October 20, 2010 | 8 comments
Cycling is the fastest growing method of travel in Vancouver, thanks in part to a municipal decision to expandbike routes, especially into downtown.
(Credit: markjms via Flickr)
By David Suzuki with Faisal Moola
Most of the world's 6.9 billion people live in cities. City dwellers consume about threequarters of the world's energy and generate most of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
If we are to resolve some of the serious issues around pollution, climate change, human health, and energyconsumption, we must look to cities for solutions. As the world's population continues to grow, a shift back to rural living is unlikely. So, what can we do?
Progress in my home city of Vancouvergives me hope — but even here we have a long way to go. The most important move urbanites can make is to get out of their cars. But governments must encourage this with better community design andinvestments in public transit and pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
Cycling is the fastest growing method of travel in Vancouver, thanks in part to a municipal decision to expand bike routes,especially into downtown.
Walking is also becoming more popular, with the number of walking trips up 44 per cent since 1994. And increases in the number of people taking public transit are outpacing thosein all other urban Canadian centres, with a 20 per cent rise in ridership over the past decade — although government investment in the system has not kept up with this demand, hampering its potential.Making cities more sustainable isn't just about shifting from car-centric to human-centric planning. Providing incentives to retrofit older buildings or design newer ones to be more energy-efficient,encouraging economic activity that doesn't cause a lot of pollution, and creating more parks and green spaces are all essential to making cities more livable and less polluting.