This Saturday car owners around the globe are being asked to leave their vehicles at home. 'World Carfree Day' was begun in 2000 by the World Carfree Network and is now an annual event. Organisers hope the day will act as a showcase for how our cities might function and feel without cars. They want people to get out and stay out of their vehicles.
The organization aims to raise awareness amongst citizens of the pressing need to lower carbon emissions, but it also has more permanent aims. It is calling upon governments and cities alike to make permanent changes that would encourage and facilitate drivers to either walk, cycle or use public transport. These measures include not only infrastructural and policy changes from the top, but also events such as carfree street festivals and street closures on a more local level.
Rhandall Ghent, the initiative's founder said:
‘World Carfree Day is the perfect time to take the heat off the planet and put it on politicians and planners to give priority to cycling, walking and public transport.’
Experts from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change research, in conjunction with the World Carfree Network, have released figures showing that a third of the reduction in carbon emissions from transport needed by 2050 could come from driving citizens replacing their cars with other more eco friendly forms of transport.
The Carfree Network has produced a 12-step Autoholics Anonymous programme to support and guide drivers who are trying to give up their cars. Click here to find out more.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist September 2007