Taking on the green revolution can be intimidating to some. There is so much that needs to be changed, that sometimes it seems much easier to pretend you don’t see. My favourite response from people is, “I’m not convinced any of the insert name of problem (global warming, gmo foods, etc) research is true.” That’s just a convenient way to justify inaction in my opinion. But for those of you looking to make a change that goes beyond throwing your pop can in the recycling, there are good places to start.
Yesterday I encouraged you to try a week with reduced meat consumption. The average North American’s meat consumption has more than doubled since the 1960s, at which point they were eating appropriate portions of meat. That means we’re getting alot of extra protein and fat in our diets where we don’t necessarily need it. But I digress.
Today’s topic is transportation. I used to be one to rely on my car on a daily basis, like many North Americans. I drove to work, the movies, the supermarket, the mall, church. I drove everywhere. I had done stints without a car before, and never minded public transit or walking, but let’s face it, having a car is convenient.
About half a year ago my sister and I started carpooling to work, stopping at the pool for a swim in the mornings. Initially she picked me up when the weather was crabby, but the pool was only six blocks from my house, so eventually I started walking. That lead to me walking more often to the library, which is in the same vicinity, and often to the grocery store. Then, a couple of months ago I realized that the pool was basically 1 km from my house, which was 1/3 of the way to work. If I could do 1 km, I could do 3. So I started walking to work after my swim. This was particularly convenient as my sister had ceased to come swimming with me. So then I was walking back and forth to work.
A few days ago the check engine light in my car came on. I took it to the mechanics, got it diagnosed and a misfiring piston looked at, only to find out there was nothing wrong. That set me back $180. Stupid. And then I needed a front wheel bearing replaced and that was estimated at $517 including parts and labour. That just seemed plain stupid considering I was now walking to church, work, the grocery store, the swimming pool, and the library. Really, I need my car about once or twice a week. And then, in two and a half months I planned to park it for a year, as I’ll be moving out to Toronto.
Since I’ll be going back to school, I really don’t have the extra cash to spend on what is rapidly becoming a luxery in my life, especially not if I only get to use it for 2 more months. So, I’m choosing to sell it. My bike tires are pumped up, my legs work well, and I live fairly centrally, so I can get to my standard shopping centers by bus within 20 minutes. So, with that, I’m back to cutting my carbon footprint by necessity. Thank goodness it’s summer and this is an option! With the ever rising gas prices, it’s another good reason to look at alternate forms of transit.
Now, I’m not asking you to rid yourself of your car, but do take a look at what is around you. If it’s within 1km, consider walking. If you’re going for groceries or something of the sort, invest in a rolling cart that you can drag along with you so you won’t be lugging around armfuls of groceries. Also, make sure you have comfortable, supportive shoes for walking. Like any form of exercise, you’ll never like it if you don’t have the proper equipment.
This is a small lifestyle change, and doesn’t require a large monetary output on your part, just some forethought. You may discover that you need to get groceries more often, as you can’t take as many home with you at once. That’s great! Your produce is always fresh. Just remember to give yourself the time you’ll need for the trip. Walking isn’t as quick as driving, but once you hear the birds chirping and the shining sun, you’ll be glad you got outside.