Ready – Steady – Go Green in WWF’s low-carbon race this Transport Month
On Wednesday, 21 October ,teams of participants, comprising go-getters partnered with WWF staff, students, celebrities and representatives from the City of Joburg, will traverse a route through a series of checkpoints around the City, using only public, minibus taxi, electric or non-motorised transport and clues and tools to guide them. The team with the lowest ‘carbon footprint’ to cross the endpoint before the cut-off time will win the race. This is not a race against the clock - teams can relax and enjoy the “ride”.
Explaining why WWF has spearheaded this initiative, Louise Naudé, WWF’s lead on low-carbon transport and climate change says, “Private cars are the fastest growing source of South Africa’s transport greenhouse gas emissions, the gases driving climate change. We can tackle this through reducing the need for transport through spatial planning and location of facilities, making a change from using private cars to public, shared or non-motorised transport, and improving vehicle and fuel technologies. The biggest mitigation gain is to be had from private car users shifting out of their cars, and avoiding people buying cars as they move into the middle-class. The race aims to demonstrate the solutions offered by public and other low-carbon transport options and explore the City’s public transport system”.
Besides curbing climate change, there are many other benefits in shifting to public transport: improved productivity and wellbeing due to less congestion, lower infrastructure costs over the medium term and health benefits. Public transport hubs also lead to local economic development and increase property values around them. The more people use public transport the more viable and affordable it can become, giving poorer people access to work, education, services and leisure activities. An often overlooked benefit is social cohesion ‒ getting to interact with our fellow South Africans.
The EcoMobility Challenge race serves to take the Festival out of Sandton and across the city. It showcases the City’s public mobility options and progress made on sustainability and is a channel for two-way communication with commuters and residents.
“The race gives participants the chance to learn a lot from their experiences and each other. Knowledge gained through the Challenge will feed into WWF’s low-carbon transport programme, and may influence the plans of companies and the City – and individual behaviour. We can all make a real difference with our transport choices,” says Naudé. “Expect surprises along the secret route and get to know interesting characters who will be participating in the race. WWF’s CEO, Morné du Plessis, will be among them.”