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Your car and the environment

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So, picture the scene. Here I am, at the start of a glorious March day. By day, I mean the early hours after the sun has barely had chance to cast it’s grand hairline above the horizon.

Two friends and myself headed to the wilderness of the Darwen moors, a brisk country ramble one of them had phrased it.

That ramble turned out to be a 6 hour epic walk across rural Darwen and it was an eye opening experience.  The sheer beauty of the nature I found myself surrounded by was just astounding.

There was but one negative amongst the positive, a reverse on the cliché diamond in the rough if you will. 

The A666.  Interesting set of numbers for an A road.

A lengthy winding road with a national speed limit set for the most part.  The A666 intersects Darwen through the town centre but, winding south of there, it unfortunately cuts through the lush green rolling hills and country landscape.

Not an unfamiliar sight you would correctly think, with beautiful Historic England cut to ribbons by a number of high speed roads.

Here though, my friends and I had emerged from our ramble which had taken us around the serene Entwistle Reservoir and surrounding quarries.

As we stepped out onto the A666, we were hit by the difference in atmosphere – cars motoring along at 50mph, fumes cast out by each vehicle, it was almost a choking experience. 

It was such a strange sensation too, moving from the clean and fresh air that the countryside had to offer, to the thick and heavy atmos of the A666. 

So, skip on a month or so, and I hear a report on the radio about emissions and the ever continuing increase in the world in general.

Perfect time for a blog and some research I thought to myself.

Here’s a couple of startling (or, perhaps, not so startling) facts for you…

  • Transport is Europe’s biggest source of CO2
  • Transport in 2016 was the climate’s biggest emission problem
  • Transport emissions have increased by a quarter since 1990
  • Emissions continue to rise as of 2017 based on investigations in 2018
  • To meet 2050 Paris Climate Commitments, sales of cars with internal combustion engines must cease entirely by 2035, a paltry 16 years away
  • To date, measures to tackle emissions have largely been a failure

So, what exactly can we do to make a difference, here’s a list of the simple things we should be aiming to do in day to day life:

  1. Making your home and household energy efficient
  2. Buy energy efficient appliances and devices
  3. Walk, cycle or take public transport where possible
  4. Recycle, re-use and avoid useless purchases
  5. Telecommute and teleconference when you can, internet permitting (!)
  6. Buy local produce

Manchester has been on it for some time, with Mayor Andy Burnham commenting on the drive to make Manchester greener in an interview last year:

From local schoolchildren to big industry, we need pledges large and small to help make Greater Manchester one of the greenest city-regions in Europe. Planting trees, reducing use of plastics, moving to a renewable energy supplier using our Greater Manchester Big Clean Switch website – everyone can do something. And it really will be take a group effort from us all, because only by working together will we be able to achieve that ambition.

“Our Green Summit will set the path we take to reduce our carbon emissions, drive down our use of plastics, and improve our beautiful green spaces. The City of Trees project is fantastic initiative that’s really captured people’s imagination and perfectly sets the tone for what we want to achieve here in Greater Manchester – a modern, green city-region.

So, let’s take a little time and think about this, the next time you perhaps you go to get in your car to nip to the supermarket five minutes down the road – get your trainers on and head there on foot instead.