On September 22nd, Car Free Day encourages motorists worldwide to give up their vehicles for a day. As a result, the observance is known as World Car Free Day. Many people around the world consider their car a necessity. Without it, they wouldn’t be able to zip to their destination conveniently. Today, an estimated 1.4 billion cars travel the roads throughout the world. At one time, the United States had the most car owners. Now China claims that prize. Volkswagen and Toyota manufacture more cars than other companies. Cars offer a convenient way to get around. However, cars hurt the environment. Besides causing air pollution, scientists point to cars as contributing to global warming.
Car Free Day aims to see what life would be like without cars on the road. The observance encourages motorists to walk or bicycle instead. In addition, the day promotes mass transit for those who need to travel long distances. It’s also a day for cities to use their roadways differently. For example, horses are ridden on the streets in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In other cities, street picnics and various fun events are scheduled in the streets. For example, in Budapest, there are races for alternative-energy-powered vehicles. In addition, many cities promote the idea that biking and walking are safer than driving a car.
How to observe Car Free Day
The best way to observe World Car Free Day is not to use your vehicle. If you need to go somewhere:
- Walk or ride your bike. You may consider using a skateboard or electric scooter instead.
- Please educate yourself on the role of cars in our environment’s future.
- Research alternative energy sources for cars.
Find ways in your community to get around without your car. Can you take advantage of public transportation? Organize a carpool with co-workers. Spend time with your children while walking to school. Discover the benefits of using your car less often.
- Reduced wear and tear on your vehicle
- Increased savings
- Lower maintenance costs
- Decreased carbon footprint
- Physical exercise
You may decide that going carfree isn’t so bad after all! If you decide to go carfree, share your experience on social media using #CarFreeDay.
Wprld Car Free Day History
Since the 1950s, various groups have protested the use of cars. At that time, they considered cars an intrusion into their cities and neighborhoods. As a result, from 1956 to 1957, the Netherlands and Belgium held car free Sundays.
Through the years, research began to reveal the negative impact of cars on the environment. At an international conference in 1994, a paper discussing a strategy for reducing car dependence was distributed. In the late 1990s, carfree projects were planned and implemented in various European cities. In 1997, the British Environmental Transport Association coordinated three annual carfree days. Spain, Italy, and France followed suit with similar projects.
Why do we celebrate World Car free Day?
Motor vehicles emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which are significant causes of global warming. So world Car free Day is celebrated to help the environment and bring awareness to what we can all do to help. This fantastic event encourages everyone to give up their cars for a day and consider alternative ways of traveling, for example, walking and cycling to school/work more often.
Benefits of using cars less and cycling/walking more often
- Helps the environment.
- Reduces air pollution.
- Quieter towns and cities.
- It helps you stay healthy and get some exercise.
- Cycling develops balance and coordination skills.
When was World Car free Day first celebrated?
The history of car free days goes back to the 1970s, when several events were organized during the oil crisis. However, they weren’t organized on a specific date but more on an informal basis. It wasn’t until 1994 that Eric Britton gave a keynote speech about the importance of such projects and events.
Within two years, local events were organized in Bath (UK), Reykjavik (Iceland), and La Rochelle (France). In 1999 an International Car free Day was organized in Europe, the pilot project for today’s European Mobility Week. It was in 2000 when it was agreed that World Car free Day would be celebrated on September 22nd.
How can I get involved in the celebrations on World Car free Day?
Due to unforeseen circumstances this year, many activities and celebrations have been put on hold. However, this is the perfect opportunity to give up the car for the day! There are so many activities that children can get involved in while learning more about this beautiful celebration. They can:
- Play this fun Car-Free Day Board Game. All they need is a dice and a counter.
- Design a Car free Day poster with this lovely Car free Day Template.
- Use these Car free Day Debate Cards to discuss the statements and share their ideas.
- Use this Persuasive Writing Template, which encourages pupils to put forward opposing views and practice their writing.