Guest Post by Valentina Giannella, written in the style of her book “We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Save the World”. Valentina Giannella speaks to children about transport, travel, and climate change.
What is transportation? Transportation is what takes us around and allows us to go from one place to another. It is how we can meet friends, travel to school and go on holiday. But how does transportation work? Well, it works by burning energy – and, in some cases, this energy might be burned in ways that are potentially damaging to our planet.
An example of energy burned in an eco-friendly, unharmful way might be the burning of body energy. This energy comes from food and goes through our system, allowing us to walk or to cycle, for example. The chocolate chip ice cream we had this afternoon could take us to visit family and friends who live close by! But when energy is burned in a bad and potentially harmful way, it can cause pollution in the air and the release of nasty chemicals and gases. These in turn might cause an increase in the temperature of our atmosphere; the precious bubble in which the Earth is safely nestled.
Harmful energy comes from something called fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are created when fossils that have been locked under the Earth surfaces for millions of years (such as tree and animal fossils) are turned into substances like petroleum – the main ingredient in the petrol we use in our cars. Humans have discovered that by burning petroleum, a significant amount of energy can be released, and it was upon the making of this discovery that the transportation industry was born. Cars, trucks, planes… everything became easier and faster. It was great because it meant that we could move people and things from country to country, allowing us to discover the world and to grow our economies. But it also had a detrimental effect on our world…
One day, scientists discovered that burning so much petroleum was causing harm to the Earth. How? The gas released when we burn petroleum locks heat inside the atmosphere and causes something called global warming. Global warming makes the ice melt in the sea, changes the weather patterns, causes drought and heavy rains where they weren’t expected. And this in turn can disrupt animals’ habitats. The question is then: how can we keep on exploring, moving around, being active in our everyday lives without increasing this dangerous side effect of transportation?
Scientists say we should start thinking about transportation in a very simple way: burn your good energy first. Walk, cycle, even run. Your city should have the right solutions in place for you to be able to do so – like safe roads for pedestrians and bicycle hire schemes, for example.
Second: share. If you cannot walk somewhere, try to use public transportation. That way, you share the mode of travel with many other people. Even better if your city has an electric bus fleet on the road! Electric modes of transport help us to pollute less as no fossil fuels are burned. If you have to ride in a private car, try to share it with some friends that are going to the same place. Heading to the basketball training class? Hop in with your mum or dad and at least three of your teammates!
Third: if you are travelling far, see if you can use the train. It pollutes less than the airplane. If you are heading too far away for a train ride, try to avoid too many stopovers. Departing and landing are the two moments at which the plane burns more fuel.
We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Save the World by Valentina Giannella, illustrated by Manuela Marazzi ISBN: 9781786276131 (Laurence King Publishing) £9.99 – The Illustrations featured on this blog are directly from the book and the work of Manuela Marazzi.
The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the FCBG.