View the original here:
Continue at source:
If you visit a city these days, you are sure to see Lime, Bird, Spin, or Skip electric scooters zipping between traffic and pedestrians or parked in rows near busy restaurants and malls. But these electric scooters might not be as green as you think. Shared electric scooter companies like to boast about their carbon-free credentials but that is not the whole truth.
Love them or hate them, electric scooters seem to be here to stay. Shared or “dockless” — meaning riders don’t have to return them to a charging station after a ride — electric scooters rolled onto U.S. city streets in 2018 and ever since, have been rented millions of times over.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials revealed that 38.5 million trips were taken on shared electric scooters in 2018, overtaking station-based bicycles as the most popular form of shared micro-mobility transportation in the U.S. in just the first year they were widely available.
The eclipse of the docked bicycles was mainly due to the introduction of a staggering 85,000 electric scooters available for public use in U.S. cities compared with 57,000 station-based bikes.
As electric scooters have become more widely available to the public, a micro-mobility revolution has surfaced: U.S. citizens increasingly opt to travel the “last mile” by alternative over traditional transport methods.
The changing landscape of urban transportation can be boiled down to two factors. The first is the ubiquity of electric scooters and smartphones. People can easily locate and rent shared electric scooters by using an app. After a small financial transaction conducted through a smartphone app, the renter can ride a scooter for a set period of time. The ability to pay from a smartphone app using a credit card makes the process of using an electric scooter extremely convenient.
The second factor is the dockless appeal of the shared micro-mobility devices. It is easy to see why electric scooters eclipsed the number of docked, station-based bikes in 2018. If a rider rents a docked bike, they need to return it to a docking station. But the dockless electric scooters can be found, ridden, and left almost anywhere. The convenience of hopping on an electric scooter, riding it from A to B, and leaving it wherever you want contributes significantly to the popularity of these shared micro-mobility devices.
Scooters don’t charge themselves. Throughout the day, the scooter service deploys people driving cars or trucks to collect scooters that have run through their electric charge. Batteries must be plugged in, and the maintenance person who picks them up must haul them to a workspace to recharge tired scooters.
Besides the source of power used, moving scooters from where the last rider left them to a recharging center — which may be someone’s home — produces the same CO2 output as the car or truck used. It’s a two-way trip and scooters must be redistributed where riders are likely to find and use them. We can’t calculate the total emissions, but if you are looking for a green ride, seek scooters from companies that document how much mileage and the types of vehicles used to collect and distribute their two-wheeled transportation.
At face value, electric scooters appear to be carbon-free modes of transportation. But what you can’t see may come as a surprise.
Just like all other modes of transportation, electric scooters need fuel. With traditional modes of transportation such as cars, it is easy to see the pollutants being emitted from their tailpipes. But that is not the case with electric scooters. Although electric scooters may not directly emit emissions through tailpipes, they do contribute greenhouse gases once you factor in the energy used to charge the scooters.
The widespread use of electric scooters and the energy needed to keep the wheels rolling has had a direct effect on the environment. Research from Electric Scooter Insider revealed that, once you factor in the CO² that is released as a result of producing and delivering the electricity needed to charge the scooters, 146.21 grams, or about a third of a pound, of CO² is emitted for every mile ridden.
Bloomberg reported that the scooter riders average 1.5 miles per trip. Combining this with the 38.5 million trips, approximately 57.8 million miles were traveled on electric scooters in 2018. In fact, electric scooters contributed 9,308 tons of CO² in 2018, equivalent to the energy use of an average house for 650 years.
However, it’s not all bad. The amount CO² emissions would have been far greater if those 57.8 million miles were traveled using gas-powered cars. Traveling that distance by car instead of electric scooters, the amount of CO² emitted could have been more than double (22,720 tons).
Electric scooters may not be carbon-free but they still contribute 59 percent less CO² compared to the average car in America (356.91 grams of CO² per mile).
In 2018, fossil fuels made up the majority (63.5 percent) of U.S. electricity generation. This played a significant role in the CO² per mile emission factor for electric scooters.
Charging an electric scooter using clean energy sources would substantially reduce its carbon footprint. The current status of renewable energy sources for the U.S. accounts for only 17.1 percent of all electricity generated. The growing popularity of electric scooters is just one more reason the U.S. needs to expand its investment clean, renewable energy.
