March 14, 2021
How Covid-19 Triggered Sustainable Changes in the Automotive Industry
The Covid-19 pandemic that started over a year ago has had a tremendous impact on our lives so far. We all got affected either by the disease or hardships it caused in everyday life. So did numerous businesses and industries. However, some sectors, such as the automotive, while suffering losses on one hand, also saw significant changes which led to positive results, especially for the environment.
Less consumerism in the car and transportation world
It comes with no surprise that car manufacturers sold far fewer cars during the pandemic than before. As a result of Covid-19, many people decided that their cars were still good enough and didn’t need replacing with new ones. This is an excellent job from the environmental point of view and it would be great not to get back to the old habit of buying a brand new vehicle from the dealership every two or three years.
To keep this trend regardless of the pandemic, the best response from the auto manufacturers would be an effort to put an end to the reign of planned obsolescence and make their cars last. After all, is there any reasonable need for a facelift every two years?
Sadly, vanity of buyers who want to show off the latest car model still is not uncommon. At the same time, however, more and more people start to realise that keeping things they have for longer helps spend less money and save the planet. We are beginning to acknowledge that even small decisions we are making today will have an effect on a much larger scale.
What we can see now is the emergence of conscious consumerism. Before buying something, we ask ourselves if we really need it and what impact it may make globally. This change is all about a shift from creating the demand to demanding more from the industry. We have already begun considering the social, economic, and environmental impact of our shopping decisions and a significant part of that is due to changes made by the Covid pandemic in the scope of just over one year.
Drop in greenhouse gases and sustainability growth
The global economy suffered a gigantic blow because of the decrease in tourism. Covid-19 forced us to stay at home, travel less and avoid unnecessary risks. Including those involved with spending our annual leave on the other side of the world. Airlines came to a virtual standstill. We used cars and buses less often. And all of that turned out to be a good thing for the environment. Air and road traffic contribute to almost 15% of global CO2 emissions, so since early 2020, our planet has finally been able to take a deeper breath.
After many years of steady growth in the global greenhouse gases emission, we could finally see them dropping by an astonishing 7%. That was an unexpected, yet very welcome side effect of the pandemic.
The attitude of many people changed for the better too. For example, rather than use public transport, we chose bicycles for the daily commute more often. And bicycle sales skyrocketed. Those simple facts not only facilitated social distancing but also doubled the contribution to our health, helping us stay fit, therefore reducing the odds of succumbing to the disease.
Let’s beat Covid but keep its positive effects
Green changes are what we need at the moment. With vaccinations programmes underway, we all hope that Covid-19 will shortly be nothing but a scary memory from the past. Let’s not allow things to go back to business the way they were before, though. The environmental changes, which are happening before our very eyes, can be stopped or slowed down.
We can clearly see the change, and the good news is that societies begin to understand the need to persevere. What we need at the moment is both to apply pressure on the powers that be and act as watchdogs. It is also paramount to keep the environment in our minds every time we cast our ballots.
A better world for ourselves and our children is within our reach and it finally seems that we will be the change we have always wanted to see in this world. Greenhouse gases reductions, a healthier lifestyle, saving money, rather than spending it on new things and thinking about natural resources… Let’s embrace those changes and make them last.
Giles Kirkland is an environmentally conscious car expert with a passion for clean technologies within the motoring industry. Apart from commenting on the latest automotive innovations, he also enjoys sharing his knowledge with other sustainable living enthusiasts. You can find him on Twitter.
Great guest article Giles. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and insight!