Thursday, July 28

Global Warming From Behind a Windshield

Advice From Motorists Supposes YOU Also Motor
Recently, I’ve noticed two attempts at “being green” from sources that clearly seem to think that driving some sort of a motor vehicle to get things such as groceries is the only option people have. Not considering that much of the world still considers motoring as a luxury, it also neglects the obvious non-motorized way to get groceries.

Conveniently enough, Ocean Shores unintentionally makes it really simple to walk or ride a bike to get groceries or hardware, though few take advantage of the opportunity. Myself, I shop often or less often, combined with my daily rides to the local espresso stand. Today, I also stopped by the post office to pick up the weekly ads. However, I digress.

ONE of the “behind the windshield” pieces of advice came from a book whose author has a lot of good ideas in other areas of her book, entitled GORGEOUSLY GREEN. In it, the author states (on page 127):

“Trying to shop to fit into the ‘twelve items or less line,’ I’ll even shed a few items… Problem is, this type of shopping uses more gas, time, and tailpipe emissions, since you need to go to the store more often. Instead of aiming to get out of the store fast, do a massive shop in one session.” Later on, she states “At least half of the pollution that comes from transporting your food is from your drive to the store.”
I guess that might be credible if the only option we had was to DRIVE to the store. Cycling makes things an entirely different proposition. Instead of a “massive shop,” the criteria is “how much do I feel like carrying home for our near-term meals and what are the sales.” While I HAVE done a massive shop using our bike trailer during a really good "as long as things last" sale, that’s the exception rather than the rule. Mostly, I fill up a small backpack. When I go into Aberdeen, I use a bit larger backpack; originally designed for snowboarders.

The SECOND “behind the windshield” piece of advice came from the North Texas Clean Air people, who ignored the possibility of people using non-motorized means of getting their groceries when they stated via an email:

“Life can get so busy sometimes that it can be difficult to find time to plan a healthy meal and go grocery shopping. Luckily, with the growing popularity of online shopping, meal planning and grocery shopping can be a lot easier for everyone. There are many companies that offer different food delivery services. From grocery delivery service to meal-kit delivery service to ‘anything you want’ delivery apps, getting what you need without going anywhere is as simple as clicking a button.

“Ordering these services actually does more than just save you time and effort, it helps the environment. New research from the Oregon Department of Transportation shows that these delivery services can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half. The vehicles that are used to deliver your items are combining trips to multiple households and routing their routes more efficiently. Not only are these cluster-routed delivery services more convenient and time efficient than you going out of your way to go to the store, but they are actually helping our air quality.”

I suppose that might be true if you weren’t merely stopping to get groceries as a short side trip to your morning bicycle espresso run. The vehicle I use to deliver my items uses only the CO2 I exhale, which really isn’t much more than I’d exhale watching the morning news. The coolest aspect is that by the time I get back, I’m fully awake and ready for another beautiful day. No windshield required…


Chandra@GreenComotion said...

Love the new setup, Steve!
Holler if you are back in DFW and let's grab a cup of Java together, if you like.
Have a Happy Day and a Lovely Weekend!
Peace :)

Khal said...


John Romeo Alpha said...

I'm not sure why there's not more uptake nationwide of ELEV standards, to lower emissions, which seems overall like a win-win compromise. But, more related to this post, yeah, I'm constantly saying, or thinking, hey, how about a bicycle? Have you considered riding a bicycle? Sure, but do you know that if more people rode a bicycle for those 1 to 3 mile short trips, many things would be better?

Steve A said...

JRA. As in many things, much as I hate to admit it, sometimes bikes reduce emissions less than motoring would. For example, a commuting vanpool with eight riders takes seven cars off the road while it would be unlikely that seven of those vanpoolers would be willing to commute by bike or even ride a bus.

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