Transition Town Margaret River

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Car Free Challenge

by Daniela Casotti

According to the Australian Climate Council, transport is Australia’s second largest source of greenhouse gas pollution. The sector emitted 102 million tonnes carbon dioxide  in 2018, representing 18% of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas pollution. Transport emissions have the highest rate of growth of any sector since 1990.

The major source of the problem is cars. They are responsible for roughly half of Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution from transport. The Australian Greenhouse Office calculates petrol as producing 2.7 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions per litre combusted, and diesel as producing 2.9 kilograms. Every time you drive a standard car for around 16.5 km, you are responsible for producing greenhouse gas emissions that weigh as much as a house brick!

In Margaret River, we are heavily reliant on cars, and vehicle occupancy rates are woefully low. Many of us travel long distances alone on a daily basis. It doesn’t help that Margaret River’s public transport is nearly non-existent, and that there isn’t many alternatives… yet…

Margaret River prides itself on being Environmentally friendly. Sustainable commuting is one way we can raise a collective awareness about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our overall carbon footprint. A car free challenge is not only a fun way to inform people, it also gets results. The ‘Go New Haven Go’ car free challenge in America reported that in the previous three years of holding the event, people drove 260,000 fewer vehicle miles, 165 tons of carbon dioxide emissions were avoided, and $200,000 dollars in transportation costs were saved!

Sustainable commuting is not only an environmental issue. It’s also a social justice issue. In order to participate fully in community life and the economy, transport solutions are vital. My license was recently suspended because I had a seizure in Brumby’s. In rural Australia, this is a huge loss of freedom! It’s a delicate subject, with a black and white solution and inadequate support for those of us deemed unsuitable. A car free challenge day can raise funds for better transport opportunities in rural areas.

We are a small tight knit community, and there are plenty of opportunities to improve our transport networks.  More efficient Car-pooling networks, and incentives to reduce single-car-occupancy commuting are good places to start. But we can do better than that. We are a perfect place to spearhead new ideas like

  • Bike sharing program,
  • Car sharing programs,
  • Innovative Park and walk programs
  • Hitch hiking points in allotted areas in Margaret River, Prevelly, Cowaramup, Gracetown
  • Electric shuttle buses

If you are interested in the Car Free challenge, and/or being part of a group committed to introducing transport alternatives to Margaret River, please contact Daniela 0424733900, or email me on