A Life without a car? Hardly imaginable for many. After all, the car is part of everyday life for most people. But the car-free life has more positive sides than you might think at first. In this article, I'll show you the pros and cons of the car-free life and how you can get along without a car. You'll also learn everything you need to know about car-free vacations and car-free neighborhoods. Let's go!
Here as always a short Table of contents about the article:
- Why live car-free?
- Alternatives to the car
- Car free vacation
- Car free living
- Car free in the country
- Car free days
- Closing words
Why live car-free?
Cars harm our environment and our Health. Even electric cars, which are supposedly good for the environment, harm the environment more than you might think at first. The production of one car consumes up to 43 tons of CO2. In the production of the platinum group metals, 300 kg of ore is needed for 1 gram of metal. Then there are the heavy metal emissions during mining and operation. Living car-free improves your ecological footprint enormously.
Even the use of an electric car does not really make the problem any smaller. The batteries of electric cars contain many chemicals and pose a problem at the latest when they are disposed of (see also article Dispose of electrical bulkhead correctly) poses a major problem for our environment. An electric car does not seem to produce any exhaust gas at first. However, since most households today do not yet use green electricity, the exhaust simply originates somewhere else - namely in the production of the electricity. In addition, the production of an electric car is more costly. Therefore, the production of an electric car releases almost twice as much carbon dioxide as a conventional car.₁
Life without a car: advantages and disadvantages
But what exactly are the advantages and disadvantages of a car-free life? In the following table I have compiled a few points for you.
|CO2 savings||Partly inflexible in the countryside|
|Good for health (thanks to alternatives like Bicycle ride or walk)||Inadequate bus service in some cities|
|d aPlaza use and design (more green, play and recreational areas).|
|Safety on the road|
|More time in nature|
|More contacts and communication|
Alternatives to the car
Life without a car doesn't have to be complicated. Below I show you some sustainable and practical alternatives to the car.
Bicycle instead of car
The advantage of riding a bike is that, in addition to being car-free, you're also doing something good for your fitness and health. One hour of cycling at a speed of 15-18 km/h consumes about 450 calories.₂ So you can save yourself a trip to the gym. However, if you want to live car-free, you should keep in mind that buying a bike also brings some costs. However, compared to the cost of gas per month, riding a bike is very, very inexpensive. In addition, the bicycle is the fastest means of transport in the city.
Bus & train instead of car
The advantages of bus and train are manifold. On the one hand, you save a lot of money by bus & train. If you are a student or pupil, you save even more in most cases. In addition, you can really relax on the bus or streetcar. In the morning you have time to read a newspaper or a book and you can also check your e-mails. On the train you can finish your presentation, prepare documents or spend your time in other ways. In addition, you always have the opportunity to meet other people on the bus and train. And if you prefer to be alone, you can simply grab a single seat. Another big advantage is the safety of transportation. For every 276 people injured in cars, 74 are injured on buses and only 27 on trains.
On foot instead of by car
Sure, each of us is a pedestrian. But how often do you really walk? The average person spends about 7 hours sitting.₃ Due to the office routine, the TV and the modern, comfortable lifestyle, we move less and less. So it can be even nicer to leave the car behind and go for a walk. Especially if you live in the city, most routes can be easily mastered on foot. Maybe you want to try barefoot walking? In the article Walking barefoot with barefoot shoes is healthy you will learn everything you need to know about the subject.
Car sharing & car pooling
A life without a car does not mean that you always have to do without a car. If you can't live without a car, you can rent one through car sharing, for example. This is still much cheaper than owning your own car. Carpooling can be just as useful. The next time you want to drive a distance by car, have a look at blablacar over, one of many good Zero Waste Apps. Because there people offer their rides as a ride. This has an advantage for both the driver and the passengers. The driver saves on gasoline costs and the passengers get from A to B more cheaply. And it's a big advantage for the environment either way.
Car free vacation
Of course, a car-free life also includes a vacation without a car. A vacation without a car brings more advantages than you might think at first. Driving long distances by car is often stressful. Partners rarely argue as often as they do on the outward journey to their vacation. On the train or long-distance bus, you can sit and relax and devote your attention to something else. Children also usually have more fun traveling by train than spending hours quietly in their car seats. Especially traveling by long-distance bus is very inexpensive, but you can also travel cheaply by train if you book early enough or use a group ticket.
