There’s a new beginning after the lockdown


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Countries around the world have started to lift their lockdowns, easing restrictions and allowing non-essential businesses to reopen. Aiming to keep pollution down, there is a common thread in the process — innovate and incentivize green practices.

With studies reporting unprecedented drops in air pollution since air quality monitoring from satellites began in the 1990s, countries want to keep the momentum and establish routines today that will help maintain those low levels.

France will invest about $22 million toward a program that encourages people to reduce driving when commuting or traveling short distances. That includes reimbursing bike repairs, paying for cycle training and temporary parking spaces. In Paris, separate lanes for bicycles and new cycle routes will be created. 

Italy is offering approximately $500 to people living in urban areas toward the purchase of bikes. The city of Milan is reallocating road space for walking and cycling. 

According to Bloomberg.com, that also is happening in England. London “wants people to walk and cycle rather than get in their cars.”

The city is adding new bike lanes and widening pavements, while closing whole streets to traffic so commuters and children can safely get to their destinations.

 Recently, The New York Times reported that the British government announced a $2.42 billion funding package for “active travel” such as cycling and walking.

In Belgium, the capital of Brussels will create 25 miles of additional cycle paths to reduce the number of people using public transport.

In Germany, Berlin is widening cycle lanes while Chancellor Angela Merkel is looking to propose a post-pandemic stimulus that supports modern technologies and renewable energy such as offering a higher cash incentive for buying electric cars. 

In the United States, New York will close 100 miles of streets to cars and open them to cyclists and pedestrians. Oakland will close 74 miles of its city’s streets to through traffic, and Charlotte will close some low-speed streets to through traffic and designate them as “Shared Streets.”

Many of those measures could have been implemented before the pandemic, but they were not considered a priority. Based on current evidence that emissions from vehicles, power plants and industrial activities as well as everyday individual actions make a real impact, the focus has shifted to efforts to maintain  improved air quality levels. That’s even when all businesses are in full operation. 

And how can we do our part in containing the pollution? We can introduce healthy habits and reinforce the practice of sustainable actions. 

To assist our community with that and also create an opportunity to measure results, Recycle Brevard is using technology. It is partnering with EcoChallenge.org’s online platform and Litterati’s phone app. Those are both practical ways for you to make a difference. 

For EcoChallenge.org, you select your own actions and challenge yourself to fulfill them at your own pace. Our team, 2020 Recycle Brevard, was among 816 teams from around the globe, 19 from Florida, and placed 120th overall and third statewide in the last challenge launched for Earth Day.

 You are welcome to join us. For information, contact the team captain, Chris Kane, at cdkane@gmail.com.

If you install Litterati on your smart phone, you can join Recycle Brevard and I Pick Up Litter in the Brevard Against Litter 2020 Challenge.

 The app records any piece of trash you pick up to properly dispose. All you need is to use the app to take pictures of the trash picked up and the app will track the amount of trash you help remove from the environment. It is that easy.

As a new phase begins for all of us, let’s share with Greenpeace International the same wish: “May we grow back not to what was but, instead, towards what we can become.” 

And to all dads out there, happy Father’s Day!