Convenient Truths: Reduce Your Transportation Impact


While power plants make the biggest contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, many of us automatically think of our cars when considering our own carbon footprints. So, we fully expect that a sizable number of the videos entered in Treehugger and Seventh Generation's Convenient Truths contest will involve less polluting ways of getting from here to there. From hybrid power to pedal power, we've got plenty of options available for getting where we need to go while still lightening our climate impact.

  • In the US especially, it's often hard to get around without a car. When shopping for a new one, consider one of the hybrid or higher-mileage options on the market.

  • Even with a more efficient vehicle, take a look at how you drive: the US Department of Energy and the EPA offer tips on how to get the most mileage from a gallon of gas in almost any vehicle.
  • For short trips (or even longer ones), consider leaving the car at home and walking, biking or taking public transportation.
  • If you commute to work by car, see if you can form a carpool with co-workers or others going in the same direction.
  • If much of your work is done on a computer or by phone, check with your boss to see if telecommuting is an option. Avoid the traffic jams, and work in your pajamas!
  • Look for alternatives to business travel. Does a meeting have to happen in person, or can people get together by tele- or videoconferencing?
Where you live makes a big difference in your transportation options. Treehuggers enjoying country living will probably have to drive more, so find the most efficient ways to make those necessary trips, and plan ahead so you can combine errands. Those of us in urban settings have more options available. Use them, and don't just think about the trip to work -- we can all reduce our impact also by taking the bike to the drug store, or the train to a downtown event (if we don't live there already). Living a more carbon-neutral lifestyle doesn't have to mean going less places; it does, however, involve thinking about how we get to those places. As you implement some of the practices, keep in mind that you probably look great riding your bike, picking up a carpool buddy, or getting on the bus -- make sure to get it on video, and send it in to the Convenient Truth contest.

UPDATE: You can also get your Convenient Truths tips on television today, as Treehugger will be featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show along with former Vice President Al Gore.

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