Last Sunday a few Johannesburg Guesthouse owners and I did the Radio 702 Walk the Talk. Apart from the walk being fabulous as always, we were struck by the amount of people wearing t-shirts that said ‘Be an Ecomobility Champion’. I’ve heard the word Ecomobility being thrown around but I’ve never been quite sure what it means.
Ecomobility focuses on any kind of urban mobility that is sustainable, environmentally friendly, easy, inexpensive and accessible. Simply put, it is a way of saying ‘ditch your car’ and instead ride a bike, walk or use public transport.
Johannesburg is a city on the move and with our electricity challenges (load-shedding) and growing poulation, our roads can be a nightmare. The City of Johannesburg has been pretty pro-active by building bike lanes, particularly around university and student areas, and with the ever growing Rea Vaya bus system.
But getting people to change their habits is difficult. We are a nation of one man one car, especially in urban areas! Johannesburg Ecomobility is therefore challenging South Africans to find ways to travel that are not by car.
The Ecomobility World Festival takes place 1 to 31 October 2015. The Sandton CBD is being transformed into an Ecomobile Quarter presenting a real-life vision of car free urban living in the future. People will be encouraged to walk and cycle and companies in Sandton will show that commuting to work is possible without a car.
In addition there will be an exhibition to display innovative vehicles together with information on public transport. Social media is a big part of ecomobility and people are encouraged to post photographs of themselves on their bikes / busses or feet, to firstname.lastname@example.org where they will be posted to the Ecomobility world facebook page.
It it going to be really interesting to see how Sandton copes in a car-free zone. I already know people who are choosing to walk a few kms to and from work rather than get stressed in the traffic. I’m with them and tomorrow, as long as I plan my time well, I’m going to walk to and from my meetings.
And that takes me back to the Radio 702 Walk the Talk. We walked 15 kms last week, the weather was fab, the route was amazing and there is a real community spirit when people walk. They walk, talk and look out for one another. We need to do it more often!
www.ecomobilityfestival.org Check it out.