Everyone needs to work – in some way or another. And most people have a commute. According to NPR, the average commute in the US is 25 minutes! That’s a whole lot of time just to get to and from work.
I’ve recently given up my 45-60 min commute for a 0 minute commute, but I acutely remember how awful it can be. Whether you drive, walk, bike, or take public transportation to work, try to change up your routine a bit and see if you can at least decrease your negative impact on the earth.
1. Obvious option: walk, bike, or carpool to work
Okay, so this is truly the most obvious thing you can do, but it makes such an impact that it can’t be ignored. Even if you can’t find an alternative commuting option everyday, walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transit on some days is helpful. If there’s no public transit and it’s just too far to bike/walk, try talking to your neighbors about where they work and see if they work nearby or you could set up a couple days to drive together. You’d be amazed as how small of a world it is!
2. Check the traffic before heading out
There are a few really great internet sites, as well as the radio, that can give you traffic updates. If you have a couple different routes you can take, check the traffic in advance and avoid a longer drive with more idling. Google Maps or Traffic.com can both provide traffic data and time estimates for your commute.
3. Bring your own mug to the coffee shop
I know this one can be annoying, especially if you don’t plan on going to the coffee shop until you pass it and get the urge for some caffeine, but it’s a good idea to bring your own mug to the coffee shop. You’ll reduce the amount of waste to throw the cup away or recycle it, and you’ll reduce the amount of energy in the future for making new disposable cups. Try keeping a travel mug in your car. Plus, a lot of people are starting to do this, so you’ll no longer have as many cashiers confused when you tell them you have your own cup.
4. Park in the shade
If it’s hot out, try to park in the shade. This will decrease the energy needed to cool your car down on the way home. The amount of green savings is minimal, but every action counts!
5. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
The more the elevator is in use, the more energy is being used. Take the stairs if you can and you’ll have the added bonus of burning a few extra calories.
What do you do? Are there any actions you do on your way to/from work that can help us all out?
Top photo by burningimage