Week 1 – Alternative Transport

OK, I admit it. I went to put the lettuce in my mouth, got distracted by a snow day, strapped on my board and left it out in the sun to wilt. Rather than throwing it out consumer style I’m picking off the outside bits, feeding them to my imaginary goat (whom I also make imaginary organic cheese from and lives a beautiful free-range lifestyle) and am making a salad with it. This is all a fancy way of saying I let my ECO challenge sit on the compost mound rather than plant any trees aka write any articles. So, with a belated celery stick flourish …

Week 1 – Alternative Transport

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I’m a big fan of a car ride. Picture your childhood Afgan Hound (I’m about to compare myself to this dog so decided to choose an elegant high-class breed to trick you into thinking I am also expensive and not covered in mud) when it realises that it gets to go in the car. That’s me – flailing paws, drool and all. Except I like to do this alone. What’s that – you need sugar sugar? The neighbour looks very busy and probably has a grudge against us after I played Taylor Swift’s ’22’ song 52 times in a row. I will selflessly drive to the local grocery store and get it for you. Fast forward to two hours later and I’ve lapped the city 4 times humming to the tune of a very cool off beat indie album (that sounds suspiciously like Taylor Swifts album ‘Red’ on repeat), forgotten the sugar and need to go back to the grocery store.

While enjoyable, and obviously highly cultural, this behaviour is also environmentally damaging and irritating to the person waiting for the sugar. So what exactly is the damage inflicted by all these car shenanigans (other than gear stick bruises while, lets say making out, on a first date to ‘Blank Space’)?

Environmental Issues

By 2020 it has been projected there will be 1.2 billion cars world wide. On average a typical passenger vehicle emits 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. If even only half of these cars are driven regularly that means on average 2.28 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere each year just from our trusty rust bucket boom boxes. Carbon dioxide is one of the primary greenhouse gases contributing to the whole Global Warming issue (if we have reached an in pass with the dropping of this term it’s probably best that we part ways here, my mother always told me that if I have nothing nice to say I should keep my mouth shut and she’s a lot taller than me so I don’t want to piss her off) and is also a large factor in the acidification of the ocean. I’m a big fan of not slowly cooking, sea stars and without the oceans we wouldn’t have been gifted with ‘Finding Nemo’ so this is obviously a major issue.

Lots of cars also means lots of infrastructure which leads to the destruction of natural habitat, the use of valuable finite raw materials and interruptions to your hangover sleep ins (that in my case are definitely always created by organic vegan wine and not old bottles of Malibu I found in the back of my clothes cupboard). However if this infrastructure is not put in place congestion from too many cars leads to loss of economy in wasted time and resources and restricts the capability for economic growth within a country. What a conundrum (great word)!

So what are more environmentally friendly suggestions?

Never drive anywhere EVER and shame anyone who does drive. OK obviously that is extreme and unattainable unless you are a self-sufficient hermit (note to self – look into the benefits of becoming a hermit) and a bit of a See You Next Tuesday. After a good web hunt so I didn’t have to interact with live people as part of the whole side project hermit thing the following was suggested –

  • Carpool
  • Take the bus
  • Cycle to work
  • Work from home
  • Buy a ‘green’ car
  • Invest in horse drawn transport

My experience

My bank account is currently a home for awkward visiting out of town moths so upgrading from my Kia that I borrowed from my much more financially stable brother was out of the question. I walk to work so saying that I cycled all week like a champ would have been cheating and I only put in the the horse thing because I like ponies. I thought about floating the whole working from home thing to the boss and then realised I need to eat and have a bank account of moths to maintain. As I live in a rural area devoid of public transport there was just one option left … the dreaded carpool.

What’s that, you want me to talk to real life human people – this seems really counter intuitive to the whole hermit practice thing! Despite my reservations I put out the feelers and got a lift to Jindabyne to do my grocery shopping. I’ll admit I was very annoyed that I had to plan my trip around other people (in case you haven’t gathered I have trouble acting like a adult human more than occasionally) but you know what, it was a thumbs up experience. I planned out my eating week so I only had to go once, which meant I budgeted much better, saved money and made less impulse chocolate purchases. We combined the trip with a fun girls dinner out and even dropped by the late night op-shop where a snagged a questionably fierce ski suit onesie. What a win!

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Feeling more confident I took it one step further and jumped on-board a weekend road trip. I usually prefer driving myself so I can faff around at home for an indefinite period of time but, even without Taylor Swift as the perfectly nuanced background of the trip, I had a lot more fun. We stopped at unique attraction spots, I got some great pictures to load on Instagram so my ex’s can “accidentally” see how fantastic I am now and also got to rationalise buying terrible snacks as a sacrifice to the group hive collective.

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The environmental challenges outcome

Achievable – 8 leaves out of ten. Getting on board with neighbours, work mates and the local carpool Facebook groups was easy and my two friends were suspiciously pleased to be hanging out with me in a town where no one else knew them.

Affordable – 9 leaves out of ten. I saved on petrol as everything was spilt and managed to budget my weeks groceries much more effectively.

Beneficial – 9 leaves out of ten. I took at least one car off the road for the week with my actions!

Healthy – 5 leaves out of ten. Although the act of carpooling didn’t make me healthier as a direct outcome it did mean that I was less likely to purchase chocolate cake mix as an impulse item.

Enjoyable – 7 leaves out of ten. I had a great time carpooling and road tripping but I’m factoring in the potential for awkward silences, having to hold in farts and week old MacDonald wrappers.

Final response – This one was a no brainer, get on the alternative transport bus girlfriend.

Next week – Beg, borrow …. probably don’t steal.

Ps. Please don’t judge me for liking T-Swizzle. Girls got game and as the below photo shows I’m easily impressed as I have absolutely zero.

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