Simply walking; or fashionably reducing Carbon footprints

Yesterday was a no-car day for the family. The car stayed where it was, in the parking lot, can you believe it – for the entire day. And still we went to office and went to school.

We did it the old-fashioned way. We just walked.

Appapappa walked for about 45 minutes to his office, trying it out as a saving fuel + exercise routine ( his cycle was in office, and so was the bike). Me and N decided to walk down to her school to enjoy the nice weather. I underestimated how much time it would take to walk down with her – because she had to stop and examine every pebble and leaf on the way, and we made it barely in time. But it felt nice,  and I was mildly surprised to observe new things I had not noticed in my neighbourhood earlier – the small tea shop behind our apartment complex, the plants growing in front of the apartments, the details of the lone single house in the area, hemmed in by the complexes.

It is so much fun to walk, I wonder why we do not do it more often. And in the process help reduce some of the carbon footprints we are leaving all over the place on our planet, that can, after all, only take so much abuse.

When faced with the option of walking instead of motorized transport, most of us, including me, would think twice. Our lifestyle is such that this seems entirely infeasible. How do you expect me to get those huge bagsful of groceries home, or for that matter, to reach my gym which is about 5 kms away from my house? But still – there are ways, if you think about it hard enough. Even for the grocery problem. Really? Yes – what about buying on a daily basis your supplies – enough that you can actually carry it home, instead of doing the entire week’s supplies as though it is a chore you need to complete?

The more I think about this the more convinced I am that going green needs to be a change in perception, and attitude of wanting to make a difference, and caring enough.

Are there enough people who care? Or is everybody too busy to even think about this? My guess is the latter.

Until we all think about it, we will continue to live in concrete highrises hemmed in by other concrete high-rises, drive in AC cars to avoid the dust and pollution ( and sometimes smell that dust and pollution when it cannot be avoided, though, as the eminent historian Ramachandra Guha writes in the book How much Should a person Consume , it is not us but the poor who have to suffer the most from environmental degradation since they have little means of insulating themselves), eat food with pesticides, and drink water that has chemicals.

There are winds of change blowing – if the indication of coverage on environmental change by popular media like newspapers and TV is any indication. But the winds of change are not strong enough ( yet) to counter the carbon-laden air and the lead-filled chemicals-soaked earth.

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4 thoughts on “Simply walking; or fashionably reducing Carbon footprints

  1. Aarthi June 27, 2009 / 9:50 pm

    I hear ya Kopili. life has become so fast paced that people have have just taken somethings for granted.Everyone wants more and the motto has become, consume more, consume fast.
    Take for instance the on the go breakfast here in the USA.
    Many people grab a energy drink/slim fast etc and toss the plastic container in the trash and it lies there for a few hundred years without decomposing. My point here is just a small breakfast has such a huge footprint and people trash millions of those and the manufacturers of such products encourage this attitude. Wish people would be more responsible

  2. kopili June 28, 2009 / 5:11 pm

    You’re right Aarthi – The US is the ultimate consumer – using up a unreasonably disproportionate amount of resources for its needs. and where are the resources coming from? poorer countries that are losing their forest cover and their water resources of course.

  3. Ajay July 1, 2009 / 3:38 am

    I’m not at the point where I can get rid of my car, but I pretty much don’t use my car 3-4 days a week. I compress grocery runs with the day I drive out for my music classes(I carpool instead of taking the bus) and weekends is mostly walk/bus. I live near downtown and take the bus to work most days so it works great for me :).

    It really takes an attitudinal shift, but you can make it work. A day a week is a great start :).

    • kopili July 1, 2009 / 9:01 am

      Nice Ajay. I wonder how many other people are out there thinking like us?

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