From bike-sharing to carpooling with the neighbours, it's easy to save fuel and help the environment. Check out these seven eco-friendly tips for alternate transportation.
This is the story of a modern man and his car-sharing membership. George Dizvolitsis lives in a condo with his wife. Both work downtown, take public transit, and walk during the summer. But their epic journeys to visit family in the suburbs or trek to get groceries were wearing them down. They tried to be as completely car-free as possible and yet they still couldn't pull it off. They struggled with a solution and then discovered a car-share program in the parking lot of their building and signed up.
Saving money with car-sharing
Before we met George we expected a sandal-wearing, granola-eating renegade. Instead, he was the perfect picture of an everyday dude, gym bag over one shoulder and a baseball cap on his head.
The green benefits were nice, he explained, but the real motivation was dollars and sense. They saved $300 to $400 a month on fuel, parking and insurance. Plus, the share-cars were always available and easy to take out. We had an epiphany on the parking spot: Had the green movement got the guilt pitch wrong all these decades? Give people cost-effective and convenient alternatives to driving a car and they will take them.
Eco-friendly transportation alternatives
In George's case, the decision to car-share came down to money and convenience. But surely there are other reasons to ditch and drive? Driving is one of the single biggest polluting acts a person can make. Yet, three quarters of us guiltily admit to getting behind the wheel -- even when we could easily use another form of transportation. We get it, the True North, Strong and Free, with its inclement weather and massive size, feels like it was built for a car. But maybe we can start by cutting back on our car usage?
At Free The Children and Me to We, we have many hybrids; for others, car and bike share programs, bolstered public transit, and the growing popularity of scooters and e-bikes can help replace even just a few road trips with sustainable transportation. Let's test drive a few alternatives!
7 tips for eco-friendly transportation
1. Try the walking school bus revolution, catching on in Ottawa and other cities, where children walk together in groups with parental supervision.
2. Check out car-sharing companies available in your town or city.
3. Bike-sharing options are popular at several universities across Canada, while the Bixi bike-sharing program is rolling in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
4. For the fast and fashionable, invest in an e-bike or scooter for quick, inter-city trips.
5. Challenge yourself by leaving the car at home for a week. By week's end, you'll appreciate your wheels and pinpoint places where you can use alternate forms of transportation.
6. Rural Canadians can scout out local bus and charter companies to get across back-country roads.
7. When all else fails, plan ahead and carpool with neighbours or nearby families.