This knowledge series post highlights a role that might be the most well known one when talking about how we produce CO2e emissions: our role as commuters and travelers. Be it through the ongoing discussions surrounding electric vehicles, or the collective guilt we are beginning to feel when stepping onto a plane, we know that by traveling we produce a large amount of CO2e emissions.
What is sometimes unclear is the exact scope of our travels. Here are some numbers about commuters in Germany:
- Per day, we travel an average of 40km
- This cumulates to 14,600km per year, or more than a third of the equator
- 65% of the German population still uses their own car to get from A to B
In summary: We get around a lot! It comes as no surprise then that being on the move accounts for roughly 20% of your total CO2e emissions.
While the necessity to travel is apparent – not everyone can work at home, groceries need to be bought and it is important for us to get out and explore our city and the world around us – there are many ways on how to lower your CO2e when moving from one place to another.
A huge factor can be switching from car to public transportation. Obviously a car brings many comforts and advantages, but if you honestly ask yourself if sitting in traffic for an hour on your way home from work is really so much better than taking a train that is twice as fast, then the answer will probably be no. The same applies to taking a bike or walking when distances are short. Not only are you usually faster, but you improve your health at the same time and it’s even fun! Also, always ask yourself if your trip is even necessary. This applies especially when you would need to take a plane. If a trip is necessary, always try to find alternatives to a plane, like using the train. Additionally, when planning your next holiday, look around within your country first, you are also visited by tourists after all, so there are many things to see here as well. Being a tourist in your own country can be just as fun as traveling somewhere else! Lastly, if possible, try to replace old, fuel-heavy vehicles with more modern, energy efficient ones.
Following these measures can reduce upwards of one tonne, or at least 10%, of CO2e per person. But remember, don’t sweat if you have to take the car somewhere and still enjoy your vacation even if you are taking the plane from time to time. No one is perfect and making small, gradual but continuous improvements is much more impactful than radically changing your life from one day to the next!
And if you ever feel lost on how to take further steps, make sure to read our “Every Action Matters” knowledge series and most importantly, use the mympact app as your personal companion on your journey to saving the planet!