For Our Planet
19/07/2021

Biking for a better climate

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No other form of transport, apart from your own feet, has such a good environmental record as the bicycle. It produces no pollutants, no noise, takes up little space and is good for health and fitness. That's why we're getting on our bikes for this year's "Burda bewegt-Challenge"

On 21 or 22 July, all Burda employees are invited to get on their mountain bike, racing bike, electric bike or comfortable city bike and cycle for a good cause. The aim is to raise 10,000 euros for the Tribute to Bambi Foundation. Reason enough to ask Sweelin Heuss, our sustainability expert and head of For Our Planet, what added value cycling brings to the environment, what mobility looks like in the future and what means of transport she herself uses every day.

When did you last cycle, Ms Heuss?

This morning, to work! Since I no longer own a car, I cover all shorter distances by public transport or bicycle. If I need to get there more quickly or if it is very difficult to reach my destination in Hamburg, I use Moia or a car-to-go service. Within Germany, I use the train, even when going to the Alps – preferably with a stopover then.

What is the point of cycling instead of driving?

First of all, it is fun. Cycling brings you into contact with your environment. You are closer to people, experience your city, move around and your head gets a free airing. At the same time, cycling naturally has the best environmental footprint and, with zero emissions per kilometre, is an unbeatable means of transport in terms of climate protection.

Does that mean we can make the world a better place by cycling?

The bicycle is certainly not a general solution to all of the world's problems. But it is an important building block of the mobility transition, especially in urban transport.

In practice, this means e.g. a commuter who cycles 5 km to and from work can save around 300 kg of CO₂ emissions per year by not using a car.

What about electric cars? Are they really sustainable?

That depends on how quickly the electricity grid becomes completely green. If an e-vehicle is charged with electricity from fossil fuels such as coal, it naturally has a poor CO2 balance compared to charging with green electricity from wind or solar energy. The development of electrified vehicles must therefore be accompanied by further development in the field of renewable energies.

What else needs to change particularly urgently in German transport policy?

As far as the electric motor is concerned, we need innovations in the next few years. Questions about downsizing and the recyclability of batteries, for example, need to be solved. In my opinion, the discussion about the mobility transition is already being conducted properly and on a broad enough scale. However, if Germany wants to achieve its climate goals, it is important that the shift to environmentally friendly modes of transport takes place measurably and effectively.

What can each individual do in the area of mobility?

That is entirely individual. If you live on the outskirts of town, you won't cycle to work. But maybe you can carpool or discover the e-bike as an alternative. We often drive without gaining any time, so we can try something new like the bus or the bicycle. For longer journeys, the train can take us comfortably and quickly to our destination within Germany's borders and then it is a real alternative to the plane.

What is your passion project regarding the mobility of the future?

That we rediscover our cities as a common space in which we can move with joy and breathe in deeply.

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