Every month, I commit to a monthly challenge, fully intending to quit when the month's over. Giving up Lean Cuisine was temporary. So was giving up toilet paper. But then, at the end of every month, well, new habits have formed, and it seems stupid to revert back. What started off as a temporary change is now permanent.
But the public transit challenge was different. First of all, it was inconvenient. And it involved exercise which I HATE. I spent the beginning of April counting down the days until this damn challenge would be over.
And then, things changed. Or I guess, I changed. I got accustomed to the exercise. The walking got easier, I felt healthier, and I looked better. I started seeing my longer commute less as an inconvenience and more as a convenient way to stay in shape. It hasn't been all sunshine and daisies. Yesterday, not only did my morning bus break down, but then the subway broke down in the evening, and we all had to wait 25 minutes until Metro got a subway up and running. But the major problems are fewer than I had anticipated, and the benefits are more numerous than expected.
So, today I went out and plunked down the money for a monthly pass for May. I'll still drive to work on occasion, but I'm generally going to keep taking transit to work. Besides, summer travel season is upon us, and I've got a few trips in the works including, gulp, a trip to India (I haven't been in five years and my grandmother is 85.) I'll be offsetting my flights, of course, but I figure it probably doesn't hurt to drive less as well!
To the math:
In March, I used about 39 gallons of gas and went zero miles via public transit meaning that my transport emissions were about 95% of the average American's. My goal for April was to cut my transport emissions in half. I am happy to say, that not only did I meet, but I exceeded my goal. I used about 13 gallons of gas in April, and went almost 350 miles via PT, which means that my transport emissions for April were 40% of the average American's.
Sure, I still have some work to do. But, all in all I'm pretty pleased. You see, transportation emissions were the ones that I had always shrugged off, thinking, "Well, can't do anything about that." I had taken for granted that cutting down those emissions was not merely difficult, but impossible. This month I reminded myself that most things are possible ... if you have the will.
Up next month, by popular request, MaLoFoMo, or the local food challenge! Join me as I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, visit farmer's markets, make my own yogurt, and search for the 100% local PB&J.
5 hours ago