Green Transport Makes Me Smile

Sorry for yesterday’s big dose of cynicism, and I promise I will up the mood today!

Why is it that every time I see another Hybrid car on the road, I smile and have this overwhelming urge to wave at the other driver? Maybe it is because I think the other Hybrid driver represents an individual who cares about their driving needs and behaves like I do. I associate the mere fact that this other car exists and that someone made a conscious decision to purchase it with a warm fuzzy feeling. This observation fills me with hope.

Sure, some of these cars are purchased by large companies as fleet vehicles to enhance their green credibility, however some may buy them because they actually care. But for an individual acting of their own accord and making the investment in a low emissions vehicle, this speaks volumes to me in the way of sound choice and hope for the future.

I also read that the city of Melbourne will be getting some Hybrid Buses to introduce into the public transport system which is a big step in the right direction. You can read about it here.

Also, I have observed when walking around the city at lunch time, that there are quite a few trams with signs all over them telling the general public that it is powered by 100% wind power. I expect that Yarra Trams, the consortium who operates the tram system on behalf of the state government, purchases certified GreenPower for the year that equates to the average daily electricity usage of that tram. Pretty cool, but I think this may end up sending a false message to the users of the public transport system. This is mainly because the rest of Melbourne’s public transport system runs on electricity generated by coal fired power plants in the Latrobe Valley. This needs to green up substantially. I bet if I questioned fellow passengers as to whether they thought the transport was non-polluting and good for the environment, I would get so many different answers but the majority would probably most would say yes. This is because they don’t actually see the emissions from the tram or train, because the emissions spewed out over 200km from the city. So until we clean up our act, we are stuck in this situation of a false reality.

Thankfully, the two cleanest ways of getting around that delight me are walking and cycling. I love to have an 45 minute walk at lunch time, mainly because it is probably the most exercise I get each day except when gardening on weekends. One certainly does not perform very many strenuous tasks as a knowledge worker in an office. I love to stroll through the city’s many gardens and observe the people around me. I smile often at people who are just enjoying their lunch time break with the simple joy of taking a walk to help prepare for the second half of their day.

I also smile every time a cyclist rides past me as I walk the 15 minutes to and from the car park each day. I have observed so many more people riding to work over the last few months, that it is genuinely encouraging to see this increasing trend. However, one thing I can’t figure out is why most cyclists consider it necessary to wear a dedicated set of very expensive cycling clothing to get from A to B. I remember when I was in my mid 20’s and visited the Netherlands, everyone there rode bikes and wore just their normal street cloths. Expensive cycling gear was only to be seen worn by athletes and Tour d’France riders. I know when I go for a ride some weekends, that I just wear decent footwear, normal clothes and a helmet. Nothing fancy, and until more people ride in normal clothing instead of driving the car for short trips, the elite, fancy dressed cyclists will rule the road. Just food for thought, that’s all.

How do you get around? Do you think it will make me smile?


  1. says

    I’m slowly starting to realise what a wonderfully environmentally friendly car I’ve just bought. A Citroen 1.6 litre Turbo Diesel C4. Some of its stats on fuel are great (4.5 l/100km overall, just slightly better than the Honda Hybrid’s 4.6) and 120g of CO2 per km (not as good as the Honda’s 109, but way in front of petrol-engined cars of a similar size such as a Mazda 3 etc, all of which are in the 170s).

    But what I didn’t know is that the Citroen engine emits virtually no diesel particulates at all. It’s rated at 0.004g/km for particulates, at the very southern end of measurability apparently, which not only is the cleanest diesel by far, but it’s also cleaner than any other internal combustion engine in a car, petrol or diesel. They’ve had a particulate filter system in place for the last 10 years, and after 3 million cars sold with it, the consensus is that it works.

    Some of my friends had said “yeah, but what about the diesel particulates?” and now I can say “what particulates?”

    I think the next gen of turbo diesels are going to give the hybrids a hard time. Nothing like healthy competition!

  2. says

    When I’m driving my car you have deep furrows in your brow and fists pumping in frustration. The furrows loosen a bit when you realise that I park once and walk around to do multiple tasks. You get a little smile when you learn that I have dedicated car free days and you are beaming and flashing your pearly whites with glee when you see me pushing the pram up the hill, face red, breath in snatched puffs and bum stuck out at odd angles in my effort to get to the top. You wave cheerily when I return with the other 2 kids in tow who are skipping joyfully and learning that walking is better than a quick trip in the car.

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