Drive less, plant more - Brake backs Earth Day with call to make sustainable travel choices

News from Brake

21 April 2016
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity is calling on people to support world Earth Day on 22 April 2016 by making sustainable travel choices.

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is “plant a tree” to help combat climate change, as trees absorb excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere. But it takes an acre of mature trees to absorb the CO2 produced by just one average car in a single year being driven around 26,000 miles. That’s why Brake is encouraging people to plant trees and also to consider if their journeys can be walked or cycled or taken on public transport instead to help protect our environment.

Road safety is more than driving safely and legally, it’s about making our streets safe and pleasant for everyone to use freely, and doing everything we can to protect ourselves, our environment, and people around us. A big part of that is driving less, as little as possible, or not at all if you can. It’s common for people to habitually walk the few metres from their front door to their car and drive, even if they’re only going round the corner. A quarter of car journeys (23%) are less than two miles[1] . People who walk or cycle often have to face busy, noisy streets, full of pollution and fast traffic.

Brake has produced an interactive map so people can see just how much of a problem CO2 is where they live and how many deaths are being caused in their area by air pollution: http://www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk/drivelessmap/

Earth Day is now in its 46th year and aims to plant 7.8 billion trees before its 50th anniversary.

Alice Bailey communications and campaigns adviser for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “From our work with bereaved relatives we see the devastation caused by car crashes, but there is more than one way a vehicle can kill you. Emissions from cars are now a serious concern with many major cities already breaching their yearly air quality limits in a matter of weeks or months. The World Health Organisation is describing air quality as a public health emergency. We want everyone to get behind Earth Day and plant a tree AND also think about how they travel and whether journeys can be made by foot, bike or on public transport to help keep our planet greener, cleaner and healthier.”

About Earth Day

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other ground breaking environmental laws soon followed. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. It is now run by Earth Day Network.

[1] National Travel Survey 2014, Department for Transport, 2015

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.