, however, are based on prioritizing human nature as we always did in the past. Why can’t we be grateful for what nature provides for us and submit a bit of risk for return? I am definitely on the side encouraging biking and carpooling than seeing the roads packed every day hoping that humanity seeks for these alternatives instead of all those manufacturing and polluting undertaken in place. We are the ones eventually taking all the consequences of climate change so why not we make the change before that chaos?  

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