Tuesday was Transportation Day for No Impact Week and it was the easiest day for me. I sold my car in May when I moved into downtown Portland, Maine, and get around mostly on foot, electric bike, or on the bus. I'm enjoying the money saved from not having to maintain a car and am perversely looking forward to toughing it through a Maine winter. There wasn't really much for me to do out of my regular routine on Tuesday.
I've really enjoyed going car-less. I like that I'm not burning tens of gallons of fuel every week and the fact that I'm never a bad part away from a $500 car repair bill. It's been great for my health and I love the slower pace that the world goes by when you're pedaling or walking.
There's a carshare service in town that's just $9/hour (everything included) and an assortment of conventional car rental services available. If and when I ever need a car, one is just an Internet reservation away. If you live in the right city/town, going car-less could be way easier to adjust to than you'd think.
The No Impact Week Guide asked everyone participating to pick an action from a list of action suggestions, I'm going with calling my senators, Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and thanking them for voting against the Coburn Amendment, which would have stripped funding for bike trails, sidewalks, bike racks on buses, bicyclist education, and roadway improvements for bicyclists. How did your senator vote?
Yesterday was Food Day. I failed.
Portland has a pretty good little farmers market on Wednesday mornings not too far from my apartment, but I wasn't able to get over there this week. I did go food shopping on Tuesday and bought my regular mix of fruits, veggies, bread, and a few dairy products, with an eye on getting local whenever I had the chance. I'm a stickler for unnecessary packaging.
I started the day off pretty well, eating a big salad for breakfast made with local apples and cucumbers but had to cheat to get olive oil and balsamic vinegar on. I also threw on a dash of pepper. I'm terrible, I know.
Last night I had two ultimate frisbee games and I knew I'd be in trouble if I played without having some food in my belly, so I broke down around midday and reverted back to my regular diet. To be fair, I think my regular diet is on the greener side of the average.
I was a vegetarian for six years but came back to the meat side when my ex-wife became pregnant with our first daughter. Her vegetarian diet wasn't keeping her raging pregnant metabolism satisfied so we started eating meat again (easier for me to eat meat too than to have to cook two dinners). Even still, it's a pretty rare day now that I eat meat. I don't really ever cook it at home, with the exception of a random pack of natural, locally produced hot dogs. Eating meat contributes a huge amount to a person's carbon footprint, especially beef, cutting down your meat consumption by just one or two servings a week can have a big positive impact. If you can go the route I've been on and eat it every week or two, even better.
But still, I failed the No Impact Week Food challenge and didn't end up doing much out of my norm. It's nice to have something to work on, right? I'm getting better about it and will continue to strive for No Impact perfection, but it's going to be a while and I'm not sure I'll ever achieve 100 percent eco-piety.
Tomorrow I'll be writing about my adventures with Energy Day. Stay tuned.
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