"The greening of America is happening on a very personal and financial level. It builds on itself, gathering momentum from steps taken at home, on the road, at work, and in our spending and investing choices. The shift in car-buying habits from gas-guzzlers to fuel-sippers is a critical part of that overall process." - Chris Farrell, The New Frugality
What You Need To Know
- 54% of Americans would like to walk more
- 53% would like to bike more
- In the 1960's, nearly 70% of children walked or bicycled to school. Today, less than 10% go to school under their own power
- 28% of trips in the US are under one mile
- 48% are less than 3 miles
- 1.7% of trips are made by foot or bicycle
- Motor vehicle emissions represent 31% of carbon dioxide, 81% of carbon monoxide, and 49% of nitrogen oxide
- 60% of pollution created by automobiles occurs in the first few minutes of operation
- A four-mile trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air.
The Union of Concerned Scientists identified transportation as the most significant, consumer-related environmental problem. Why? Because of the profound contribution that cars and light trucks make to global warming (almost 30 percent of all greenhouse gasses). As people of faith, we must answer these questions each day:
- How do I get to work, school, shopping, and other places most efficiently and most environmentally friendly?
- How many pounds of carbon dioxide does my choice of transportation mode put into the air? (Click for chart)
- Is there a better alternative for my transportation?
- If I drive a car, what is the most environmentally responsible vehicle I can purchase? (Click for answer)
The U.S. Department of Transportation states that "The average United States driver travels 29 miles per day and is driving a total of 55 minutes per day" (Bureau of Transportation Statistics). This is over 20,000 hours per year!
If we walked more or bicycled for short errands, the benefits would be better air quality, more exercise for improved health, and less money spent on maintaining a vehicle.
Transportation is a network that ties together our churches, workplaces, homes, schools, and friends and families. More and more families are learning that living closer to the places they visit cuts down on the time spent in traffic, gives them more time with friends and family, and improves the overall quality of their lives.
Why Is Transportation an Issue of Faith?
Remember the question, "What would Jesus drive?" It was part of an early campaign to help Christians understand that the choices we make for transportation have an effect on the lives of other people. If we drive a car, we have made a choice to consume the raw materials that make the car, buy the gas or diesel that powers the car, spend resources to insure and maintain the car, and eventually deposit the car either through a trade-in or to the scrap-heap. It is a choice that uses energy and natural resources that are becoming scarcer and are not shared equally across the globe. As stewards of the earth given to us by a generous and gracious God, we are responsible for keeping the air clean and sharing the earth's resources with others. Every time we drive a car or use other means of fossil fuel-based energy, we are contributing to poorer air quality, using resources that someone else ma need more than we do, and contributing to global warming
What Can You Do?
- Ride a bicycle or walk to work, school, shopping, or for exercise.
- Take public transportation such as a bus or train.
- Find out your carbon footprint for travel by car or air and pledge to reduce it by 10% per year.
- Drive less and bunch your errands together on a circuit to save gas.
- If you purchase an auto, get the most energy efficient one you can afford and one that has an excellent record for dependability.
- Carpool to work, school, church, or other places.
- Vacation near your home to cut down on transportation.
Links and Resources