The electric scooter, if powered by renewable energy, is a win for the environment. It’s up to you to learn about the power sources a scooter service uses.
How clean electric scooters are is totally dependent on the energy source used to generate the electricity needed to charge them. As such, conscious consumerism will play a significant role in the future of these micro-mobility devices and their impact on the environment.
As environmentally conscious consumers, we should know the source of our energy. If you don’t know how your electricity is generated, ask your electricity service provider. If your electricity comes from a clean, renewable energy source like wind, solar, or hydropower, you can feel good about riding and charging your electric scooter — or electric car.
Josh Frisby is the founder of Electric Scooter Insider, a site that reviews and recommends the best electric scooters. He also conducts extensive research studies into the micro-mobility industry to uncover interesting insights that spark debate and increase the exposure of electric scooters to the general public.
Feature image courtesy of Marek Rucinski from Unsplash
Seattle residents were shocked when they discovered how much two …Gemma AlexanderAugust 10, 2018
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: Transportation
After three flat years, carbon dioxide emissions rose again in 2017, …Sarah LozanovaApril 18, 2018
Bike Benefits: 6 Reasons To Pedal Power Your Commute
What’s the one mode of transport that won’t fail you …Earth911July 22, 2015
Lawns are green in color only, and the odds are good that you’re sick of mowing. You could save time by ignoring lawncare myths, and there are ways to reduce the water and energy you waste on your lawn, but even the most eco-friendly lawn is still a lawn.
Here are some tips for reducing the amount of the lawn in your yard even if you’re not an avid gardener.
There’s a good chance that you have at least a few trees and bushes planted around the edges of your lawn. Add to the existing woody plants in your yard to create deep shrub borders. Plant native species and mulch them all the way to the drip line to reduce the need for water and protect trunks from lawnmower damage. Once established, native shrub borders can survive without supplemental water most years, and need pruning no more than once a year.
Raised beds create a sense of structure in the landscape that looks tidier than shrub borders. They also keep cane berries like raspberry and blackberry from spreading.
Filled with flowers or vegetables, raised beds can be just as much work as lawn. But filled with berries, all they need is sun and water and you’ll be rewarded with fresh fruit. But don’t be surprised if you get inspired to take up beekeeping to keep those harvests going.
Lawn grass is not the only kind of grass, in fact, it is one of the least interesting or useful forms.
Ornamental grasses can be used to create sophisticated planting designs or to recreate native prairie. If you choose native species, you can free yourself from both watering and mowing, so you’ll have plenty of free time to sit back and enjoy the butterflies and other wildlife attracted to your certified wildlife habitat.
But research horticultural varieties before planting — many ornamental grasses are invasive species. If a grass doesn’t belong in your region, don’t plant it.
There are probably areas of your lawn that don’t get very much — if any — foot traffic. For those areas, other ground covers may be more appropriate than grass, especially in shady areas. As with grasses, many ground covers can be invasive. Consider native plants like kinnikinnick or wild ginger — find out what grows in your region.
Few ground covers are as hardy as lawn grass. But clover, herbs like creeping thyme, and even moss can tolerate some foot traffic. The benefit, though, is groundcover that requires relatively little water compared to the traditional lawn.
Although permeable pavers can reduce the amount of grass you have to deal with while still allowing rainwater to drain through the gaps, an entirely paved yard is probably too much. Gravel, on the other hand, can be a lawn substitute without making your yard look built over. Combining large areas of gravel broken up with a few drought-tolerant plants is best suited to dry climates and desert landscapes.
There’s no need to rip out your entire lawn if you don’t want to. But you can save time, energy, and water by reducing the area of your lawn. Try one or more of these strategies to chip away at the edges of your lawn. You might find yourself with a prettier yard and more time to enjoy it.
Lately, it seems like every year is a bad year …Gemma AlexanderSeptember 17, 2018
Go Wild! How to Certify Your Backyard as Wildlife Habitat
Most of us take great pleasure in being good hosts. …Madeleine SomervilleMarch 7, 2017
Ecological Landscaping Works, Plus How To Do It Correctly
Landscaping can take a drab outdoor home environment and turn …Chase EzellSeptember 26, 2016
Have you ever found yourself spending way more on a product because it had an “eco-friendly” label? Greenwashing is a common marketing practice that allows businesses to charge a premium for their product, whether or not they’re actually good for the environment. As a result, there’s a widely held notion that living green is a privilege for the wealthy.
