Energy

Transportation

A key feature of globalization is that goods travel ever further between production and consumption. Travel distances have also increased for people, as well: as jobs become more highly concentrated in big cities, people must commute longer distances between their jobs and the places they can afford to live. Among the consequences are increasing fossil fuel use for transport and rising greenhouse gas emissions. While the most systemic way to tackle this problem is through policy change at the national and international level (see Resist Corporate Globalization), there are things we can do on the local level as well.

Transportation Actions
Start a "Going Carbon Neutral" campaign for your town.
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Start a "Going Carbon Neutral" campaign for your town.

Town-wide "Going Carbon Neutral" campaigns not only push for reduced energy usage and carbon emissions, they also strengthen community. The small town of Ashton Hayes in the UK launched the concept by conducting an audit of the town's energy use, which helped determine which changes would reduce carbon emissions the most. To change their collective behavior, residents launched campaigns and projects – all with a light, festive, guilt-free approach and without government involvement. Since then, many other towns around the world have launched similar campaigns. Learn how to join them here.

Take action

Get inspired

  • A participant in Ashton Hayes found that the campaign not only enabled her family to cut their household energy use in half, it also led them to use green construction methods, start a garden, get to know their neighbors better, and participate more in community life. Read about it in The Guardian article My village is going carbon neutral.
  • Eden Mills Going Carbon Neutral in Canada focuses on retrofitting buildings, planting trees, and celebrating all behavior shifts, large and small.

Start a "Going Carbon Neutral" campaign for your town.

Town-wide "Going Carbon Neutral" campaigns not only push for reduced energy usage and carbon emissions, they also strengthen community. The small town of Ashton Hayes in the UK launched the concept by conducting an audit of the town's energy use, which helped determine which changes would reduce carbon emissions the most. To change their collective behavior, residents launched campaigns and projects – all with a light, festive, guilt-free approach and without government involvement. Since then, many other towns around the world have launched similar campaigns. Learn how to join them here.

Take action

Get inspired

  • A participant in Ashton Hayes found that the campaign not only enabled her family to cut their household energy use in half, it also led them to use green construction methods, start a garden, get to know their neighbors better, and participate more in community life. Read about it in The Guardian article My village is going carbon neutral.
  • Eden Mills Going Carbon Neutral in Canada focuses on retrofitting buildings, planting trees, and celebrating all behavior shifts, large and small.
Use or start a bike share program.
Expand Action
Use or start a bike share program.

Choosing to use a bicycle rather than a car for personal transportation is good. Making that option possible for many others is even better – and that's what bike share programs aim to do. Most involve a system of self-service stations where users can check out a bike using a membership or credit/debit card. After reaching their destination, they can park the bike in a nearby docking station. Another option is "dockless" systems, with bikes whose rear wheels are locked until a rider uses an app to unlock them. Bike share programs are run by local governments, nonprofits, for-profit companies, or by some combination of the three.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The largest bike share program in the world is in the city of Hangzhou, China, which boasts 175,000 bikes and 2,700 docking stations. Paris is in second place, with 30,000 bikes and 1,600 stations.

Use or start a bike share program.

Choosing to use a bicycle rather than a car for personal transportation is good. Making that option possible for many others is even better – and that's what bike share programs aim to do. Most involve a system of self-service stations where users can check out a bike using a membership or credit/debit card. After reaching their destination, they can park the bike in a nearby docking station. Another option is "dockless" systems, with bikes whose rear wheels are locked until a rider uses an app to unlock them. Bike share programs are run by local governments, nonprofits, for-profit companies, or by some combination of the three.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The largest bike share program in the world is in the city of Hangzhou, China, which boasts 175,000 bikes and 2,700 docking stations. Paris is in second place, with 30,000 bikes and 1,600 stations.
Ship goods long-distance by sailboat.
Expand Action
Ship goods long-distance by sailboat.

Localization doesn’t mean that all goods can or should be produced locally, but when goods from afar are needed, they should be shipped responsibly. Sailboats, once the only means of shipping, are re-emerging as the most responsible way. 

Take action

  • Become a trainee and sail along with Fair Transport, which trades organic and traditionally-crafted goods, and ships sustainable cargo overseas by wind power alone. Support Fair Transport to maintain and restore classical sailing ships.
  • "Buy less, buy better, buy local, by sail", and even join a sail cargo voyage with New Dawn Traders.

