Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 6: Transportation

Links to all posts in the 31 Days to Greener Sustainable Living series at the bottom of the post.

Today, we're talking about a different type of pollution: air pollution. Cars are the biggest cause of air pollution releasing carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and benzene into the air. This ultimately affects our health much more concretely than waste in the landfill.



These gases are way more concentrated in cities where the density of cars if much greater. It is one of the reasons why more and more kids have asthma these days, with increase occurrence in cities.

So let's look at several ways we can reduce these gases and make the air we breathe cleaner and more refreshing.

1. Choose to walk or bike.

This is the best option and creates zero air pollution!

I personally bike everywhere as long as there isn't snow on the ground. But it's really easy to bike around where I live. Everything is very close by. School is 10 minutes away, grocery stores 5 minutes or less. Downtown takes half an hour, not that we go very often.


My bike :)

I LOVE biking! You can "park" just about anywhere! This city is really good with bike paths, but some streets are really in bad conditions and that makes it harder on the bikes, and the bum! Not to mention the amount of broken glass everywhere... but that's an other story. You can also instantly become a pedestrian. You don't have to pay for fuel!! Nor for public transportation. If it weren't for me biking, I wouldn't get much exercise these days...

There are some down sides. Like we can't carry too much food in our backpacks, or big or heavy items. But we manage.

When we go for groceries, we walk to the store, which is just 15 minutes away, and we have a trolley (pictured below) to carry our purchases. I'm perfectly fine doing that since we don't have many expenses attributed to owning a car, like insurance, fuel costs, maintenance, parking, not to mention the car itself.



2. Public Transportation

Taking the bus, metro, or train in to work every day has several benefits.

It minimizes air pollution since there is less cars on the road creating pollution, and it consequently reduces traffic which itself leads to increased air pollution because of idling cars.


Photo credit

I always enjoyed taking the bus to work or school. It gave me time to read books, to relax while I listened to music, and decreased my stress levels because I wasn't angry at the stupid drivers around me (yeah, I'm an angry driver, one bad thing I learned from my dad lol). I also never had trouble finding parking! Or paying for it.

Truth be told, I still had to drive to a park and ride and then take the bus, because my parents live in the suburbs, where the buses were extremely infrequent (3 times a day only, in the morning to go into town, and evenings to come back) and required super special passes. I did take the bus for a year while I worked, but I parked and rided when I went to university. It was still cutting my driving distance in 3, even if it did take me twice as long to get there. And the park and ride is completely free.

3. Carpool

In the same idea as public transportation, it reduces the number of cars on the road. If you and your spouse work close to each other, go to work together. Or maybe there's a neighbour that works in proximity to you that you could ride with. Alternate who drives. And the more the merrier! Good reason as any to et to know your neighbours more.



4. Maintain your car and be a good driver

Make sure your tires are properly inflated, you can waste a lot of gas, and create a lot of pollution, if they aren't!

Maintain your car, change the oil when it needs it, so that it's in tip top shape and will operate as efficiently as possible and reduce the emission of bad gases. Not only that, but a well maintained car will last longer and will stay out of the landfill that much longer.



Be a good driver!! I'm not talking about being curteous to other drivers, though that is also a good idea, but more in the sense of not being an aggressive driver. As in accelerate slowly, take your time to break, and don't drive too fast. All these will make your gas go further and limit the amount of air pollution your car emmits.

5. Plan your trips

Planning your trips into town will not only reduce your fuel consumption, but will also make the most of your time. Yes, this requires some forethought and organization, but it's well worth it. You'll have more time to do the things you love like spending time with your family, cooking, crafting, etc.

This means making 1 trip to go do the groceries, and run your errands, though you might want to keep the groceries last so that cold foods stay cold.

This is also where meal planning comes in handy. Buy your food for the week, or for 2 weeks, or for the whole month (that is a bit extreme, but Danielle of Blissful and Domestic does it!). You won't have to worry about what to put on the table every day, if you have the ingredients, and you will reduce the fuel you use!

Lastly, stop by to do errands on your way home from work, or ask your hubby to stop and buy the few things you might still need for supper.

Have you seen the trend so far?? All these methods with decrease the amount of fuel you use and will save you money! With the rising cost of fuel, isn't that incentive enough?!

6. Get a hybrid or electric car

For those that have extra money, or that are willing to invest some money, hybrid or electric cars are a great environmentally friendly solution. Though the money you save by plugging your car instead of fueling up will make up for it in the end...

There is even a tax credit if you buy a a hybrid or electric car, I've seen 7500$ in the US, and up to 8500$ in Canada (wiki; all hail mighty wiki! lol).


Nissan Leaf

7. Buy an electric scooter or e-bike

Less expensive than an electric or hybrid car, less tiring than biking long distances, an electric scooter is the perfect alternative for getting to work! Though not in the winter... My boyfriend really wants one of these bad boys.


Jademark e-bike

What's your favorite way of reducing air pollution?







I party at these parties.

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