I was recently driving in my car, unaware that it was World Car-Free Day, when I heard the news that we could save AED 1.2 billion a year if the whole of the UAE didn’t use their car for one day, each month. Is anyone else as shocked as I am? This huge amount of money could go into developing more public transport options in the Emirates!
Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi’s initiative of Paperless Day in 2011 saved 10 tons of CO2, but just 5000 cars on the road produce more than this in a single day! The UAE consumes more than three times the world average paper consumption per capita, more than 175 kgs per person per year!
Considering that more than 80% of office waste is paper, this is a huge amount, and one of the areas that is so easy to save in.
It is becoming cliché to say that small changes make a huge difference when it comes to climate change – but these statistics show that it genuinely does add up to make a difference!
Imagine if there was a scheme where when you saved paper or didn’t use your car, the amount of money that you saved, saved the climate, the government, and went back into your pocket? Theoretically we would all be AED 1.2 billion richer!
Since most of us don’t have the luxury of giving up our cars then we should consider the other ways we can still reduce our carbon emissions. For instance, slowing down consumes less fuel. In fact, the fuel savings in the difference between driving 120km instead of 140kms can potentially save you the equivalent of one extra tank of fuel a week, if you commute between Abu Dhabi and Dubai every day. That is a savings of 52 tanks of fuel throughout the year, at about Dh5000!
I will never forget my dad refusing to go above 55 miles per hour in the UK at one point, as the car manufacturer said that this was the most fuel efficient speed to drive at. I wonder how many of us actually use our cars, or any other electricity and power, as fuel-efficiently as possible.
With broken air conditioner this week, I have learned to sleep in a 25 degree room, which isn’t as bad as I thought! So when its fixed, it won’t be going below 22, as it used to occasionally do.
Even though it is a point I have said before, it is one myself and others will say again and again, every little bit of saving does make a difference. Whether it is driving 10 miles slower, not printing out that document, or using the bus for a day…. we all do it, we can save money, as well as our planet.
By Emma Kirkman