Get inspired

Ship goods long-distance by sailboat.

Localization doesn’t mean that all goods can or should be produced locally, but when goods from afar are needed, they should be shipped responsibly. Sailboats, once the only means of shipping, are re-emerging as the most responsible way. 

Take action

  • Become a trainee and sail along with Fair Transport, which trades organic and traditionally-crafted goods, and ships sustainable cargo overseas by wind power alone. Support Fair Transport to maintain and restore classical sailing ships.
  • "Buy less, buy better, buy local, by sail", and even join a sail cargo voyage with New Dawn Traders.

Get inspired

Join the slow movement.
Expand Action
Join the slow movement.

As authors Paul Tranter and Rodney Tolley point out, "A great paradox of modern times is that the faster we go, the less time we have." On the altar of speed brought about by a modern, high-tech, globalized society, we sacrifice not only our time, but also our personal, collective, social and ecological well-being. Higher speeds demand more energy consumption, produce more pollution, and militate against building human-scale communities. It's time to slow down the pace of life, and there is a budding "slow movement" aiming to do just that. This ranges from slow food to slow money to slow cities and transport. Here we focus on cities and transportation. Quoting Trantner and Tolley again, "More time can be saved by slowing city transport than by speeding it up."

Take action

  • Learn about and join the Citta Slow network, a worldwide organization whose goals include "improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down the overall pace, especially in a city's use of spaces and the flow of life and traffic through them."
  • Read the Cittaslow Manifesto, and urge your local government to adopt and implement this vision in your town or city.
  • To help both decrease the negative impacts of travel and enrich the experience for traveler and host, practice slow when setting off on your next sojourn. Learn more on the What is Slow Travel page of the Slow Movement website.

Get inspired

  • The Sloth Club in Japan promotes slow businesses, tourism, alternative currencies, and more. In his talk Slow is Beautiful, founder Keibo Oiwa describes how living at a slow pace is an essential part of place-based cultures, and necessary for well-being and happiness in the modern age, too.
  • Citizens of the California city of Berkeley, US, wanted slower streets, and the city's Healthy Streets initiative is providing them. Two miles of streets have been barricaded on one side to reduce traffic and increase access for pedestrians and bicycles. Cars can still use a portion of the street, but can only travel at speeds of 15 miles per hour or less.

Join the slow movement.

As authors Paul Tranter and Rodney Tolley point out, "A great paradox of modern times is that the faster we go, the less time we have." On the altar of speed brought about by a modern, high-tech, globalized society, we sacrifice not only our time, but also our personal, collective, social and ecological well-being. Higher speeds demand more energy consumption, produce more pollution, and militate against building human-scale communities. It's time to slow down the pace of life, and there is a budding "slow movement" aiming to do just that. This ranges from slow food to slow money to slow cities and transport. Here we focus on cities and transportation. Quoting Trantner and Tolley again, "More time can be saved by slowing city transport than by speeding it up."

Take action

  • Learn about and join the Citta Slow network, a worldwide organization whose goals include "improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down the overall pace, especially in a city's use of spaces and the flow of life and traffic through them."
  • Read the Cittaslow Manifesto, and urge your local government to adopt and implement this vision in your town or city.
  • To help both decrease the negative impacts of travel and enrich the experience for traveler and host, practice slow when setting off on your next sojourn. Learn more on the What is Slow Travel page of the Slow Movement website.

Get inspired

  • The Sloth Club in Japan promotes slow businesses, tourism, alternative currencies, and more. In his talk Slow is Beautiful, founder Keibo Oiwa describes how living at a slow pace is an essential part of place-based cultures, and necessary for well-being and happiness in the modern age, too.
  • Citizens of the California city of Berkeley, US, wanted slower streets, and the city's Healthy Streets initiative is providing them. Two miles of streets have been barricaded on one side to reduce traffic and increase access for pedestrians and bicycles. Cars can still use a portion of the street, but can only travel at speeds of 15 miles per hour or less.
Use cargo bikes and bike couriers.
Expand Action
Use cargo bikes and bike couriers.

While reducing the transportation of goods around the world is one of the main priorities of economic localization, there will always be a need to transport goods locally. Cargo bikes and bike couriers are a low-energy way to fill this need.

