A modern Santa Claus does of course take an e-bike to gain green efficiency as it could be quite complicated to park reindeers in the city….
E-biking is a good way of green commuting, why not give it a try? Join the movement and you will get real life awards when you make improvements, for example; leaving your car for a day and changing to a more sustainable transportation mode. You can also join the ongoing Challenges, one global is now running by WWF and one local in Gothenburg, Sweden, by mat.se. Join and contribute to WWF’s important global mission or redeem your points to food!
You can find the “Commute Greener – smarter ways” app on facebook or on Google Play for Android devices (soon also available on AppStore, watch out…)
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! (by the way, the app is also a perfect Christmas present to everyone you care about, and for free)
Finally it’s successfully launched – the Commute Greener Facebook app! The application got a total makeover. Besides a complete new look and feel, the usage does increase engagement with “gamification” innovations. The idea is to collect points and badges by making improvements in your commuting behavior and to compete with your friends to be a Top Performer – Bicycle Hero, Public Star or why not the overall winner of the Leaderboard?
The Commute Greener Facebook is optimized for iPhone, Android, Firefox, IE9 or equivalent.
Welcome to have fun with you Facebook friends and contribute to a sustainable future - try it out!
We transport ourselves long distances in our outside, social lives. But what about inner transportation? How often do we consider where we go and what we experience on the inside of ourselves, our minds and bodies?
Because after all, we all spend our whole lives living in our minds and consciousness. If we want to change our habits – if we commute or not, how we treat this planet or our family or friends etc – then the first place where the change needs to take place, is in the mind. When the mind gets focused, changes can come quickly.
This is a short story of a cool inner transportation tool that definitely makes the mind “greener” – fresher, cleaner, purer!
A couple of weeks ago I spent ten days in silence, without contact with the outside world, to learn to focus my mind and slowly clear it of unnecessary burdens. The course took place in Sweden but exists all over the world (www.dhamma.org). The technique of vipassana meditation, which this is called, is teaching self-observation and is simple, scientific and non-sectarian. One only works with one’s own physical reality and learn to focus the mind and develop an equanimous mind towards what one experience.
Simple I say, in retrospective, but when learning to focus the mind on one’s own physical reality the first time, it was crazy. Many people realise how unfocused they are, when internet, mobile phone, work, social life etc is taken away. Me too. And it is sometimes tough to meet oneself, truely. But it is like the earth. If we want it to be greener and our travelling so, we have to do the work. There is no short cut to paradise, anywhere.
After ten days of meditation I came out much lighter. Sorrows, irritation, stress, anger, crazy desires or fear, were gone or diminished. And I continue to sit and meditate in daily life, as I find it helping my “mental immune system”. This was my forth course, I did my first summer 2010. Having three university degrees and a couple of more diplomas, I consider this the best tool I have ever learnt. A tool for life and health. I am more present, more conscious about my actions, feelings and choices, and less stressed. I feel more empowered. And a purer mind has made greener actions more important.
And the best thing (from a social point of view) is that it is taught for free. Old meditation students pay for new students, and so it is given further. The profit is better life quality for everyone concerned.
If this sounds interesting, you find more information at www.dhamma.org. Courses are given all over the world in the same way.
I am happy to announce that we launched a new web version of Commmute Greener where you now can log in to Commute Greener with your Facebook account. Just click on the “Log in with Facebook” and if you already logged in to Facebook you are now also logged in to Commute Greener.
And of cource, if you are not logged in to Facebook, just type your e-mail address and Facebook password and you are in. If you not a Commute Greener user yet, just click on ”Sign up with Facebook”, follow the Facebook workflow, and voila you can now start the Baseline Wizard and get going with Commute Greener!
Once you are logged in with your Facebook account your status update in Commute Greener will now automatic be posted on your Facebook news wall. So share your achievements and motivate your friends to commute greener! You can easy deactivate your Facebook connection in Commute Greener under My Profile/Application Settings. Read more about the web browser limitations under the FAQ’s.
Spread this to your friends and family, it could not be easier! So finally on Valentine’s Day we are there: Commute Greener + Facebook = true !!
One of the things I can really enjoy with being in Sweden this time of the year is that it is getting cold. Strange? Well, actually not. If you get the opportunity to breath crisp and clear air it nurtures inner energies to think straight and get into movement.
I love skiing, part of why I work on delivering a positive climate change is to be able to ski and share the great experience of feeling close to zero gravity. This is also why I want to bicycle to work more often, and of course it then becomes more joy to Commute Greener!
