Photo: Rodrigo Basuare
In November of 2006, New York City resident Colin Beavan, along with his wife and daughter, set out to live with no net environmental impact.
Fast forward three years later, add the Huffington Post, and you have No Impact Week. According to the website, the goal is to “demonstrate ways in which small actions in our daily lives can have a profound impact on our world.” Together, they’ve provided a daily guide with steps you can take to lessen your impact over the course of a week. Each day has a different theme.
I’m joining over 4,000 people to take on this challenge to identify what impact my actions (or lack of action) are having, and to find out what areas of my lifestyle I can change to balance out my carbon footprint a bit more.
The first thing to do was to make a list of everywhere I’m going today and how I usually get there. My list would be work, home, maybe the gym. The drive to work isn’t really negotiable, because my commute is 25 miles each way, but a couple years ago, I joined the Prius revolution. Going from 27 miles per gallon to 42 miles per gallon definitely saves money but also dramatically reduces my environmental impact.
I tried to think of another way to impact my carbon footprint, and remembered that another preschool teacher lives near me, so I’m going to ask her to carpool a couple days a week. Luckily, the gym is right down the street from me, so it will be easy to hop on my bike to get there. As a bonus, the bike ride can double as my workout warm up!
According to the No Impact Guide, 50% of trips are less than two miles away. I’m committing to riding my bike or walking if I just need to pick up a couple items from the grocery store.
Is there mass transit near you? Taking public transportation saves money on car maintenance, gas, and you don’t have to worry about the stress of traffic. Most major cities have a metro or bus system that you can take advantage of. For more information or to find a transit system near you, check here.
If you have to drive, some suggestions to increase mileage include keeping your tire pressure where it’s supposed to be, turning off the AC, accelerating gradually, and turning off your car if you’re not moving. Change the way you drive by learning about hypermiling techniques to save gas.
Today, I’ve also been keeping track of the things I’ve been eating to get ready for Wednesday’s challenge: food.
Want to dust off your bike and get those wheels rolling? Matador has lots of guides and resources for cyclists, including:
and many more in our archives!