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Running on Fumes

We have all read the headlines “Is it Time to Ditch Your Car?”, “Are Electric Vehicles the Way of the Future?”, “New Pipeline Expected to…”, “Gas Prices Surge…” or others along those lines. It can be hard not to get too worked up about these issues when our lives are so structured around our transportation, but there are opportunities for everyone to support a more sustainable (and cost effective) future. To do so will just require some more out of the box thinking, and maybe also leaving our comfort zone where we drew the lines for said box.

Most of the solutions that I would have to suggest are along the lines of what I’m sure you have already thought of, but you may be wondering about the social implications of those solutions may be. For example, if I choose to bike to work, what are people going to say about the way I look after pulling off my helmet, or if I sweat? Obviously, there are some times where it would be more appropriate to use a vehicle and in these cases it is a good idea to do so. Yet, if you think that it may be plausible for you to walk or ride somewhere instead of driving, this is a perfect chance to get a bit of exercise in addition to transportation. As well, if you know someone who likes to be active, support them when they give active transportation a try. This is the type of mentality switch that we would like to see!

My favourite method is the use of shared transport which includes carpooling and public transport. In addition to being much cheaper than driving a personal vehicle, using shared transport reduces emissions and the number of vehicles on the road, meaning less likelihood of accidents and less “wear and tear” on a personal vehicle. Our public transport system’s offered by Grand River Transit, Kiwanis Transit provide bus schedules online so that one doesn’t need to sit around and waste too much time confused as to when the bus will arrive. From my years of experience, I can vouch that they do a good job of showing up within a few minutes, so if you plan your trip beforehand, using public transit can be a fairly fast and reliable method. Similarly, carpooling (especially for long distances) is a good way to get some company for your drives and save fuel. The hardest part of this is usually finding someone whose schedule lines up with yours, but if you know someone is going the same way as you, try offering them a ride. If not, there are many rideshare applications that can be good for this purpose.

We often forget about all of the costs associated with driving around: gas, environment, parking, vehicle wear, mental stimulation, driving laws, time stuck in traffic… The idea is that reducing our time in the drivers seat can be very beneficial, we just need to change how we perceive alternate options to driving and put in a little bit of effort to make the most out of your outings. Did you know you can make a trip plan on Google Maps so that you avoid travelling back and forth so much? Or maybe consider bringing a book along for the tour so you can fill the time productively instead of making so many trips? These things are pretty easy and will benefit you a lot! It’s time to be smart with ourselves and with the planet!


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