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Blog: Humanist Voices

481997 traffic jamPhoto taken by Rogerio PerezI have an admission to make. For the last year, I have driven alone to work. The round trip, around 20 miles, has been convenient - yet laden with the stress of traffic and wasted time (at least 40 minutes per day spent at a steering wheel concentrating on the road). With rising fuel costs, the amount I spend on gas has been a significant part of my monthly budget. Also I recently had an accident that is probably going to skyrocket my car insurance rates.

Now let’s pretend the world doesn’t revolve around me, and look at the deleterious effect I had on the environment. Solely examining my work commute, I emitted more than 3200lbs of carbon dioxide in a year. Along with other Americans, that contributed to the more than 5500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide that we produce, on average. What’s the problem with that? CO2 is the leading greenhouse gas and accounts for about 85% of all greenhouse emissions related to human activity. The other car-emissions I emitted during my daily commute, like carbon monoxide, nitric acid vaporsparticulate matter etc.  may not be greenhouse gases, but contribute to lung cancer, asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, immune system deficiencies etc. ..the list goes on.

As Humanists, environmental stewardship should be one of our top priorities. Though the Twin Cities may not have the best public transportation network, it is certainly expanding. Moreover, Metro Transit is actively pushing folks towards better transit options. It is giving away prizes for signing up at  MyCommuterChallenge.org and pledging to use one of the alternative transportation options through June 30. You can extend the challenge beyond this date by tracking your trips with the TripTracker tool, for a chance to win $100 gift cards per month. Finding a carpool is also made easier through MetroTransit - it's obvious, four people riding in one car is better than four cars on the road. Enrolling in the Commuter Challenge also makes you eligible for the Guarenteed Ride Home program, where registered participants can request reimbursements up to four times per year or $100 in value for certain eligible trips. 

 

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Let's try to curb solo car usage from the regular, predictable trips in our lives, and move towards using buses, trains, carpools, bikes and other means of sustainable transportation available to us. The planet will thank us, and so will our wallets and our health. 


Archived Comments

  • Jennifer S.

    commented at 11:40 am, June 23, 2012

    Hello Again, Rohit,

    Thanks for your comments & the info! Alas, good road bikes are more expensive than I anticipated. So my plan now is to wait until the end of the season, to see if I can get in on a sale. Thanks again!
    ~Jennifer

  • Bob Aderhold

    commented at 12:02 am, June 14, 2012

    Another option is living within biking range of work. I'm fortunate to live 8 miles from work, a perfect bike commuting distance. I started riding to work in downtown Minneapolis almost 9 years ago and have been riding happily, through almost all weather, ever since. Cheers, Bob

    • Rohit

      commented at 1:01 am, June 17, 2012

      Another option is living within biking range of work. I'm fortunate to live 8 miles from work, a perfect bike commuting distance. I started riding to work in downtown Minneapolis almost 9 years ago and have been riding happily, through almost all weather, ever since. Cheers, Bob

      That's such a great point, Bob. Though I won't be able to bike to work from Minneapolis since it's too far, I will be using a bike to get to other places around town.

  • ~Jennifer S.

    commented at 10:10 pm, June 11, 2012

    Thanks for the thoughtful challenge, Rohit! Sorry to hear you were in an accident :{

    • Rohit

      commented at 7:51 am, June 13, 2012

      Thanks for the thoughtful challenge, Rohit! Sorry to hear you were in an accident :{

      Heavy traffic and stress are the best ingredients for an accident:) But luckily noone was hurt.

      Jennifer, do you currently drive alone to work? What do you think some challenges are to transition over to buses/carpools?

      • ~Jennifer

        commented at 7:38 am, June 14, 2012

        I drive alone to work. I work downtown, so in that regard commuting would be easy. But I have a couple commuting challenges. I work odd hours most days (9am-6:30pm). And, even more challenging, more often than not, I go straight from work to an evening activity. But I hope to buy a good road bike this weekend. Maybe I can experiment w/riding in on Fridays, when I only work half a day and can make the time for it. That might be a good start for me.
        Anybody know what are the ways people can hook up w/ others to commute?
        Thanks, gentlemen!

        • Rohit

          commented at 12:58 am, June 17, 2012

          I drive alone to work. I work downtown, so in that regard commuting would be easy. But I have a couple commuting challenges. I work odd hours most days (9am-6:30pm). And, even more challenging, more often than not, I go straight from work to an evening activity. But I hope to buy a good road bike this weekend. Maybe I can experiment w/riding in on Fridays, when I only work half a day and can make the time for it. That might be a good start for me.
          Anybody know what are the ways people can hook up w/ others to commute?
          Thanks, gentlemen!


          That's great, did you end up buying the bike? I'm planning to buy one too once I move down to Minneapolis in a couple of weeks. Between riding a bike and taking the bus, my car use should diminish substantially.

          MetroTransit has a great tool to find rideshare matches. You can create an account at http://metrotransit.greenride.com/Account/SignIn/?ReturnUrl=%2fCommuteCalendar to find carpool matches and gives you access to the Trip Tracker I mentioned above in the blog post.

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