When we think about the ways that we use oil and the ways that oil impacts our lives, the very first thing that probably comes to mind is transportation.

Over the next few days, our proposed actions for Oil and Our Lifestyles: A Month of Action will focus on energy use through transportation. Our focus on transportation will include how we transport ourselves and our families, for work, school and pleasure. But we will also focus on how we transport other things, including food and goods.

In 2008 in the U.S., transportation sources accounted for 27% of our total greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, this figure includes transportation of goods through the freight industry, an important consideration as we examine our use of oil. But for now let’s focus on the obvious: our vehicles and the frequency with which we use them to transport ourselves contribute significantly to our use of fossil fuels, and their impact on our environment.

Today’s proposed action is:

Let’s start with the most basic change you can make: Reduce your daily transportation footprint.

If you normally drive to work alone, plan out a public transportation route and get up in time to use it tomorrow. If the area you live in doesn’t offer viable transportation options, plan a carpool with your spouse, co-workers, or neighbors for next week, or ask your boss about working from home one day a week. Or consider biking to work. It’s probably much easier, less dangerous and more rewarding than you think, and I find it to be a great way to wake up and de-stress in the mornings and evenings.

For an average commute distance of 30 miles roundtrip and 1 pound of CO2 produced for every mile you drive, by using alternative transportation just once a week you can prevent the release of more than 1500 pounds of CO2 in one year.

If you’re already doing all you can to reduce the carbon footprint of transporting yourself and your family, consider ways in which to inspire (not coerce or guilt!) others to get on board. Maybe through organizing an office contest or a family goal?

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