Day 21: Get out of your car : )

Car pollution is one of the major causes of global warming.

Cars and trucks emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which contribute one-fifth of the United States’ total global warming pollution. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, which causes worldwide temperatures to rise.

Burning excessive amounts of fossil fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, has caused an increase of 0.6 degrees Celsius, or 1 degree F, in global temperatures since pre-industrial times, and this will continue to rise over the coming decades. Warmer global temperatures affect farming, wildlife, sea levels and natural landscapes.

So what can you do?

As much as possible, leave your car at home, become a 1-car family or don’t have one at all.

In Boulder in particular, biking is AWESOME. Do it as much as you can.

There’s very little rain, it’s usually sunny and you know what they say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Even in the middle of winter, if you wrap up warm and have the right bike accessories (more on that later) you’ll be fine.

Even if you live somewhere with a less conduscive climate, you can still bike. I biked to work almost everyday in London, UK and rarely had to skip because of the weather. If it rained, I wore waterproofs.

So if you’re going to the local shops, to school, on date night, or to work, try walking or biking. And if it’s further than your legs want to bike, consider shelling out for an electric bike. What you’ll save in gas will cover the costs AND you’ll be so much happier getting outside everyday.

This is my electric bike. It’s carrying all our groceries AND one of my kids’ bikes (and a kid)! Who needs a car?!

ALWAYS wear a helmet and ideally flashing lights (and a sign telling texting drivers to STOP texting ; )

You can also choose public transport. While it doesn’t have the convenience of taking you from A to B, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of parking once you get there. This is particularly true of getting to the airport. The bus from Boulder to DIA is low-cost, quick and easy and takes you right the the door.

The Right Gear:

I ferry myself and my kids around on my electric cargo bike ALL year, even when it’s below freezing (but maybe not when there’s snow on the ground!)

I realized that remembering gloves for everyone every time was almost impossible so I added stroller mitts to the bars next to the kids so they can just pop their hands in those and be toasty warm, and I added Bar Mitts to my handlebars. I often don’t even need to wear gloves in winter because they keep my hands so warm.

Then I have a face mask and a headband under my helmet to keep my ears warm plus clear glasses or even ski goggles to stop the wind.

Stop Puffing:

This is the practice of leaving your car running to warm it up while you are not in it. This is actually illegal in Colorado.

However, I’d like to take it a step further. PLEASE don’t leave your car running when it’s parked even when you’re sitting in it. I know it can get very hot or very chilly but we can survive a little while of that before boiling / freezing to death so rather than clog up the atmosphere even more, consider turning your car off as soon as you stop.

One trick I find is that if the ignition is on, the heated seats will still work so it keeps me warm without the need to have the engine running.

Challenge 21:

Some time in the next week choose to walk, bike or take public transport in an instance when you would usually use your car. Whether that’s popping to the store or going to work. I think you’ll be surprised how easy it is and how much getting outside improves your mood. Enjoy!

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