On Friday, April 18th, I attended a meeting of Lake Michigan Area Independent School (LMAIS) Technology Coordinators. Being a family with two cars, three drivers, and with my wife needing to drive to work and my daughter wanting to use the car so that she and friends could get ready for prom that evening (via a noon dismissal from school), I decided to see what I could do to reduce my carbon footprint in advance of Earth Day. Since the meeting was in downtown Chicago, I also wanted to save on fuel cost, parking costs, and the stress from driving through Chicago construction season.
On the way down was easy. My daughter dropped me off at the El stop on her way to school. Being able to catch an express train to the city, it was 9 stops and 30 minutes when I arrived at my stop. I walked the four blocks to the meeting. Because the meeting ended before the express trains began running, I had to start on one train and then transfer to a second to complete the train trip home. To get the rest of the way home, I found that there was a local bus route that would drop me within two miles of home. Catching that bus and then walking home, I completed my journey. Carpooling, walking, and public transportation. Cutting down on my carbon footprint.
On Sunday, I went to my local bicycle shop and purchased a used (recycled) bike that some larger teenager had outgrown (I am only 5′ 5″, so I can benefit from children growing as large as they do). Tricked out with a rack and panniers, I will be able to commute from home to work (5 miles) in style this summer, saving the gas and environment while become more physically fit.
Our school is trying to develop a sustainability initiative and while my individual acts do not seem like much, they are a step in the right direction and hopefully will model for other students and teachers different options.