Sponsored Post – from Earth Day Austin
This blog was written by Janis in collaboration with the entire Earth Day Austin team (Liz Belete, Shane Johnson, Fatima Mann, and Jeff Dye).
Janis Bookout is the Executive Director of Earth Day Austin. The Earth Day ATX festival will take place on Saturday, April 13th at the campus of host and sponsor, Huston-Tillotson University. Production of the festival has changed hands, and Earth Day Austin is the new, independent, and locally-based nonprofit behind the festival. For more information, visit EarthDayAustin.com.
What is an ecosystem, and what does it have to do with mobility? You don’t think about biological systems when you think about cars, trucks, buses and bikes, or other options available for transportation, like our feet.
An ecosystem is the interaction within a network of living organisms and the nonliving components of their environment. The components of the system are linked together through the flow of energy. This is why we chose to feature the Mobility Ecosystem this year at Earth Day ATX.
So let’s look at the mobility ecosystem in Austin. In our ever-changing city of technology and innovation, we are familiar with emerging technologies and their impacts on our community. From rideshare programs to rental scooters, to our bike routes, to our transit system, to electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, we are aware of the many options, as well as their benefits and downsides. But when we relate to these options as singular and separate, we are missing the bigger opportunity.
The way we can meet our city’s climate goals for transportation, and the way we can transform our transportation system to serve ALL of our Austin communities, is to find solutions that meet the needs identified by our communities. Solutions made by our communities, not just for them, will ensure we develop an equitable system, a system that is responsive to our different and changing needs.
As an eco-conscious society, we want to move away from a fossil fuel-based, single occupancy vehicle model. But it is not as simple as implementing one, or even several solutions. Transportation is not only an enormous contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but it is also one of the biggest factors in economic mobility. To have a truly effective, efficient, equitable system, we need to simultaneously incorporate the emerging technologies, the policies and infrastructure that surround them, the ways in which we interface with them, and the access, or lack thereof, of all communities in our ecosystem.
Over the last few years I have been a real geek about all things climate. The more I studied, the more I have realized that when it comes to impacting emissions, individual actions and systemic changes are both desperately needed. We know we want to make a difference, but then we hop in our car and go about our business as usual, still carrying that thought. Nothing changes without accountability. Real change happens when you’re willing to say “I am the one to make a difference” about an issue. As I touched on earlier, we may be individuals, but we operate in an ecosystem. And systemic change requires collaboration.
We’re proud to showcase the Mobility Ecosystem at Earth Day ATX this year as a microcosm of Austin’s transportation system that you can explore yourself. The Mobility Ecosystem, was made possible with support from founding partners, Austin Energy, TxETRA and Z-Bikez. It is the hub to connect you with the full spectrum of transportation choices. From bikes to EV’s, e-scooters, skateboards and shared rides, you can explore the options, innovations, and issues in our Mobility Ecosystem. You’ll see cutting-edge electric, shared, and autonomous methods of transportation in our modern world.
Join us on April 13th at Huston-Tillotson University where we will feature interactive experiences from industry leaders, such as Lyft, JUMP, B-Cycle, Bird Rides, AutoNation, and RYDE. You can register to WIN an electric motorcycle, e-bike, or scooter from Z-Bikez. Yellow Bike Project will again coordinate bike giveaways for both children and adults. Learn about Austin Energy rebates for home EV charging equipment and affordable public charging options. And the Back to the Future car will also be in attendance! You’re encouraged to turn your thoughts into action, as we work towards supporting our Mobility Ecosystem in Austin. Visit The Mobility Ecosystem Facebook Page to learn more!
Please note – editorials and sponsored posts are written by guest writers to inform and educate the community on a variety of different viewpoints, as well as to share information about local eco-friendly businesses and organizations. However, they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Austin EcoNetwork.