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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall Updates 2012: Day Six

I will start this post by saying, "It's Still Easy Being Green." Huh?

As I share in these last few posts about what I am up to, I want to confirm that I am still as green as ever when it comes to transportation. Two years ago, almost to the day, I posted here about selling my car and opting to rely instead on my scooter, my bike, my feet, public transportation, the kindness of friends and an occasional car rental!

Whenever this comes up in conversation, people are nearly always either curious or baffled. And then their first question is usually some variation on "And how's that working for you?" I am happy to say that I am doing just fine. More than fine, really.

Not only has it been two years since I sold my faithful 1997 Subaru Legacy Wagon, but it's also been five and a half years since I bought my Buddy scooter, which is just about to hit 14,000 miles on the odometer. It's also been over nine years (May 2003) since I started this "green journey" intentionally. Along the way, I've definitely discovered a few things...

It's not that difficult. Granted, I'm single and don't have to transport others on a regular basis. But regardless of who I talk to about this, it is easy for them to admit that they could easily do one trip a day without their car. Here's more info and motivation on bicycle commuting. Really - think about it... consolidate some errands into one trip; bring a lunch to work instead of driving somewhere; ride your bike to Farmer's Market... there are plentiful options!

It helps me stay in shape. By walking and/or cycling every day, I would venture to say I'm the healthiest I've ever been. And I've finally been able to figure out how to lose a little weight along the way. Quite possibly a miracle for me, a person with the metabolism of a fire hydrant.

It makes me more aware of the poor in our midst. It's so #firstworldproblems to talk about being green, in some ways. After all, the hipsters love to ride chic bikes or scooters, right? And let's not forget that it is quite the luxury to get to choose whether or not to drive a car. But I will say that not having a car has caused me to be much more aware of the elements. For example, I diligently check the weather forecast almost every day in order to figure out what I will face as I go places. And whenever it rains more than sprinkles, I take the bus. One time on the bus I overheard two people sitting next to me spend the entire bus ride (half an hour) talking through their options for the day due to the weather. It only took a few minutes to figure out that they both lived on the streets by what they talked about: which bus stops had shelters, where to buy fresh socks for the cheapest price, where to find warm meals, etc. Ever since then, I think about our friends on the streets whenever the weather veers from our 70 degrees in Santa Barbara.

I am a more thoughtful consumer. This could be an entire blog topic by itself, but suffice it to say that when I have to first consider whether or not I can carry whatever I purchase in the front basket of my scooter, or in the grocery bag carrier on my bike, that I am greatly slowed down when it comes to shopping.

My main motivation is spiritual. I can't deny that I'm saving a bunch of money by doing this. Filling up my scooter still costs less than $6, no car maintenance saves a bundle, and even on those days I need to rent a car or take the train, it all adds up to be much less expensive in comparison to the weekly costs of owning a car. But make no mistake, Reason #1, first and foremost, for me "being green" is creation care. I firmly believe that we are called as Christians to be good stewards of God's creation. As I mentioned directly above, not having a car forces me to be more careful in my spending. But I want to be quick to say that this is because I am pursuing the spiritual discipline of simplicity, not because I need to pinch pennies. (Though I cheer on anyone who needs to do it for this reason!) I am blessed to say that I am in a comfortable place financially, earning more than in my previous position at a church.

Just a few things to think about....

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