An aerial view of a black tarmac road in the middle of some dense, green trees; photo via Deva Darshan/Pexels.
Climate Action

Innovative Travel and Transportation Climate Action

Travel and transportation play a significant role in fueling unsustainable levels of climate change. With road vehicles, rail, shipping and aviation accounting for approximately a quarter of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions; it’s clear that urgent environmental innovation is needed within these industries — as well as changes to our own behaviours and choices.

Bringing awareness to this and the many other issues our planet currently faces is why I joined the Climate Change Collective; a group of environmentally-minded bloggers who want to share climate action news that motivates and informs — keeping the subject at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Created by Michelle from Eco Boomer Crusader and Jamie of Jamie Ad Stories; each month a different member of the collective takes turns to write a lead/focus post that shares key details, concerns and/or unique perspectives about climate change. Once the post is published, the rest of the group will link to it in a response-style blog on their own sites; discussing any thoughts and ideas about the information/issues raised.

The collective is currently open to any other bloggers who want to join; if you’re interested, get in touch.

The third installment and lead/focus post for the collective this month comes via Jamie Ad Stories; where he examines how individual travel and transportation choices are driving climate change.

A title graphic for a post available on Transatlantic Notes called, ‘Innovative Travel and Transportation Climate Action.’

I live in a country (USA) where personal road vehicles are an inescapable and essential part of routine life; particularly if you live in an area with little/irregular public transportation and/or longer distances to traverse everyday life — a reality for millions and millions of people here. Additionally, it’s a country where many states experience excessive heat during the summer and hazardous cold in the winter (typical seasons); where walking, for example, can sometimes be restricted, extremely difficult or even perilous at certain times. Cars get us from A to B with convenience, ease and (hopefully) safety; they’re quite literally indispensable.

Add to this the truly vast numbers of inbound and outbound supply-chain transportation vehicles that deliver vital goods and produce across this enormous country of over 330 million people; it’s easy to comprehend how and why the U.S. became the second highest producer of CO2 emissions in the world — with the largest chunk of American pollution (27%) coming from transportation.

Useful Article | Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the USA – E.P.A

With climate change triggering increasingly extreme weather; such as more frequent/severe and prolonged heatwaves, drought, flooding and winter storms; those ‘typical’ cycles of intense hot/cold seasons mentioned above are becoming unusually harsh. And perhaps even more concerning is the fact that escalating weather severity will progressively disrupt and damage animal and crop farmland and vital infrastructure needed for supply distribution.

As individuals we can make personal choices that reduce or improve our carbon dioxide emissions, but we need government and industry leaders to prioritize ecological innovation that boldly reinvents travel and transportation — including weeding out and ending the control of Big Money/Oil via special interest groups that deliberately undermine climate action for their own profit and power. 

Despite the seemingly ubiquitous nature of road travel and other forms of transportation here in America (and many other countries); reading Jamie’s insightful post about how he lessens his impact on the Earth’s climate reminded me that we are not incapable of making a difference. One piece of advice that stuck out in particular because it was proven accurate during the Covid-19 lockdowns; many conferences and meetings can be held over Zoom or could be condensed into an online course or email. If something like this involves flying somewhere; consider Jamie’s advice and suggest it be offered as a video call instead because air travel is another major climate polluter.

A black, fixed gear bicycle with a beige seat rests against a white wall inside a wooden floored room in a house.
photo via Pixabay/Pexels

For extra ideas about reducing travel and transportation CO2 emissions, check out the ideas listed below. While not all of these suggestions will be suitable for everyone due to time/money constraints, resource availability or accessibility concerns or issues, etc; you can select what’s applicable and give it a go:

  • walking or cycling to/from work and school (included in Jamie’s post)
  • travelling via train to get to vacation destinations instead of flying (also included in Jamie’s post) — or try getting there via boat/cruise
  • support local groups/officials that want to fund and build more cycle lanes in your area
  • introduce weekly (or more) car pooling grocery trips with family, friends and/or neighbours
  • if safe, regular and reliable; use public transport whenever you can
  • when visiting a particular place that requires extra driving or distance, try and plan/group other activities or chores for the same area so that you don’t have to make repeated trips out in your car (for example, after an appointment, if there are nearby grocery stores take the opportunity to do your food shopping)
  • if you’re intending to drive to several places in your local area/town/city; plan for the most direct and energy efficient route possible
  • work from home when available

