Imagine just one day with no cars on the streets. 24 hours with no traffic, no honking horns, road after road completely free to bicyclists and pedestrians. On September 22nd, people around the world will gather for World Car Free Day to show just what that could look like.
The World Car Free Day aims to promote improvement of mass transit, cycling and walking. It’s all about creating viable options for getting around in our cities. The creative idea was announced by Eric Britton in 1994 at a conference in Toledo, Spain. This very special day sets out a challenge for a city, neighborhood or group:
To spend one carefully prepared day without cars.
To study and observe closely what exactly goes on during that day.
Then, to reflect publicly and collectively on the lessons of this experience and on what might be prudently and creatively done next to build on these.
Since then, cities around the world have embraced the concept. This year alone, local events are planned in Bangladesh, Washington DC and Brussels, to name a few. In many cities, like Sao Paulo, Los Angeles and Mexico City, car-free days are not limited to September 22nd, but instead held regularly on Sundays. These events began over 30 years ago in Bogota as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets.
It doesn’t take an official event to participate. Whether as a large group or an individual, anyone can make the decision to leave their cars at home for a day. By giving up just one 15km roundtrip commute by car, 3500 grams of CO2 are saved per passenger. Multiply that by 1000, 10,000, 100,000 - the effects are huge.
Now, the countdown begins. 20 days until World Car Free Day. Will you take part?
And for youth looking for opportunities to help promote World Car Free Day and an environmentally friendly lifestyle, learn more here about Global Young Greens, a youth-led organization, working to support and unite the efforts of young people from a green-alternative spectrum around the world.