Some of you may know that World Car-Free Day is quickly approaching. Some of you may never have heard of this event at all. Until recently, I had never heard of WCFD, which is held every September 22nd, and when I did find out… well, I felt a little left out. I thought, “If I’ve never heard of WCFD (and I consider myself a relatively green-conscious individual) then there are probably lots of others who haven’t either. What can we do about this?” So I’ll start with this blog, follow up with my personal pledge to be car-free, and finish with an event on NC State’s campus this Thursday, September 22, 2011.
Across the world, hundreds of thousands of people have pledged to leave their cars parked for one day and give alternate forms of transportation a shot. Car-Free Day celebrations began in European cities in 1990, but it wasn’t until 2000 that an open call was issued for activists and citizens across the world to organize community events to celebrate the potential of cities without cars. Participants in more than 1,000 cities in 40 countries now acknowledge world Car-Free Day.
Now, you may be thinking, “What difference will being car-free for one day really make?” Well, it can have a bigger impact than you may think. CO2 emissions from U.S. cars and trucks alone are about 1 million tons per day. One million tons per day! That is twice the amount that every active volcano in the world produces in a day. Do you commute and regularly idle in traffic? The gas burned by cars and trucks idling in traffic in the U.S. totals over 8 million gallons per day, which happens to be the equivalent of a 25-acre lake filled with gasoline. If we can see the many benefits of leaving our cars at home for just one day, imagine the potential of committing to ditch your car for a couple days out of every week.
With so many options in the Triangle for getting around sans-private vehicle, why not give it a try for a day? You may find it easier than you think. Check out www.gotriangle.org for information on ways to traverse the Triangle and tips on making your journey easy and stress-free. GoTriangle, in partnership with WolfTrails and NCSU Transportation, is hosting an event in the NCSU Brickyard to help get students into the World Car-Free Day spirit. Students can win prizes, get information on various student groups and pledge to be car-free for the day!