Many of us are so used to driving our cars every day, becoming such a habit that we “forget” that it’s actually okay to walk to some of our destinations. In fact, it is not uncommon for the average American to hop in their car and drive to a destination that is half a mile away!
The common excuse we have for using our cars for travel to such close proximities is that we are rushed or pressed for time. But what if we planned ahead a little bit, and left a little bit earlier than we normally would to walk to our neighborhood church, take our jaunt to the park, visit a friend down the street, take our children to school, or even walk to work? If we walked to some of these closer range destinations, and biked to some of the more intermediate-ranged ones, we’d make a significant reduction in our carbon footprints as well as becoming healthier too.
One gallon of gas emits 19 pounds of carbon dioxide! Your walks to and from very close destinations may not seem like you are making much of a difference in reducing your carbon footprint, but stop to consider that the distance you travel all adds up over time, coupled with the fact that much of our local driving is done in conditions that lend toward being less fuel efficient, such as idling and repeated stops and starts.
Did you know that if we all walked 30 minutes a day instead of driving, as a country we would be able to save over 8 billion gallons of gasoline per year? If we as Americans use about 143 billion gallons of gasoline per year, that’s about 6% towards our goal of energy independence.
Walking for 30 minutes per day also helps with moderate weight loss, can increase bone strength, reduces the risk of heart disease, reduces the risk of Type II Diabetes, and even reduces the risk of certain types of cancer. How many of us couldn’t use the benefits that come with a brisk 30 minute walk per day?
Like many things that we do to go green there are often “unintended consequences” – in a good way! Reducing your carbon footprint by walking more and driving less can even help your state of mind. Besides all of the wonderful physical health benefits, yes walking can also reduce stress and depression. So, take a load off of your mind and the planet by walking wherever and whenever you can.
Amber Merton is a health and fitness enthusiast, and writes for the natural latex mattress manufacturer, Plushbeds.