For all of our Global Green projects to help communities, people, and the planet in crisis, we seek to reduce greenhouse gases and stem climate change. On the road, that means reducing emissions by promoting the use of public transportation, car sharing and carpooling, and driving vehicles that do not rely on fossil fuels.
In this last year, one of our initiatives has been to help green the streets of Santa Monica, California, where we have our headquarters. For this pursuit, our focus has been on a vehicle that was invented long before the automobile. This type of vehicle reduces pollution, emissions, traffic, and parking congestion – and also helps drivers stay fit. I’m talking about the two-wheeled, human-powered bicycle.
Our policy and legislative team worked with the City of Santa Monica on its Bike Action Plan and bike sharing, bringing together businesses and community groups to discuss the possibilities and advocate for its adoption. We looked to cities such as Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, and Portland that have already seen the benefits of bike sharing programs. In addition to the positive environmental impact, bike sharing programs can improve the local economy, as bicycling cuts down on gasoline and other car-related costs and makes popular businesses more accessible.
Our efforts are paying off, as the Santa Monica City Council overwhelmingly voted to pass the Bike Action Plan with an added emphasis on bringing a bike share system to Santa Monica. We also helped the City of Los Angeles secure a Metro grant that will help fund bike sharing in Los Angeles.
We hope this will serve as a catalyst for communities across the Los Angeles basin and beyond to develop their own bike share programs and help us all depend less on greenhouse gas-emitting vehicles. After all, more bikes on the road will mean reduced greenhouse gases – and more room for the eco vehicles we still drive.
Matt Petersen is President and CEO of Global Green USA, the American arm of Green Cross International