Earth Day is here once again! Earth Day is a great chance to reflect on our everyday choices and how they affect planet earth. Although this celebration only comes once a year, we can contribute to the betterment of our planet every single day.
We’ve all heard about the benefits of recycling, conserving water, and turning off the lights when you leave a room, but another simple way to conserve resources starts with your commute to work. By simply leaving your car in your driveway a few times per week, you can help lessen the number of pollutants emitted into the air we breathe.
This Earth Day show Mother Earth some love and choose to commute to work using one of these three options:
- Ride public transportation – Public transportation plays an important role in confronting environmental challenges. Taking public transportation is one of the most effective ways to help the environment. Most rail transit vehicles emit little or no pollution, as they are powered by electricity. Other transit vehicles, such as buses, use alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas or fuel cells which produce fewer pollutants. By switching to taking transit to work, a single person can reduce their annual carbon emissions by more than 4,800 pounds.
- Carpool – Having fewer cars on the road means reduced Greenhouse Gas emissions and improved air quality. Not only do you get to use the HOV lanes, like on I-66, and the Express Lanes on I-495, for free, but you save on gas, parking fees, and wear and tear on your vehicle. According to Environment Canada, air pollution caused by vehicular travel is linked to health concerns including respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, allergies and neurological effects. By carpooling, you help reduce these health risks for yourself and everyone else on the planet. If you need assistance finding a carpool, Commuter Connections operates a regional database where commuters can submit their information to find potential carpool matches.
- Bike or Walk – Take advantage of the warmer weather and enjoy that spring breeze instead of sitting in stressful rush hour traffic. Not only does biking or walking to work reduce your carbon footprint, it is also free of charge and great for your health. If you are unable to bike the entire way to work, Metrobus and Fairfax Connecter are fully equipped with bike racks for a multi-modal commute.
Switching to public transportation, walking, or biking, offers an effective alternative for individuals seeking to reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. Driving alone is one of the most polluting things we do every single day. This Earth Day ditch your car and pick up your bike. Or catch the bus. Help celebrate Earth Day by reducing the commuting impact of the Washington Metropolitan Area by discovering other ways to get to work rather than driving alone!