Arriving this morning in the heart of Lindholmen Science Park I came to meet some EV enthusiasts, they are converting the city chic Fiat 500 just outside Go:teborg and turn them electric:
Towards the eveing it is also possible to see a magic sky, the large bronze statue ‘Women by the Sea’ is also a remider how the daily commute have shifted for many of us. The mirroring image is somewhat depicting myself inside the office at Volvo IT Innovation Centre:
All the best and to see another clip from nearby surrounding just click, but please rather send us your favourite clip. Most welcome to Commute Greener!
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs – Brundtland commission rapport “Our common future”,1987
Sustainability is a complex subject. Really complex. Everybody probably have a different view on what sustainable development is, from the definition in the Brundtland rapport Our common future of 1987 as seen above, down to a more personal level. The question is, how do we design a sustainable society and how do we get people to become more sustainable. Well, enter the Global Sustainability Jam!
This awesome event has taken place during this weekend in some 50 cities around the world, including my home town of Gothenburg. I didn’t take part in it due to poor planning on my part, but it sure would have been a wonderful opportunity to brainstorm, share and develop ideas with a lot of sharp and interesting people. Our Managing Director dr Magnus Kuschel partook via video-link from USA though, so we weren’t totally absent from this cool gathering.
But what is this jam about? Well, you know, musicians often just jam together. They are playing with ideas and with developing new sounds just for fun and to share with each other. This event is basically the same, but with sustainability. Brainstorm ideas, go out and ask people about them, develop them and come up with new products and new ways to make our society more sustainable under a 48 hour period. Wow! Now there is a challenge! The method were something like this;
As you can imagine, lots of fun ideas have come of this. I haven’t been able to see the results yet, at least not as a whole, but they will be published on the website. The main theme of the event was playground, which gives you a very wide angle to approach sustainable development at. The challenges the different partaking workgroups came up with in Gothenburg were really cool though, and one especially caught my eye:
Get the commuter buses and trains to become a social interactive, creative platform instead of a dull wasting time. – http://sustainabilityjamgoteborg.wordpress.com
Yea, I admit I am biased here. After all I am all about green commuting and making a greener commute more interesting for people. It would have been a treat to work in that group and I am looking forward to see some solutions. This is what we at Commute Greener! are all about after all.
Let’s dwell on this subject a while. How do we make buses and other public transportation to become a social and interactive platform? Is it all about tech? About making people to interact with each other? How do we make that? Or should safety and feeling safe on the bus be the first point of discussion? Well, let’s skip the last part, too boring to discuss right now, although important.
Could games and other fun activities like making playlists and quizzes that are available on the phone to all other travelers on that particular bus be an option? I know I would love to see that kind of thing. It could get people talking, interacting and in general having fun on the commute, thus making it into something positive. If said bus also were clean, silent and had enough comfort would more people want to try a bus commute? Maybe some kind of place where people could upload pictures or even do some painting while they are going?
Why not making some kind of challenge, the one who check in at most buses in a week get some kind of prize. Competitions always draws people in and the main point of public transportation is that it is available to everyone. Not just people who have enough money, but to everyone. And more people should use it more often, as one bus takes a lot of cars of the roads and saves a lot of CO2 as well as money. Talk about win win.
But this event is more then just green commutes of course. I saw one video interview where they talked about water heaters that don’t go to 100 degree Celsius as you don’t need that warm water for making tea, coffey, heating up water for the saucepans and so on. That would save a lot of energy, as well as taking away the inconvenience of having to add cold water or wait for the water to cool down. Other ideas involve how to make a newly moved out teen eating sustainable and not just junk food. It is about every aspect of how we live. And it is really important. Gathering a lot of smart, educated and interested people from all kinds of backgrounds and getting them working together to come up with new concepts and ideas sure is a great way of working towards a more sustainable future.
In a world where we are constantly consuming all kinds of stuff we need sustainable choices. Not only that but those choices must be a natural part of the system, not just something the “trendy and edgy” crowd uses. You shouldn’t even have to think about it. But to get there we need ideas. Jamming like this is a good birthplace for such ideas. I hope we’ll get to see more of this in the future!
By the way, have you visited us at facebook? Come join us and Commute Greener! and set your target, see the progress and share experiences while working for sustainable development!
You know, I think it is time for an inspiring example again! It is always nice when you open the morning paper, or in this case yesterdays issue of Metro, a free magazine which is common on buses and trams here in Sweden. Västtrafik, the local public transportation provider have a small section on their own, where they write about the buses, trams and all things public transportation. Normally it isn’t that interesting, but yesterday was a small treat.
Under the headline of “Fight against the carbon dioxide- schoolchildren take to their feet to reduce climate change” (link in Swedish) there were a rather cute article describing a challenge issued to schoolchildren in Gothenburg; walk to school and you gather points. One point for a walk of half a kilometer in the morning, another for a walk of at least 0,5 km in the evening and extra if the kids can make their parents use greener commute options instead of driving.
