A thought for World Environment Day, June 5, 2011

June 5th, World Environment Day

When the U.N. General Assembly instituted the World Environment Day (WED) back in the early 1970s, there were fewer than half the number of vehicles worldwide than exist now. As Mexico City was hosting WED 2009 (“Your Planet Needs You – UNite to Combat Climate Change”), China officially surpassed the U.S. in auto sales, with 13.6 million that year. This year’s event, “Forests: Nature at your Service,” is being hosted in India – the 2nd fastest growing auto market in the world.

Car ownership is a point of pride in developing countries, but it’s one that presents a simple paradox: while car ownership is a mark of improved standards of living, it is also a source of negative ecological impact that diminishes the quality of life. The vehicles that are helping these countries to move and grow are also slowly choking them.

But all is not lost.

A movement of co-owners, of collaborative consumers, is gaining traction; they’re spreading the word about the benefits of stemming unchecked consumption and moving toward responsible, sustainable utilization of personal vehicles. Peer-to-peer car sharing is an important part of that message. Where we can use less and make better use of what we have, we should do so for the betterment of our local communities and for the world.

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