Tag Archive | "environment"

Would You Go Car Free For A Day?

Facts and statistics that pour out of institutes and research facilities bombard us on an almost daily basis. The general theme seems to be that if you enjoy something then it must be bad for you. If you think about it, this is actually probably true.

For example, if you live in an area that is affected by a lot of traffic noise (and this applies to most people who prefer a busy, urban environment in which to live) then you are more likely to suffer a heart attack. Presumably, if you live in peaceful countryside surroundings you simply die of boredom.

Did you know that miniscule soot particles emitted from diesel engines can go into your brain via your nose? And were you aware that noise pollution from motor cars that exceeds 55 decibels is harmful to you? Thought so, but those canny Swedes have got it sorted because in Sweden it is actually illegal to put out more than that number outside a building. How do they know? Also, have you ever been to Sweden? We’ve all seen Wallander.

In short, cars are bad for you and should be given up immediately. This is the purpose of World Car Free Day on September 22nd. This is an annual environmental scheme to encourage the residents of one thousand towns across the globe to go without their beloved motors for a day and travel instead by bike, trains and buses. Mules are also permitted presumably or, in certain areas, yaks.

This is all very laudable and so on but, in the UK at least, for many people public transport is not all that the vested interests would have it seen to be. This, and the fact that local councils can’t afford to fund events coupled with the unsurprising news that the public at large is getting a bit fed up with being preached at about the environment means that this scheme’s ambitious plans have gone from bad to worse.

Over the last ten years, approximately 50 towns in Britain have put on some sort of show to highlight the issue. For 2012, this has dropped to a rather pointless ten. It appears that out of 400 councils approached, only two replied. The problem is that our economic woes have distracted us from green initiatives, at least according to the organisers. Perhaps they should understand that, although the public generally supports a cleaner environment, we are fed up with having the issue perpetually forced upon us.

As it turns out we are using our cars less anyway – a direct result of our economic problems and rip-off prices. Add to this the fact that cars have never been cleaner or greener and it’s hard to see anyone getting too worked up about being car free. Anyway, have you ever tried cleaning up after a yak?

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Seen To Be Green

There will always be those swivel-eyed single interest lunatics who think the world would be a better place without the car. Equally, there are those who care not a jot for the planet and who consider pollution to be a human right. Somewhere in the middle of all this is the rest of us. By rushing out and investing in a green car you will be making very little difference to the overall picture and in any event many people simply cannot afford to do that. Cars are generally cleaner and there are many other things that cause as much, if not more, harmful emissions than your production motor; but there are some easy steps you can take to make the planet a better place to live in, or indeed, on.

Keep your car properly tuned and serviced. There have been reports lately that drivers are putting off service because of the cost. Understandable perhaps, but wrong. A badly tuned car will pollute more and use more fuel. You could also be storing up problems for later when a simple job turns into an expensive nightmare. Whilst you’re under the bonnet consider changing the air filter. Some say that it should be changed at every annual service – they are certainly cheap enough – and make more difference than you think. A dirty filter will cause rough running and loss of power.

One of life’s biggest chores is finding a garage with, hopefully, an accurate tyre pressure gauge then waiting in line, finding some 20 pee’s or whatever and getting your hands and clothes dirty. If it’s too much of a pain then any motoring store can sell you a pressure gauge / tyre inflator combo which will work well and mean you can do the job at home, running the device of the 12v socket. Ring Automotive make a good one. Ensuring that your tyres are correctly balanced and aligned with the correct pressure could improve your fuel economy by 3%. Properly inflated tyres are safer and last longer too – another saving.

Finally, here’s a less obvious idea. How about upgrading your engine oil to a high performance synthetic? This will help improve the overall performance of your engine and maybe allow for longer periods between changes. That means less waste oil and whether or not you do your own service or leave it to your dealer make sure that all the waste products are recycled wherever possible.

Next time you are out in the car check out the amount of litter at the roadside. The government are supposed to be clamping down on littering from cars but I’ve seen little evidence of this. Even a fag-end is pollution.

You can still enjoy your driving and take pleasure from your car but by going the extra mile you can feel good about it too!

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