It’s Earth Day! That special day when we recognize the true awesomeness of our little blue and green ball blasting through space. Billions of light years from the edges of our universe, the Earth keeps us comfy with all of that atmosphere, gravity, and warmth; it’s only fitting that we take a day to reciprocate the love.
If you’re really feelin’ it, lay down and give the world a big ol’ hug. If you’re in a slightly less affectionate mood, you can still show you care by jumping on your bike! Did you know that every mile you bike instead of drive you save a pound of CO2 from being coughed up into the clouds? If your non-bike ride is an SUV, you’ll be saving almost a pound and a half of CO2 per mile! Short trips are especially impactful as engines kick out more pollution during their “warm up” phase, and those same short trips are the easiest to make by bike.
More of a land person? As of 2010 there were 800 million parking spaces in the US alone; 160 billion square feet of nature cleared, leveled, and asphalted. That’s more than 3 and a half times the entire state of Rhode Island and, if you’re paying LA-prices, $600 billion worth of living space! Meanwhile, you can park 10 bikes in a typical parking spot, so if more people made local trips on two wheels, we could start turning those asphalt deserts into useful houses, shops, and offices or, even better, stop the sprawl and give them back to nature.
In fact, riding a bike is so good for the environment that I could only find one study that suggests a detrimental impact. Karl Ulrich at the Wharton School did the math and determined that because people that ride bikes are healthier and live longer, they’ll end up consuming more energy than their counterparts who die young. The good news is, the earthy benefits to a lifetime of riding more than outweigh the extra years of consumption, so it’s still a net positive for the environment and the extra years of your life are just a bonus! (As if the joy of riding a bike wasn’t bonus enough).
So do your part today. Gear up, get outside, and let the world know you care! Hug a tree, punch an alien, ride your bike – it’s Earth Day!