Tackling two crises at once

Climate Change and Mental Health are two crises that we hear a lot about. It’s fantastic to see climate friendly transport solutions being a necessary and growing focus in our work. How often do we think about mental health friendly transport solutions? The great thing is that climate and mental health friendly solutions are very similar!

Being Mental Health Awareness Week, I’ve been thinking about the work we do in transportation, and how it can play a part in the five ways to wellbeing:

  • Connect / me whakawhanaunga
  • Keep learning / me ako tonu
  • Take notice / me aro tonu
  • Be active / me kori tonu
  • Give / tukua

As transport practitioners, our key opportunities to contribute to these are to enable more active travel and foster community and social interactions.

In our toolbox for more sustainable and climate friendly transport, a key lever is reducing vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT). This involves integrated planning to enable more local living and reduce the need to travel, and shifting to sustainable modes such as walking, cycling and public transport. We also need to reduce emissions from ‘necessary’ vehicle trips, and improve resilience by adapting to climate change and ensuring communities are equipped to respond positively to climate events.

There are some good crossovers here – our ways to climate friendly transport also contribute to wellbeing! 

Here’s a diagram I whipped up to demonstrate some of these connections:

two crises diagram

So, while we focus on decarbonising transport and adapting to climate change, we’re also contributing to wellbeing and mental health. Let’s recognise it, kōrero about it and keep it up!

open play street