The prize for the best class in town is a whole day trip to the Liseberg amusement park. Someone really got their thinking cap on when they came up with that reward, kids over here would do almost anything for a full day there. I am quite sure I would have done the same actually. As an adult.
At the same time the kids get exercises in environmental stuff with simple games helping them understand how global warming works and why we must save CO2. The best aspect of this is that if you teach this in an engaging way when they are young, those kids will be aware when they grow older. Kids also have a tendency to teach their parents stuff like this, weather they want to listen or not. It’s just the way it is.
This little campaign is good on so many levels. It targets kids, which is really good as they are easier to teach these stuff then adults. It teaches them both sustainable and healthy habits which will make sure they don’t get caught in childhood obesity, which is something of a problem over here as well. By giving an entire class that kind of prize they make the kids bond as they are now a team. That can be a really good thing too. And of course they make fighting climate change fun. FUN!. Suddenly it is something positive instead of something boring or frustrating. And it encourages the parents to do the same.
Hat’s of to the makers of this campaign. You do a lot of things right here! Keep at it. There are a lot to learn from this as well. Changing to a greener commute should be fun. It should be tempting to change habits for better health, wealth and environmental gain. Competing like in this campaign is one good way to make it fun. We can see that the same is true with the Commute Greener! challenges in Gothenburg, within Volvo Group, in Mexico etc. People give large contributions to CO2 savings with relatively small investments in time and efforts and have fun while doing it.
Why not try this at the office or in the neighborhood. Name a prize of some kind (and make it a good one), make sure the higher ups/neighbors are in the competition as well (who doesn’t want to one up the boss/that annoying neighbor), register at Commute Greener! and compete away. Save CO2, get in shape and have fun while you are at it. What is not to like about that.
What factors play a part in our choice of commute option? How come so many people choose to drive instead of using public transportation? Why is the “bike movement” growing so rapidly right now?
None of these questions have a single straight and easy answer. Those of you who follow us on facebook might recall that we posted a question about what factor plays the biggest part in their choice of commute a few days ago. While we haven’t had enough people responding to make any real conclusions from the responses, they where more or less what I expected. Safety and health doesn’t play a large part, in fact those answers were empty. That could of course be a result from the small numbers of people answering, but still. I am sure it plays a part, but not the most important.
"What is the best commute option today?" Commute Greener! in Mexico City
Price is surprisingly a runner up for the bottom position. That is actually not too far from reality, at least if we let ourself speculate a bit. Owning a car costs a lot of money. Fuel costs, maintenance, insurance and road tax will eat up a lot of money, probably more then a one month bus/train/subway pass would. Definitely more then a second hand bike and a helmet would (and yes a bike commute isn’t always viable for longer journeys). Yet driving is very common.
Comfort and travel time on the other hand, those are expected to play a huge part in choosing commute option. Right? I prefer a bus commute mostly because it is nice to unwind with a book and some music on the way home, something I can’t enjoy while driving. Comfort. But my travel time is quite long, often up to an hour each way, which isn’t something many people would have patience for. Gothenburg have good public transportation, no matter what the inhabitants say. Most cities around the world have some kind of public transportation but many PT systems aren’t that well funded or given such an amount of space in the planning budget.
One could also speculate about what would happen if the travel times could be cut short and the comfort could be increased for public transportation. Would more people choose the bus instead of what they are used to? Well, we see the bike movement that is on the rise in the USA. The infrastructure for bikes are getting more and more developed, so the ride is safer and probably more comfortable and less time consuming, and more people give it a go when they see more and more people try this new stuff.
In the end it probably boils down to habits. If a person have always commuted in one way he or she will probably continue to do so. It is what he or she knows. The commute isn’t so fun that you want to think to much of it, right? The problem is that with global warming/climate change knocking on our door, we will have to change all kinds of habits for us to create a sustainable society. If just everybody could commute greener some times / week a LOT of CO2 could be saved, and a lot of other transportation related environmental problems would become less prominent. Hopefully.
Stop for a moment and think what is the most important factor in your choice of commute. Is it really more comfortable to drive in start-stop traffic then to sit on a bus with a book or the phone. Isn’t it possible to try a bike commute, at least on sunny days? Every small step towards changing behavior counts. So think it over. Who knows, commuting greener may be as natural to you as your current commute a year from now!
