Climate change is a worldwide development that has existed for thousands of years. Human activities have been responsible for almost all of the increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years. The buildup of greenhouse gases result in a global warming of the planet affecting the environment around us.
Our transportation industry has a huge impact on many lives today. Making things like going to work, driving to the store, and even flying across the country easier and convenient. One of the largest contributing actions of greenhouse gases emissions from the United States is our transportation industry. Below is a graph from the Environmental Protection Agency's website which shows some of the main sources that produce GHG emissions in the United States.
EPA's GHG Emissions Study in 2015
The emissions from our vehicles produce pollutants that can cause a chemical reaction in sunlight and heat creating a gas known as ozone. Breathing in ozone gases can make it much more difficult for people who are exercising, which would directly affect those who are on running paths, or sidewalks on the side of the roads. These gases could aggravate lung diseases like asthma, chronic bronchitis, and can cause the lungs to be more susceptible to infections.
Those who are at risk to the health impacts are mainly people who live, work, or attend school near major highways and roads. The continuous exposure to these chemicals and air pollution can cause higher risks of cardiovascular disease, impaired lung development in children, and even premature deaths. Urban areas like cities tend to have larger populations and a higher concentration of emission sources. Therefore causing more people to be susceptible to illnesses compared to those who live in less populated towns.
The reason why we need to find alternate transport methods or make efficiency improvements in our vehicles and aircraft is because of the severe effects that are brought upon the environment. The contribution of gases in the atmosphere, like carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and ozone, absorb the solar heat reflected by the surface of the Earth trapping the warmth within the planet's lower atmosphere. This creates global warming throughout the world affecting precipitation patterns, ocean sea levels to rise, and even stronger hurricanes and severe heat waves. Developing countries are at a greater risk when it comes to this due to their reliance on resources that the land provides them.
Want to know a solution to this? Create a new routine! Taking public transportation, carpooling, maybe even walking or biking are great alternatives until we begin to develop technology that consumes alternative resources. Public transportation greatly reduces the amounts of emissions due to the ability to reduce the amount of vehicles on roadways. Some city buses already converted to electrical power lines that run throughout the cities.