WWF-Canada Encourages Canadians to End their Love Affair with Cars | WWF-Canada

WWF-Canada Encourages Canadians to End their Love Affair with Cars

Posted on 31 May 2010
Pin It for the Planet
© WWF-Canada
(Toronto, ON: May 31, 2010) – Canadians know their love affair with their cars has a negative impact on the planet but only one in five are ready to give up driving for work/school (21 per cent), or recreation (19 per cent), according to new research by WWF-Canada. Pin It for the Planet, WWF-Canada’s new campaign, challenges Canadians to try alternative and sustainable transportation methods, like walking, cycling or taking transit, for one week to experience how easy breaking the driving habit can be. As a symbolic gesture, Canadians are asked to pin their car key to their shirt to show their support.

“Pin It for the Planet calls on Canadians to wear their hearts on their sleeves – literally. We are encouraging people to pin their car key to their shirt to demonstrate their commitment help the planet,” says Gerald Butts, President, WWF-Canada. “Cycling and walking are great alternatives to the car, especially for short distances. If we can get every driver in Canada to leave their car at home for just one day a week, we could improve our air quality and help fight climate change by reducing transportation emissions.”

According to the survey, more than a third (43 per cent) of Canadians ranked driving as the personal behaviour that has the most negative impact on the environment. This was compared to garbage production and disposal (56 per cent), electricity use (27 per cent), and water usage (34 per cent). Yet, people still find driving the hardest habit to break.

“Canadians have embraced so many other actions to benefit the environment – like switching to reusable shopping bags and water bottles,” say Butts. “Now it’s time to tackle a behaviour that isn’t as convenient – our tendency to jump behind the wheel when we could walk, bike, or take transit.”

When asked what modes of transportation they’d use if they couldn’t drive for a week, three-quarters (74 per cent) said they would walk. When asked what would motivate them, more than 62 per cent of Canadians identified making a difference for the planet. WWF-Canada believes that once people try it, they will recognize that in many cases it is a viable option that can be built it into their routine regularly.

To celebrate the campaign WWF-Canada is hosting a free bike-in movie in Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto the evening of June 4 or 5 (depending on the city). Everyone who attends is encouraged to walk, bike or take transit to watch the classic movie E.T. for a great family outing. Attendees can bring blankets and snacks to complete the evening. More details at www.wwf.ca/movie.

The Numbers:
• Approximately 70-80 per cent of Canadians regularly drive to work.
• Transportation is responsible for 27 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, with passenger vehicles accounting for half of this total.
• Regular driving costs the climate and the pocketbook. According to the Canadian Automobile Association, driving a mid-sized sedan 18,000 km/year costs on average more than $8,440 in fuel, maintenance and other operational costs. Driving a mini-van costs over $11,200.

The Benefits of Leaving the Car at Home:
• Helps The Planet – Transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada which contributes to climate change and poor air quality.
• Better For Your Health – Getting out of the car is great exercise, especially if you are walking or biking, and helps keep our air cleaner.
• Saves Money – Driving is expensive especially when you consider rising gas prices, parking tickets, repairs, insurance, etc.
• Reduces Stress – Commuting to and from work and sitting in traffic is a huge source of stress for many Canadians.

How to Get Involved
From May 31 – June 6, Canadians are encouraged to try using sustainable, active transport instead of using the car. Participants can find more information and also win great prizes online at www.wwf.ca.

Pin it for the Planet is part of the Green CommUnity Program. Supported by partial proceeds from the sale of plastic shopping bags by Loblaw Companies Ltd, the Green CommUnity Program is one of WWF-Canada’s many efforts to engage Canadians to take part in planet-friendly actions every day. The program aims to inspire one million Canadians to make greener habits part of their daily routines, such as using reusable bags, turning down the heat and leaving their car at home.

About WWF-Canada
WWF-Canada (World Wildlife Fund Canada) is a member of WWF, one of the world's largest independent conservation organizations, active in more than 100 countries. WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature to thrive. In Canada, we create solutions to conservation issues important to Canadians and the world. WWF-Canada works collaboratively with governments, businesses and the public to help fight climate change, the single biggest environmental threat to our planet; conserve our oceans and freshwater resources; and educate and mobilize people to build a conservation culture. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

About the Survey
The telephone survey was conducted by Toronto-based Research House on behalf of WWF-Canada between April 16-21, 2010. The survey was conducted among a national random sample of 2,002 adults comprising 1,002 males and 1,000 females 18 years of age and older, living in Canada. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 2.19%, 19 times out of 20. Among those who drive regularly the number of respondents was 1,589. Based on this sample size the margin of error is +/-2.46%, 19 times out of 20.

Contact
Sarah McConnell/ Olivia Yu
Environics Communications
416-969-2717 / 416-969-2718
smcconnell@environicspr.com / oyu@environicspr.com

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