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Going to work is something you do almost every day. Therefore, changing your transportation habits for a green commute can exponentially shift the way you impact the environment over your lifetime.
Here are three smart ways you can approach making your daily commute more environmentally friendly.
1. Do Your Research
According to NASA’s Earth Observatory website, humans contribute 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions to the Earth’s atmosphere each year by burning fossil fuels.
Natural carbon dioxide emissions far exceed this amount, coming in at about 788 billion tons per year. However, organic processes reabsorb these carbon dioxide emissions, preventing them from staying in the atmosphere and affecting the planet.
Human contributions to carbon dioxide and other emitted gases have no such natural balance. In the United States, 29% of total greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. So, one of the best ways you can personally contribute to lowering greenhouse gases is how you get around day-to-day.
Many people drive daily, increasing hidden environmental costs of production, gas extraction and processing, and emissions while a car is running. To find out how your specific vehicle may impact the environment, check out the United States’ government resource on fuel and emissions economy.
2. Consider Your Options
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to car emissions. American society is structured around fast, efficient transportation, and cars are often the easiest option to get where you need to go.
However, there are transportation alternatives you can consider. See if one of these options might fit with your lifestyle:
- Walk to work: If you live close to your place of employment, walking there is ideal. Walking has many health benefits, so choosing to hoof it will positively impact you and the atmosphere.
- Ride a bike: Riding a bike is the next step up in speed. You’ll burn more calories, get places faster and still have a low impact on the environment. Biking to work can also save you a significant amount of money, both on the price of your vehicle and the everyday cost of transportation. Bike “fuel” options range from sweating it out on lower-end models to covering 70-100 miles on one battery with high-end electric models.
- Take the bus/subway/train: Public transportation is another easy option. You’ll get where you’re going quickly, without the stress of navigating traffic. Because this method of travel is hands-free, you can also spend commuting time reading or learning. Getting your body moving early in the morning getting to your stop can also benefit your focus and productivity.
- Carpool: If you need to drive, consider carpooling with colleagues or friends to reduce the total impact of drivers on the road. Carpooling is also a stimulating way to start the day with conversation and connection.
- Consider going electric: Electric cars are an increasingly popular option, with companies even moving into electric trucks. Electric vehicles have some drawbacks, such as energy sources, but they don’t burn fossil fuels while on the road.
- Drive differently: The way you drive affects your fuel usage. Start and stop gradually, take care of your vehicle and don’t let your car idle. This way, you can lower environmental impact and lengthen the life of your ride.
3. Change Your Habits
Research suggests that many people say they want to change their transportation to be more environmentally friendly. However, when offered the opportunity to do so, they often turn it down.
One of the reasons for this has to do with the idea of sustainability. This word is often used to describe the way lifestyle choices affect the environment.
However, there are different elements of sustainability in each person’s life. For instance, people are also concerned about how much time they spend getting to and from work and how much their transportation costs.
Riding a bike to work isn’t sustainable year-round if you live somewhere with a lot of snow or if it rains a lot. If you live far away from your place of work, walking there could take too much time to make it worthwhile for you.
If you want to change your transportation habits, you need to find ways to make these changes easy and convenient – ideally, better than what you were doing before.
Green Means Go
One of the most effective ways to cut down your impact on the atmosphere is by going green with your transportation habits. It often has added benefits of saving you money and increasing your fitness level.
There’s a way for everyone to go a little greener. Take the first step today.