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Driving a car is even worse for the planet than we thought

Mission Emission calculates exactly what impact your choice of transportation has on the planet, and it’s seriously scary.

If you’re wondering just how much swapping to a bicycle or taking public transport to work can do for the planet, you’re only a few clicks away from the answer.

Be warned: the results are alarming.

The team behind Mission Emission calls their simple tool an “emission-free travel calculator”. It’s easy to use.

You input your vehicle type, fuel variety, your starting point and your destination, then sit back and wait a few seconds to be gobsmacked by your own social irresponsibility.

The program crunches the numbers and outputs your total emissions, as well as the emissions for alternative modes of transport like cycling, walking, public transport or taking a plane.

So, now you’ll know just how much CO2 you’re contributing to the atmosphere every time you leave your house.

Luckily, it’s not all numbers, because realistically most people have no idea what 1kg of CO2 actually means. When you enter your commute, you’ll get a simple number of days or years that a single tree would need to eat up all your emissions.

For example, a ten-minute daily commute in a medium-sized car, with little traffic, will emit 1.81kg of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and 455mg NOx (nitrogen oxide). To most, these numbers and letter have approximately zero translatable meaning to real life.

However, when the calculator tells you that a tree would take 30 days to absorb the nasty emissions from a ten-minute drive, it suddenly becomes very real.

Alternatives to driving a car for a short, 10 minute commute include walking and cycling.

(Image: Mission Emission)

The real cost of driving a car and how many years it takes to offset your short commute.

(Image: Mission Emission)

When it comes to the worrying state of today’s environment, real talk like Mission Emission provides is exactly what we need to keep us in the loop.

The site also has helpful reminders to get people thinking more deeply about what their transport really costs the planet. For example, cycling “is the greenest way of transport,” and walking is “the most carbon-friendly form of transportation after cycling.”

When offering the alternative of an electric car, they urge users to remember that “how clean electric vehicles are depends on the way the electricity has been generated.”

Mission Emission also lets users in on some of the reasoning behind the data and where the numbers come from. Knowing where the data comes from is reassuring when all I want to do is deny that it could use 30 years of a tree’s life to offset the emissions from a road trip through Central Australia.

The only way the team could improve this app is to add a calculator for how many calories my alternative bike route would burn, because a little extra motivation to be nice to the planet never hurts.

 

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