Unrest in Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain, Algeria, Egypt.... the list goes on and on. Every day when I listen to the news, I also pray. This is huge and crazy stuff, and I have no idea (nor does anyone else, if they're honest with themselves) where this is headed.
One immediate result I see already is a rise in gas prices. As I zipped home from Providence Hall on my scooter last week, I saw that Arco listed $3.79 for unleaded, and $3.89 for premium. Yikes. And the predictions are that prices will only go higher, quickly.
I just looked at my credit card statement... since January 29, I have spent $12.64 on gas. I will add that I also used the bus three different times because of rain. I buy 10-ride passes for the bus, which discounts the price from $1.75 to $1.10 per ride. So I have spent $15.94 on transportation in the last month.
Forgive me if it sounds like I'm bragging. That is not my goal. It's to make the point that we have to work hard on finding and using alternative means of transportation. Yes, it can be inconvenient when it's pouring rain, and yes, it's chilly on that scooter in the morning (so I bundle up in layers and look like the Michelin Man) and yes, I have to skip some things because I need more time to get from place to place. I got caught in a downpour while running errands on my bike last week -- and while I got muddy and sopping wet, I also felt like I was 10 years old and it was a hoot.
I googled GasBuddy.com. It's goal is to help consumers find the lowest prices for gas. But I was stopped by its first sentence: "The USA consumes 400 million gallons of gasoline every day." This is crazy-making! It cannot be just about finding deals. We need to look long and hard at our habits and make some changes.
Matthew Sleeth makes some great suggestions in his book Serve God, Save the Planet:
- Use your bike for short trips.
- Combine trips. Think you’re not driving a gas guzzler? The average U.S. family car travels about 15,000 miles each year. This adds up to 5.8 tons of greenhouse gas pollution and $2,222 in gasoline. If you have two family cars, that’s $4,444 in gasoline alone.
- Visit the grocery store only once a week.
- Use public transportation instead of your car once a week. Just start there.
- Have someone over for dinner instead of going out.
Lest I sound like I am nagging, I will stop there. I quoted Mr. Sleeth on Oct 10 of last year, and I will quote him again:
If you appear smug or holier than thou, you will be a positive witness to a party of none.