F3: Taking a step at a time....
I've been going a little reflective in these past few posts, so it's time to get back to action. I haven't had a five for footprint (F3) post in awhile. To recap, F3 is an effort to reduce your average personal carbon emissions by five percent. The idea is to think in terms of doable steps. Now five percent may seem like a lot until you think of it another way and that's 1 day in 20, or about once a month don't drive to work. I've covered some suggestions such as telecommuting, carpooling and bicycling in the past. So what else can you do.
Well one step that has been suggested is walking to work, but to be honest that's a tough sell. Most people don't live within walking distance of their work unless they are self employed, and usually that's to the next bedroom. One of my favorite blogs is My Open Wallet has a post on a site called Walk Score where you enter your address and it calculates a "walk score" to tell you how walkable your neighborhood is. Mine is a little above the middle at 51, some walkability but it's no pedestrian paradise.
If you can pull it off, walking to work is amazing. But short of that, living in a place where you can meet your needs without taking your car is a nice experience. I know that when I was going "solo" as a "consultant" it was nice to have friends meet me for lunch down the street at a local restaurant where I could take a break from working. It's definitely a contrast to driving in a car for an hour.
What prevents most places from having a decent walk score is how governments zone land use. Most places do not allow for a corner store anymore, because it would depress property values. Though oddly, a look at most places reveal that the walkable places with mixed use are the most expensive. James Kunstler covers this eloquently in his book Home from Nowhere He is often vitriolic and sometimes not polite, but he is amusing in making his arguments.
I'm not sure that walking to work will be realistic, but creating walkable places close to home is a first step, and sometimes a call to action can only happen one step at a time.