Environmental degradation has been a serious issue for the world since it was first presented through research. Regardless of whether or not everyone feels it is an urgent issue, many argue as to the practicality of living in a greener society. The cost of implementing green alternatives and the likelihood of people changing their lifestyle makes many people skeptical of the possibility for change. In Germany, however, they seem to have it mostly figured out.
In both Berlin and Munich, they have learned how to stay green in their transportation. The cycling in both these cities, especially Berlin, is rampant, with so many people riding bikes to get around that they had to put in large bike lanes in order to keep their traffic flowing. This, combined with the heavy foot traffic, is great for the environment because these people are getting around on their own energy, instead of burning fossil fuels by taking their cars everywhere (and it doesn’t hurt that they’re getting exercise while doing it).
Then, if you’re not a cyclist, you can use the train system, known as the S-Bahn and U-Bahn. These subway systems can get you within 10 minute walking distance of anywhere within the city, and often much closer. This makes the system quite efficient in getting citizens around, and since it runs on electrical energy instead of by burning fossil fuels, it is much more environmentally conscious than having everyone drive themselves around in their cars. Furthermore, it keeps the streets from being crowded with cars, meaning that those who do choose to drive won’t have to deal with heavy traffic. On top of it all, having seen the massive rail stations and how expensive they look, it’s clear that being green can be profitable as well.
Clearly, the people of Germany have learned how to mix efficiency with environmental consciousness. That being said, they’re not perfect. They all drink from plastic water bottles and not the tap, using a highly unnecessary amount of plastic. But, at least in terms of transportation, I think the world has a lot to learn from the German people. America–perhaps it’s time to step up to the plate.