by John Brian Shannon
We all love this planet. Or we should. It is the only home that humanity has in the entire cosmos.
The universe is comprised of up to one billion galaxies, and each galaxy holds an average of 1 trillion stars. Each star has approximately 2.3 planets orbiting it. Many stars have zero planets with them, while other stars have hundreds of planetary sized objects traveling around them in the huge (gravitationally-induced) circles which we call orbits.
But so far, we have not been to visit even one of the stars in our own galaxy the Milky Way — let alone travel to other galaxies. And, for the foreseeable future that will continue to be the case.
Therefore, we are dependent on this, our only planet, for our survival.
Maybe we should take care of the place while we are here at least until we have Warp-speed capability and can locate other suitable planets to live on.
On that note, and assuming you agree with the statement I have posited, here are a few ways that we can lower the human impact on our shared environment.
Problem: For most people, their largest CO2 contribution comes from driving their vehicle.
Solution #1: Cut your vehicle related CO2 emissions in half
No fancy calculations needed for this equation. Simply drive half as many miles per week. If you live near a public rapid transit system, you will save money on fuel, parking fees, vehicle wear and tear, and you will arrive at your destination less stressed.
I took Vancouver’s SkyTrain (LRT) yesterday which cost a lot less than putting gas in the tank and I didn’t have to search for a parking spot, or pay parking fees in downtown Vancouver.
In this city, it isn’t so much the parking fees as the towing fees in case you get delayed at your meeting. Then, it is a taxi ride to the impound yard plus the $175.00 to get your car back. Ouch, there goes $200.00 of your hard-earned money! Just like that.
Sure, once I arrived in the city, I hailed a cab to get me to my final destination. Had I been a little better organized, I could have found the right transit bus to take me to my final stop instead of a taxi. Live and learn.
But for regular commuters who travel to the same destination every weekday; adopting public transit for 3 days per week should be an easy transition. If you choose this option, give yourself a pat on the back every time you step aboard. Well done!
Continue to drive the same number of miles per month, but still cut your CO2 emissions in half! In some cases, you will drop your carbon footprint by much more than 50% if you drive an EV. Not only that, in many jurisdictions, you get to use the HOV lanes on the freeway, which is a bonus for you. If you buy or lease one of these vehicles, give yourself a pat on the back every time you get in your low emission vehicle!
Solution #3: Optimize your existing car to get better MPG
The easiest suggestion of all. Buy a reliable, quality tire gauge (about $15.00) and put some air in those tires!
Always go for the highest pressure recommended by the manufacturer. That will give you better mileage. Check the pressure weekly and add air as needed. It takes 2 minutes a week to save your gas money.
Another way to get better mileage from your vehicle is to take it to the shop for a tune-up. Get that air filter changed, it is a cheap way to get better mileage from most cars. Replacing sparkplugs and other wearable parts can help, particularly if your car hasn’t been tuned for a while now. C’mon, be honest, you were going to take it in last fall, but you got busy. Now’s the time!
Solution #4: Reward yourself for your environmental ‘goods’
As always, whenever you do a good deed for the environment, give yourself a pat on the back.
My personal environmental reward system involves a stop at Starbucks, but whatever works for you.
Once you get used to rewarding yourself for doing environmental ‘goods’ the sky is the limit. A nice clear sky with clean breathable air is the goal, feeling good about it is the key to get us there.
I bid you a good day and in the meantime, let’s all be good to our shared planet — we’re going to need it for a long time to come!
JOHN BRIAN SHANNON
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