Over the last 13 years, we here at CleanTechnica have built one of the most loved cleantech and clean economy news site in the world. We’re happy about that and feel lucky to have had the success we’ve had, but we’re also clear-eyed about how we did that: By covering key sectors that lots of people are interested in tracking and understanding — obsessively.
We know that current global climate news isn’t encouraging, but the expansion of the clean economy is. The growth in wind power, solar power, and electric vehicles in the past decade has been astounding, even for those of us who expected it would be so rapid and strong. One of the things that is particularly interesting to us now is that the clean economy is expanding well beyond its traditional roots to include plant-based “meat,” more sustainable agriculture practices, green mining, and more. Some of these emerging clean economy areas are significant because they are disrupting really powerful incumbent sectors — like wind power and solar power have been displacing coal and will do so to natural gas next. The clash of the old and the new is interesting and exciting — a tale as old as time.
But there are also new areas of the clean economy that are a combination of the new and the old, carrying with them the promise of improving the way we live our daily lives in ways that link the future and the past.
If you’ve ever grunted in frustration while trying to find a parking space on crowded city streets, then you may have considered that the companies that are making and renting electric scooters and bikes are just such a sector. They form a new industry known these days as “micromobility.” This emerging industry is creating a new, additional way for people to travel short distances outside of a car — and reclaim a portion of their lives that has been lost to advances in technology and ever growing urbanization and complication of life.
As cities grapple with the financial hit to their restaurants and bars that the coronavirus pandemic has led to, many are looking for ways to attract and keep visitors and residents. Their search has created an opportunity to convert cityscapes built for automobile travel into truly safe and comfortable areas for walking or riding two-wheelers while avoiding the hassle and stress of car travel.
Micromobility is a global conversation we don’t want to miss, and don’t want to be behind on. So, we’re announcing today that we’re going to begin reporting much more on micromobility companies, products, and practices going forward.
As we launch into this, though, I’m extending an open invitation to you, our readers, to send us your thoughts on what and how we cover the micromobility industry. I also want to know what formats you want that coverage to take. We’ve got a lot of flexibility — including CEO interviews, webinars, and even panels of reporters who have covered the micromobility space — but I’ve learned in the last 10+ years that the best way for us to do our job is to listen to dedicated and thoughtful readers. (You can send any such thoughts to email@example.com at any time.)
I lived car-free for 15 years, and I still tell anyone who asks (or doesn’t ask) that it’s the best way to live. There are not too many clear ways that a vast number of people could change their daily habits and without a doubt benefit immensely, but living a car-free life is one of them. (Ironically, I don’t live such a life right now myself, because I moved back to Florida a few years ago for the weather and the beaches — and Florida is very unfriendly to car-free life, especially when you have a couple of young kids. Though, I do expect to live car-free again someday — or at least hope to.) I also studied related topics for several years and did my master’s thesis on the relationship between bicycle travel and different types and qualities of bicycle infrastructure in Montgomery County, Maryland, and the city of Delft in the Netherlands. So, in short, I have much background on this topic and pre-existing thoughts about it. However, the world is constantly changing and the industry is not the same as it was in 2007. So, I’m sure there are many great new lessons and tips to learn and share with others.
Electric scooters and bikes aren’t just fun. They are tools of a burgeoning new industry that can drive a transformation in urban mobility, one that results in tremendous benefits to our health, our state of mind, our climate, and our future.
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