I have been looking at the results of the Lindholmen Commute Greener! campaign lately, and can’t keep myself from doing some quick calculations. This campaign had about 2000 participants and raked up some 22000 zero emission kilometers in about one month. That means some 11 kilometers saved/ person. That amounts to about one day of bike commuting/ month. Now, not every participant chose to bike to work/school, but let’s roll with that number. A smallish car has a CO2 emission rate of about 120g CO2/ km, ie some 1,3 kg/ person was saved in one month. Not a particularly large number, right? 1,3* 2000 = 2600 kg, ie 2,6 tonnes of CO2 saved. Still not that large a number.
However imagine the whole of Sweden saved 1,3 kg of CO2, ie about one bike trip to work/ month, we would save 9,000,000 * 1,3 =11700000 kg of CO2, or 11700 tonnes (1 tonne= 1000 kg). That is about the same wight of a coast going cargo ship. Now, take Germany, with some 82 000 000 inhabitants. 106600 tonnes saved in what amounts to some 1-2 days/ month of bike commuting. If the whole of USA did this we would have some 308000000 * 1,3 kg= 400400 tonnes of CO2 saved. That’s about one oil tankers dead weight tonnage.
All this from one day of bike commuting 11 km. I know, many people, if not most, have longer commutes then 5 km and therefore my calculations are flawed. But the point is that staggering amounts of CO2 can be saved if enough people would pitch in. On the whole, even USA’s CO2 savings would be quite insubstantial, but this is just one quite short trip/ month. Imagine if everybody in the whole world would choose greener commute options, like the bike or public transportation, a few times/ week. That would go a long way in pure saved CO2.
Granted, industry, energy and the transportation sector are large contributors, and even if everybody would bike every day we wouldn’t come up even. But with climate change knocking on our door everybody have a responsibility to take action. Using the bicycle, walking, taking public transportation, ride sharing or at least driving smaller cars with eco driving techniques is easy and possible for everyone. The saved CO2 from simple every day transportation really adds up.
If we are going to turn climate change or at least dampen its effects we will have to change habits. Habits in how we live, how we eat and how we transport ourselves. Transportation is one of the easier parts to change in your own behaviour. I am sure there are other options then driving, and if there isn’t then ride sharing and learning eco driving are great options for reducing the personal carbon dioxide footprint. It may even lead to you saving a few bucks for something more fun then commuting, and getting in shape so you have the stamina to do those fun things. Talk about win-win-win situation.
The summer commute is actually quite easy. The bike is (or should be) the transportation option of choice and as long as the workplace has a shower and you bring a spare set of clothes it is really not such a big deal. Autumn on the other hand can become quite a challenge. The weather become unpredictable and cycling to work may not be such a natural choice anymore. Well it is for the hardcore cyclist, and hats of to you for peddling year around, but most people simply don’t want that. There are lots of other options to look at instead of driving though.
Public transportation is severely underrated. You walk for some ten minutes, hop on the bus/train and then you have some time to read the news, play with the phone, read or do whatever you do. It is a really nice way to commute greener. Another nice option is ride-sharing (another commute related option Commute Greener! can help you set up). A telecommute is another option, as mentioned yesterday.
Whatever option you choose, you got to prepare a bit. Driving is encouraging us not to plan ahead, it is just a matter of getting in the car and drive away. You can of course do that with a green commute as well, but planing ahead will save time and make the ride smother.SO here are some ways you can prepare for the autumn commute;
Check bus timetables. Bus/train companies have a tendency to change them about now and not knowing the times can cause massive annoyances.
Plan the route. If you are going to have to chain the commute you want to minimize waiting time.
Make sure you have time in the morning so you don’t miss the bus in the morning. That can make you late, and that isn’t a good way to start the day.
Bring a small umbrella in the bag. At least in Sweden rain comes without warning this time a year (ah who am I kidding, it always rains here).
Have a couple of thin gloves in the bag/pocket. Especially mornings can be cold, then it gets really warm during the day.
Get some entertainment. If you have an iPhone or some other smartphone then play with that, otherwise reading, drawing (on paper, not seats, windows or passengers) will make the trip feel much faster.
Get some kind of sheath/protection for your book. I usually don’t and all of mine are water damaged/dirty/or outright grimy from wet and muddy commutes. I don’t mind but some people do.
Find some bus buddies. Maybe by using our rideshare feature.
If you share the ride with someone, be sure you are ready when they come with the car. Otherwise you may not be ridesharing the next day.
Not to difficult, right? This is basically just common sense but can go a long way towards making the commute smother and more bearable. By sticking to taking the bus to work instead of driving you are saving a lot of CO2 compared to if you are driving. You also help reducing traffic congestion and air pollution at the same time as you get some free time. So try it out. It will take a couple of weeks to get used to commuting this way if you are used to the freedom of driving, but when you do you will love it.