News on global climate change can be pretty alarming. The World Health Organization, for instance, reports that air pollution is (already) responsible for one in eight deaths worldwide. But the good news you may not have heard is that some of the people most affected are also the most dedicated to fixing the problem, and they’re doing some amazing things.
Climate change and air pollution are generational issues, and young people in cities around the world are taking the initiative by imagining — even creating — a greener, healthier future for us all.
We looked at five cities in vastly different regions and found five cool new approaches to tackling climate change. These initiatives are literally reinventing the wheel — with a lot of new tech. Check them out, and let us know what you can do for the environment in your hometown.
‘Hoverboards’ and scooters
New electric “hoverboards” and lightweight scooters are exploding in popularity. Commuters use these zero-emission gadgets, which are much cheaper than cars, from point to point, and collapse them at their destination.
Startup FlyKly has produced a scooter with an electric wheel, allowing riders to kick once and coast — for about 32 kilometers. “People are very ready for a new kind of mobility,” said Carlton Calvin, president of scooter company Razor USA in an interview with the Washington Post.
Apps to beat the traffic
Entrepreneurs are finding new ways to reduce pollution and gridlock, which studies suggest can cost high-tech cities like Bangalore up to 5 percent of their economic output. That’s a lot of cash, and it’s good for the environment.
In India, new apps such as Cityflo in Mumbai aggregate bus routes to help clear the air and get people moving.
Bikes as tech? With mobile apps, they’re getting a major upgrade. Users of bike-share programs can find more than a million bikes in cities worldwide with their mobile phones. It’s an economical way to skip a car trip, see the city, and stay fit.
Mexico City’s Ecobici program is the largest in the Americas, and just celebrated 28 million bike trips.
‘Superhighways’ for bikes
Some cities are adopting urban infrastructure plans designed specifically for wide-scale bike usage.
Copenhagen, for example, is connecting its suburbs with more than 300 kilometers of new “bike superhighways,” timing downtown traffic lights to give cyclists a continual “green light.” This “green wave” cuts trip time and keeps cyclists safer. London, Amsterdam and San Francisco are starting similar programs.
Can new carbon-reducing transportation options change how you commute?