Take Action

Get inspired

  • Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics highlights organizations using cargo bicycles and tricycles in innovative ways around the world, from India to the Netherlands to Colombia.
  • Cargonomia is an urban food distribution hub which uses locally-manufactured cargo bikes to deliver locally-grown food across the entire city of Budapest, Hungary. Check out Local Futures' entry for Cargonomia on the Planet Local library.
  • NYC Cargo Bike Collective in the US is a workers' cooperative working towards "the realization of the carbon neutral future of logistics and delivery in New York City and beyond."
  • 8 Cargo Bike-sharing Programs in Europe, by Kelly McCartney, links to a variety of cargo bike share models operated by for-profit companies, nonprofits, and governments.

Use cargo bikes and bike couriers.

While reducing the transportation of goods around the world is one of the main priorities of economic localization, there will always be a need to transport goods locally. Cargo bikes and bike couriers are a low-energy way to fill this need.

Take Action

Get inspired

  • Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics highlights organizations using cargo bicycles and tricycles in innovative ways around the world, from India to the Netherlands to Colombia.
  • Cargonomia is an urban food distribution hub which uses locally-manufactured cargo bikes to deliver locally-grown food across the entire city of Budapest, Hungary. Check out Local Futures' entry for Cargonomia on the Planet Local library.
  • NYC Cargo Bike Collective in the US is a workers' cooperative working towards "the realization of the carbon neutral future of logistics and delivery in New York City and beyond."
  • 8 Cargo Bike-sharing Programs in Europe, by Kelly McCartney, links to a variety of cargo bike share models operated by for-profit companies, nonprofits, and governments.
Promote car-free towns and cities.
Expand Action
Promote car-free towns and cities.

Car-oriented development – roads, shopping malls, big box stores, suburbia, etc. – is environmentally, economically and socially destructive and inimical to strong, vibrant, human-scale local communities. Get involved in the movement to re-orient planning around people, not cars.

Take action

  • Check out this toolkit by the Carfree Cities Alliance that includes "information, advice, ideas bank, how-to's and more, designed to guide practitioners in running car-free related campaigns, projects, events and programs," on strategies ranging from traffic-calmed streets, to pleasant neighborhoods, all the way to car-free cities.
  • Learn how to make a street car-free with this guide from Shareable.
  • For local government officials and citizens alike, use this compact guide from C40 Knowledge Hub on how to achieve a walking and cycling transformation in your city, highlighting the most impactful and effective policy changes and success stories from around the world.
  • Read Making Cities More Livable: Ideas and Action, by Debra Efroymson and Ruhan Shama, on how to transition to well-designed cities that are made for people rather than for profit and machines.
  • In the US, advocate for policies at all levels of government to promote walking-friendly communities with these actions from America Walks, and join their Walking College, a "leadership program open to anyone in North America looking to hone their skills and knowledge around creating vibrant, safe, accessible communities for all people."

Get inspired

Promote car-free towns and cities.

Car-oriented development – roads, shopping malls, big box stores, suburbia, etc. – is environmentally, economically and socially destructive and inimical to strong, vibrant, human-scale local communities. Get involved in the movement to re-orient planning around people, not cars.

Take action

  • Check out this toolkit by the Carfree Cities Alliance that includes "information, advice, ideas bank, how-to's and more, designed to guide practitioners in running car-free related campaigns, projects, events and programs," on strategies ranging from traffic-calmed streets, to pleasant neighborhoods, all the way to car-free cities.
  • Learn how to make a street car-free with this guide from Shareable.
  • For local government officials and citizens alike, use this compact guide from C40 Knowledge Hub on how to achieve a walking and cycling transformation in your city, highlighting the most impactful and effective policy changes and success stories from around the world.
  • Read Making Cities More Livable: Ideas and Action, by Debra Efroymson and Ruhan Shama, on how to transition to well-designed cities that are made for people rather than for profit and machines.
  • In the US, advocate for policies at all levels of government to promote walking-friendly communities with these actions from America Walks, and join their Walking College, a "leadership program open to anyone in North America looking to hone their skills and knowledge around creating vibrant, safe, accessible communities for all people."

Get inspired

Voices from the field

Policy

  • Planning Less Car Use, a policy guide by Friends of the Earth UK, shows why urban sprawl needs to be stopped, and outlines the policies needed to achieve a diverse mix of new developments in existing urban areas with high quality public transport, cycling and walking.
  • How to achieve a walking and cycling transformation in your city details some of the policies, programs and public messaging that can promote cycling and walking.

Resources