The first steps
The best way to test a car-free trip is with a day trip, for example to another city. (for inspiration, take a look at the Nature Travel Blog over)
This can be a family trip or a solo trip. You can travel by train, by long-distance bus or even by bike. Important in the planning is especially the luggage. Because unlike traveling by car, you have to carry the luggage with you.
If you feel overwhelmed with planning your car-free trip, a package tour is a good idea. There is a wide range of different offers, for example sports or creative vacations. For organized cycling or hiking trips, there are some operators who work closely with associations such as the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), the ADFC (Allgemeiner deutscher Fahrradclub) and the VCD (Verkehrsclub Deutschland).
Own arrival by bus
Meanwhile, there are many bus lines that take you to many places in Europe without changing buses. For example, to Spain, Italy, Turkey, Poland and Estonia. The long-distance bus system is also very extensive in Germany. Especially on a non-stop bus trip, you can take significantly more luggage than on a train or bike. With special bicycle buses, you can even take your own bike with you.
Even if you are inexperienced, a round trip by bike is not a problem. You should be able to do 50 or 60 kilometers a day. That's 4 hours of cycling at a comfortable pace. If you are a beginner, be sure to avoid mountainous areas as much as possible. Before you go on a cycling tour, you can simply find out for yourself on the weekend which routes you are confident with. When choosing a route, keep in mind that you will need accommodation at the end of the day. The more flexible you are with the type of accommodation, the freer the choice of route. At bookitgreen you will find sustainable accommodations - with the coupon code "CAREBIG" you even save 20 Euros on your first trip.
Long distance hike
Admittedly, a long-distance hike is probably not recommended for beginners. However, if you are already used to hiking, such a trip can be great fun. Hiking in nature clears your head and is very good for your health thanks to the clear air and exercise. For example, how about a hike through beautiful Switzerland? In the article Hiking in Switzerland you will be shown the most beautiful hiking routes in Switzerland.
Car free living
Once quite normal, now a rarity - car-free living. Not many people are granted this luxury. In residential areas without cars there is no noise, much more nature and cleaner air. Even small children can play safely in the street. Except for the police, fire department and ambulance, no other cars drive on the street. As you can see, there are many advantages. There are several car-free residential areas in Germany, including Münster, Cologne and Karlsruhe. You can also find car-free residential areas in other European countries.
In the following, I have listed all the German cities that have either already implemented a car-free community or are planning to do so. Maybe your city is already on the list? Do you know of any other cities that are missing from the list? Then leave me a comment so that I can add the city to the list.
|Frankfurt on the Main||www.vcd.org/frankfurt-main-taunus/akafw.html|
Living car free in the countryside
Doing without a car in the city seems easy. But what about in the countryside? Living car-free in the countryside is a bit more complicated than in the city, but it is certainly feasible. Especially in the countryside, nature is of great importance. To be able to create a rural car-free life, a good bus system is extremely important. Many communities in Germany complain about network systems that either have too few buses or too many transfers. The Institute for Land and Sea Transport in Berlin has written a comprehensive brochure on this subject. Here you can read them.
Car free days
Car-free days were already decreed by the authorities in the 1950s and 1970s. This was because there was a threat of a bottleneck in the supply of crude oil. Nowadays, car-free days are usually organized annually by various districts or municipalities. The main purpose is to raise awareness of the advantages of living without a car and the problems behind it. It gives residents the opportunity to imagine life without a car and enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with it. In Germany, the day takes place on September 22, but some municipalities deviate slightly from the date.
A life without a car - does that make sense?
My answer is clearly yes! Even though we seem to be dependent on cars these days, this is not the case. There are so many great alternatives to driving that are much better for our environment and our health. In order to live a car-free life, the main thing you need to do is change your mindset. Make yourself aware of whether you really need your car, and reduce your possessions simply times in the sense of the Minimalism.
By the way: Even if you can't do it completely without a car, you can learn here how to Driving as sustainably as possible can.
What is your opinion on the subject? Is a life without a car realistic? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Then leave me a comment below this post.