International traveling is carbon intensive and really will inflate your carbon footprint – just because of the jet fuel burned to lift you out of your home town. But these days, there a more and more ways to still enjoy global travel while minimizing your carbon footprint.
Just imagine this scene.
The air tastes a little sweeter here because the neighboring countries have been focusing on green policies and have made remarkable headway in the reduction of their greenhouse gases and carbon output.
The quaint houses you pass make you yearn for a cozy retreat in the area with neighbors so friendly you feel like they are family. Ancient churches, inviting pubs, and eateries dot the landscape. All brimming with that unique European mix of ancient and modern times. There are wonderful bike routes all around, each with its own set of incredible views.
Is this just a beautiful dream? Nope.
You’re biking through Scandinavia.
Being green is an ingrained part of the Scandinavian culture, with Denmark leading the way, along with its neighbors Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
Biking is not only healthy and fun, but it’s a great way to see any city, town or countryside. Its been my experience that oftentimes, in these countries, the biking signs and routes are better than the road signs.
Copenhagen is so biker friendly that it has won international awards and continually commits itself to going even more green. Currently 20% of all trips in this city, ranging from going to the supermarket to the movies to a friend’s house, occur on a bicycle. What’s more, over a third of commuters hop on two wheels to get to work because its more convenient, efficient, cheaper, and most importantly, fun. The city designers have purposely designed thoroughfares in favor of bikes, just to encourage drivers to leave their cars at home.
The goal is for 50% of commuters to bike to work in the city by 2015.
Biking is not for the young or the old exclusively either, as 9 out of 10 Danes own a bike.
In America most bikes have a standard everyday look and their personalities seem a little dull, but in Denmark people go all out with them. Just take a look at how stylish and fun these bikes are, and you’ll understand why in Scandinavia biking isn’t just a mode of transportation, but a way of self-expression that people love.
Many European cities now have bike share programs that allow you to easily rent a bike for a few hours and drop it off at a convenient destination. (GB Bike Share article). So next time you’re visiting a city, check into this option before you go and stay out of the cab or car and get to know the city better. (Google worldwide map of cities that have bike share programs)
Check out these other Green Blizzard articles for our green reading recommendations and these other Green Blizzard articles on green living tips and how to reduce your carbon footprint.