If you have to fly …

  • take direct flights only
  • book fights with airlines that use biofuel and operate under an efficient fleet policy (fly with fewer empty seats)
  • fly only when absolutely necessary and make sure you stay at your destination for longer
  • if travelling a very short distance, find an airline that operates electric flights (there are some, you’ve just got to look)
  • ask your government representative to support funding research and development of sustainable aviation fuel
  • campaign for the removal of politicians funded by oil executives from chairing/being a member of or voting in any committees or policy groups that make decisions about climate action

Discovering ways to introduce, support and develop environmentally responsible practices is a valuable way to help our planet. We can do it on a personal level while making sure we maintain our focus on those who are standing in the way of sustainability. While we can find climate solutions in our own lives; it’s the fossil fuel industry giants and governments that subsidize/safeguard them that are the ones who have driven global warming for decades. It’s made them inconceivably enormous amounts of money — roughly $52 trillion in pure profit over the last 50 years — they’re the ones who have to undergo expansive change.

Go easy on yourself if you can’t always manage or maintain more eco-friendly ways of travelling. Keep seeking out better demonstrations of care and consideration for the natural world around you and just implement what you can — not forgetting to share your knowledge and enthusiasm with others along the way. Welcome to the collective!

Are you making any changes to how you travel around? What tips can you share about how to reduce travel-based carbon emissions?

Further Info:

If you want to learn more about how the world or specific countries are doing with regards to fighting climate change, check out this Climate Action Tracker

World Food Prize Goes to Former Farmer Who Answers Climate Change Question: ‘So What?’ – NPR

32 thoughts on “Innovative Travel and Transportation Climate Action”

  1. Thank you for linking to my post and writing an American perspective on this. It is really good to make whatever changes people can. I do think politicians should be making sustainability and pollution reduction a matter of high importance.


    1. I truly believe that we have the know-how or technological savvy to come up with travel/fuel for travel that is sustainable and eco-friendly. It may not come in my lifetime but if needs to be researched and funded now. It will be great to learn about this as it develops!


  2. I read Jamie’s blog and it was such an interesting read. never thought about the CO2 gas emission that has the potential to affect climate change. It will take world leaders across to world to promote major influence on this movement.


    1. Agreed; this is why The Paris Agreement is so important and the targets set through that have to worked towards (which sadly, often aren’t). I hope world leaders do everything they can but so far some have not been on board. Thanks so much for reading!


  3. I also enjoyed reading Jamie’s post and he made a lot of wonderful points. By making small changes, we’re creating better habits for our planet. Zoom meetings, public transportation, car pooling, etc., are all great changes to incorporate! Thank you for this informative post Molly!


  4. I appreciate that you touch on how essential vehicle travel can be. I feel guilty for how necessary I view my car to be, but that’s the reality where I live. If you want to live near good, reliable, and efficient public transportation, the cost of living skyrockets. We live in a frustrating system! Thank you for letting me vent lol.


    1. We certainly live in a very frustrating system that doesn’t make it easy for people to live in a way that is easier/more environmentally friendly. I feel that so many things are set up to not encourage us to take climate action (which in the end only benefits the ones who literally profit off of climate change). Vent as much as you need, haha — goodness it’s a lot sometimes!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was just reading about this collective on Jamie’s blog the other day! I think it’s such a great way to get people involved in doing better for their environment. I don’t travel often at all, but this is certainly something for me to consider as I begin to branch out and see more of the world!


  6. This is such a great read, food for thought for me….I started doing my bit however small they are they count, public transport when possible and not going into work instead working online whenever possible. I hope the policy makers and leaders took it as serious, Thanks so much for sharing!


  7. Thought-provoking post! I have no car and always walk or use the subway around the corner for my commute but I know not everyone has that option. I haven’t been traveling since 2019 and I miss it, but I always make it a priority to compensate my flights!


  8. This was such a great and informative post. I learned a lot about travel and climate change that I didn’t know! Thanks so much for sharing!


  9. Good tips! I don’t travel much or far, but I’m always curious how people minimize the impact if they travel more often/ farther.


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