Take a sustainable route while driving

December 16, 2021

Siri Pattison

Hopefully, at this point, we are all aware of the urgency of action regarding the climate crisis, though I encourage you to approach this issue with a heightened awareness about how your own actions contribute to climate change, and how sacrifices are required in order to combat this massive issue. The responsibility for the climate crisis does not lie on any individual, but with a lack of larger-scale action, individual choices can composite into greater structural and corporate change.

In the winter, many of us drive more, to avoid walking and being outside in the cold. When possible, I encourage those who are able to bundle up and walk short distances instead of hopping in a car. But, in many situations, car travel is inevitable. So how can we make car travel more energy efficient? Try heating just the seats of your vehicle, instead of the whole cabin. Less ambient heat takes less energy, and the seat heaters will still keep you toasty through the chilly months. Another great option is carpooling. Piling into the car with neighbors or friends can be a great way to emit less Co2 and spend time with people, making an experience out of your transit time. Even better than carpooling in your personal vehicle, is taking public transportation. Twin Cities metro transit has a wide-reaching system of buses and trains that can likely get you to your destination. Taking public transportation combines your travel footprint with many others, making our overall footprint less.

Earlier, I talked about sacrifice required for change. Some lifestyle changes are needed en masse in order to combat the climate crisis. They might seem large or inconvenient at first, but how you approach them can make the difference. First, what if we just traveled less? Think about if the energy required to drive somewhere (especially in the winter, as more if it is required in travel) is worth the outcome of that drive. Instead of heating your house to be t-shirt temperature when it is 10 degrees outside, heat it so that you’re comfortable when dressed warmly and weather appropriate. These individual actions may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s only because we have gotten used to a way of living that is detrimental to the environment. I’m sure some of your friends and family members are on board— support each other in making sustainable choices this winter.

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