The idea that only the rich can afford to be sustainable couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of the time, what’s truly good for our planet is reducing consumption, which is naturally more economical. When it comes to changes you can make around the house, you’ll find that there are opportunities everywhere to save money and help reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. The average household spends $7,068 on utilities and other household expenses each year. With a few sustainable changes, you can save over $1,000 on your energy bills annually.
Whether you’re building or remodeling your home, or just looking to make some small changes in each room of your house, this animated infographic from Esurance offers 24 tips on how to start living your best green life.
One note: Although we think the running water animation in kitchen and bathroom sections below is really cool, please remember to shut off the tap to reduce water consumption!
Animated graphic courtesy of Esurance
Feature image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay
Do you dread opening your summer electric bills? If you’re …Sarah LozanovaMay 22, 2019
Shine On: 5 Green Lighting Tips
Home lighting has a significant impact on interior design and …Sarah LozanovaJanuary 4, 2019
The Ultimate Guide to Conserving Water at Home
Welcome to Water Wednesdays, our series on everything you need …Brian BrassawMarch 7, 2018
Norway has a strong environmental reputation. Oslo’s aggressive climate change goals, public transportation infrastructure, and circular economy innovations made it the 2019 European Green Capital. What does a greener, happier lifestyle look like?
Norway is ranked 14th out of 180 on the Environmental Performance Index, even after considering Norway’s fossil fuel exports. For comparison, the U.S. ranks 27th. Here in the U.S., there is a prevailing idea that living green means sacrificing comfort, convenience, and choice. But Norway ranks third in the World Happiness Report — well above the U.S.’ 19th place.
On a recent trip to Norway, I was surprised that life in Oslo didn’t seem very different. Norwegian prices might shock many Americans. But they aren’t much higher than we’re used to in coastal U.S. cities like Seattle.
Recycling and garbage containers stood side by side, and cashiers still offered shoppers plastic bags if they didn’t bring their own. Their menus were still full of meat and their shopping malls offered fast fashion. But on closer inspection, a few important differences are apparent.
In larger cities like Oslo and Bergen, public transportation is more convenient than driving. Buses, trains, and trams are frequent and ubiquitous.
Even the best American public transportation systems are designed for downtown commuters. Norwegian transport connects all areas of the city and beyond. You never have to walk far to a bus stop or train station, and rarely have to wait more than 10 minutes, even in the middle of the day. Most residents have monthly passes or pay using a cell phone app. With such frequent service, there is less need to maximize the number seats.
Trains have space for large luggage and buses have room for bicycles, groceries, and pets. On one intercity trip, we even saw people step off the train, strap on their skis, and ski away.
I met one rural Norwegian who wryly reported that his favorite thing to do in America was “looking up at the cars.”
That small, efficient cars fill the narrow streets of Oslo is no surprise. But even in remote fjords and small mountain towns like Lillehammer, site of the 1994 Winter Olympics, the pickup trucks and SUVs favored by Americans are rare. Thanks to numerous government sponsored perks, Tesla is the Norwegian car of choice.
And this is the biggest difference of all: nationally, half of new automobile purchases are electric vehicles — a number so high that petroleum sales dropped 2 percent in just the last year.
“Friluftsliv” translates to “open-air life.” It captures the Norwegian idea that spending time outdoors is required for health and happiness.
The direct environmental impact of this attitude is in decreased vehicle miles. Instead of driving solo, thousands of people walk or bike around town and take public transportation to trailheads and ski hills. But the fact that public transportation serves wilderness areas indicates the deeper significance of friluftsliv. Their respect for the natural world leads Norwegians to vote for representatives who will pass eco-friendly policies and build sustainable infrastructure.
If you want to take a trip to a sustainable nation where you can learn a few good habits, Norway is a must-visit destination.
This article is the first in a six-part series focused …Gemma AlexanderJune 21, 2019
Doctors Prescribe the Great Outdoors
As the wellness movement grows, more and more of us …Lauren MurphyMay 2, 2019
How to Make Less Trash the Simple Way
What the heck does it mean to live a zero …Andrea SandersJune 29, 2016