You don’t have to read the recent IPCC Climate Report from cover to cover to know it made for some scary reading. It stated that unprecedented changes in the climate are ‘widespread, rapid and intensifying’ across every region of the Earth - and that human activity is indisputably to blame. It is now widely accepted that without significant global action, climate change will worsen to a point where its catastrophic impacts will become a common part of our daily lives. It’s a bleak picture, but a dystopian future is not inevitable.
There is hope!
The good news is because it is the actions of humans that are causing this devastation, it is still within our power to change course. The destruction can be stopped by governments, big business and ordinary people working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
So what can we do?
Of course, many people will be feeling helpless in the face of such a huge task. And while it’s true that a focus on individual action is sometimes used to divert attention from the industrial-scale polluting of big business - that doesn’t mean our personal actions have no impact at all.
For example, switching to a bicycle for just a few short journeys a week significantly reduces local air pollution, making our communities quieter, cleaner and healthier places to live.
Our friends at Sustrans, the national charity promoting sustainable transport choices, estimate that by encouraging more people to cycle to school, we can reduce the number of car journeys by over 5 million per year. This would save thousands of tonnes of climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions – a huge positive for the environment.
Reaching the cycling tipping point
The more people choose to cycle; the more local decision-makers are encouraged to improve facilities for cyclists, such as traffic-free cycle routes, secure cycle parking and green spaces. This in turn makes it easier for people to discover the joys of cycling - and so the environmental benefits multiply!
Of course, the benefits for the environment are fantastic, but the benefits to you – your physical and mental health – are also incredible! Staying active improves your mood, reduces stress and helps with anxiety. It can also be a great way to meet people locally and discover more about your local area. And vital for many after the pandemic: Cycling more will save you money!
At Life Cycle UK our mission is to help people to overcome the barriers to cycling. Whether that’s getting your hands on an affordable bike, confidence-boosting cycle lessons or learning to maintain your own bike - we are here at every stage of your cycling journey. And because we believe that no one should be excluded from cycling by their age, ability, sexuality, gender, ethnicity or income, our projects are set up to be inclusive to everyone.
We understand that getting into cycling is a personal journey, so we work hard to provide services tailored to each individual. But the beauty of cycling goes far beyond the personal: Choosing to cycle more often is a wonderful way to care for your community and our planet.