These Boots (or feet?) were Made for Walking

My car landed in Germany about 4 weeks ago, but I actually got my feet in it this week. Check of task # 30 go a week without using my car. The intention behind creating this goal was to reduce my carbon “footprint” AKA Gore-style on the environment. And sure, the move made accomplishing the goal rather convienient in terms of timing, and the first week didn’t really make much of an impact on my car-lessness. Correction: the first 3-4 weeks. Sure, there was the time I paid $29 for a taxi to get to my tour pick up at 6am, and the tour cost $60 on top of that. OF course, it motivated me to request a return ride back with a family that has me over for grilled pizza later that week (yummy to my tummy and spirit). And I bummed rides from people to the markets, or other places. But overall, I didn’t feel deprived.

Until I moved into my house and was sans car for the week. The walk into work was 45 minutes, the biking 30 and UPHILL in scary German thoroughfare. And the week was rainy. And although the fridge small, yo, I wanted to continue marketing the end of the outdoor produce picking. And maybe it’s just an American thing? But, yeah, moving into a new house, I kept writing down things I longed to buy, but needed a car to travel there.

So after, no kidding, 12 steps to obtain my car and actually drive it (customs, insurance, bank accrediation, registration, inspection, license plate procurement gas card verification…not to mention getting my license!) I was relieved. Yesterday, I finally bought a wall clock! And I’ve noticed that I feel more independent, but also….more alone this past week.

Are Cars a problem? I do think so. Not only because they are dirty  but they somewhat inspire a dissconnection from others in a way (have you seen CRASH…awesome flick!).

I know a woman that only drives 100 miles a week. That’s it. I haven’t counted, but I think I am around there this week. When living in the States, Sunday was my “rest” day from the car. LOVED it! But even getting a neighboor who worked 5 minutes from me to stick to our committment of carpooling 2 times a week was a challenge. She didn’t want to “burden” me by making me “wait on her” for another 20 minutes. True, times I was a-testy, but hello??? Patience takes Growing!

I know I am a numbers tracker (remember! I count silly things like dollars spent, taxes, miles run, minutes lapsed) but these might be some numbers to consider.  Personally, how many times a week are you alone in your car?

232 million Number of registered vehicles in the U. S. That’s almost one per person!

600 gallons Average amount of gasoline consumed by one U. S. car each year.

12000 pounds Amount of carbon dioxide emitted one from U. S. car each year.

240 Number of trees needed to absorb the 12.000 pounds of carbon dioxide emitted from one U. S. car each year.

2.7 trillion Number of miles U. S. cars and light trucks traveled in 2004. That’s the equivalent of taking 10 million trips to the moon.

5% Percent U. S. population is of the world population.

30% Percent of world’s automobiles in the United States.

45% Percent that the United States Contributes to the world’s automotive carbon dioxide emissions.

4 Number of car companies that support a national cap On global warming pollution. They are Ford, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and Toyota.

0 Number of bills passed by Congress to cut global warming pollution.

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5 thoughts on “These Boots (or feet?) were Made for Walking

  1. Oh yes, the joys of shipping a car internationally. What a pain that is. I am happy to say mine should be paid off when we move again and that will eliminate one of those 12 steps! It was tough without the car. One thing I like is that the island is small and I rarely use any gas so I do feel better about my driving versus the environment. Not to say that I wouldn’t drive more if I could. For me driving (at leats in the States) was my only personal time which meant break out the blue tooth and make your calls to the family. If I was at home I was too busy with things, so the car and the traffic gave me an excuse to relax and talk to family.

  2. Those are some startling stats, wow. I try hard not to drive, whenever I can. I live close enough to the grocery store to walk whenever possible, and I don’t drive for work, as I work at home! I also got a bike last Christmas, which allows me to get to many places fast, I LOVE it! I’ve had my car for almost 7 years and it only has 43,000 miles. Isn’t that pretty good??

  3. oh man those are some crazy numbers! as much as i love my car i’m so happy i live on such a small campus that i don’t need it very much and there are options for public transportation very nearby!

  4. I miss living in a place where it was possible for me to depend upon public transit. It was always very freeing actually. Now I am 100% dependent upon my car. There are certain things I can do without but not easily. I would love to only drive 100 miles per week. That would be bliss.

  5. Here in the U.S., we totally need to invest more in public transportation. In NYC, hardly anyone has a car, and it works great. You can be anywhere you need to be in your own borough in under an hour. ALL cities should have subway systems like this, and more rural areas really need to step it up and expand reliable bus and train service. And, of course, we need to push for more “clean” cars.

    I second the nomination of Crash. Excellent movie. Didn’t it win Best Picture too?

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