“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”
– Native American Proverb
Happy Earth Day!
This year’s theme is Restore Our Earth. It examines the natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative ways we can work as a global community to restore our planet’s ecosystems.
Pioneers worldwide are participating in vital discussions and endeavors centered around environmental justice, climate restoration technologies, and reforestation efforts. As a pioneer in transportation, we want to pay this day — and our planet — the respect it deserves by exploring the positive ways our industry can contribute to our Earth’s wellbeing.
Breaking down climate change in 2021
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently summarized the devastating impact of climate change on our world today, cautioning, “Climate-related natural disasters are becoming more frequent, more deadly, more destructive, with growing human and financial costs.”
The evidence is all around us — from wildfires in California to floods in Somalia. Yet, how does human behavior impact the planet? Many of us know that recycling is good and waste is harmful. But what goes beyond that? What are the seemingly small individual and large corporate behaviors that sicken or strengthen our planet?
Rising greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, are the leading cause of climate change. Carbon dioxide emission happens when electricity, transportation, deforestation, and unsustainable agriculture increase. To combat climate change, top scientists agree we need to achieve net-zero emissions, which is made possible when the carbon dumped into the atmosphere is equal to the carbon taken out.
We should look no further than the pandemic for a cautionary warning around the impact of climate change. Harvard recently released an extensive report on the COVID-19 pandemic and its relation to the environment. In its report, Harvard emphasized that increasing climate change also heightens the risk of pandemics. When deforestation occurs, the loss of habitat forces animals to migrate and potentially contact other animals and human beings and share germs. With the pandemic still an everyday reality for the entire world population, combatting climate change is a global initiative we should all care about.
The transportation takedown
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the transportation sector was the most significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. Of the sector, medium- and heavy-duty trucks were responsible for nearly a quarter of these emissions. To put it in an even greater context, this is approximately two and half times the impact of air transportation.
The EPA recently worked with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a joint rule-making that established sustainable greenhouse gas standards for the transportation sector. For heavy-duty trucks, these standards are projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 270 million metric tons over the lifespan of the vehicles built under the program.
So, along with reforestation and green power efforts, an evolved transportation ecosystem is imperative for the wellbeing of our planet. Fortunately, innovative technologies in our world and industry today offer hope.
Innovation: One small step for you, one giant step for humankind
Increased transportation movement and electronic generation certainly contribute to climate change in many ways, but that doesn’t mean our kryptonite can’t also be our antidote.
To make a sustainable impact on our environment, individual fleets should utilize enhanced performance monitoring technology to gain actionable insights into how vehicles perform, so they can lessen the negative impact on the atmosphere. With technology like this, fleet leaders can lower fuel consumption by shortening routes and reducing carbon emissions with the help of data visuals and historical comparisons. This technology, combined with wide-reaching efforts like the EPA-DOT initiative, will pave the way for a sustainable impact made by commercial vehicles operating in the home we all share.
Here’s to ever-growing sustainability and prosperity for our treasured planet! For additional environmental reading related to transportation, check out our Earth Day blog post from last year.