This month, I am going to be focusing on reducing the amount I drive. Car emissions are a major contributor to global warming, and I would really rather not be contributing to dooming our planet. Alas, I live in America, a car centered country, and have been raised in a society that relies on cars. I don't drive as much as an average American; my husband and I share one car, are mindful of where we are taking it, and try to walk when possible. However, I use the car to get to work, run errands, and go on adventures on a regular basis. I am not willing to give that all up quite yet, but I am willing to reduce the amount that I drive. The funny thing is, as I write this, we are getting ready to go on a family road trip, so any driving reduction I do this month will be completely outweighed by the thousand or so miles we will be adding to the odometer. However, I hope that my reductions in driving will be a permanent change, and can help to "justify" using the car for occasional family road trips.
Anyways, this month I am going to be focusing on reducing needless driving. I am often in a hurry (trying to get 2 kids ready) and so I drive out of convenience. I also can't ride a bike with Finn and Phoebe (she is still too young for our Burley), so I drive when walking seems too far. We do take the bus a good deal, but for things like a big grocery shopping outing, it doesn't work to take the bus with 2 kids and try and carry a bunch of bags. So sometimes not driving is not really an option. OK, it could be an option, but my lifestyle would have to change. A LOT. So, I will still drive, but only when I have to. Here's what I am planning on doing:
- I will take the bus to work whenever possible. Sometimes, this is not an option as taking the bus takes up to 1.5 hours each way (I live about a 15 minute drive from my work, but there is no good/reliable bus route to take during high traffic times), and sometimes these long commutes don't work with the childcare I have scheduled. But, when possible, I will bus it. I am also going to consider riding my bike to work more often. I sometimes bike to my field trips, depending on where they are, but I would like to look into biking to campus as well. I have very little time alone, and biking sounds more fun than driving for sure.
- I will be diligent about not taking the car for shorter trips that could easily be walked. This may sometimes require more advance planning on my part (and will require motivation during those lazy times and during rainy weather), but it will also help me lose those lingering pregnancy pounds.....
- When I do use the car to run errands, I will try and run a bunch of errands at once to pack all of my trips into one outing. That will mean less miles driven overall.
- If I can't walk, I will always try and take the bus before I consider driving. Again, this will take more advance planning on my part, but I honestly hate driving anyways. It will be better for the earth and better for me.
- That said, I know that I will still drive. We will be driving on our road trip, we will drive to take the dogs hiking, we will drive when there is no other easy way to get somewhere. I walk to get most of our groceries, but I will still drive to do big stock-up trips and to run other errands that aren't walkable. So, I know I won't be perfect, but I also know that I can do better. Let's see how much better I can do!