Climate Change: Walk It Off

walkscorelogo2As Charlie wrote about earlier today, transportation is a big source of greenhouse gas emissions. The fact that you and I don’t have to commute to work every day already helps in terms of limiting carbon emissions, and it’s something we can feel really good about!

But most of us probably still do more driving than we really have to. I’m from California, the U.S. state with the most cars per capita. Driving is what we Californians do (as you may remember from the movie L.A. Story). It often can’t be helped, given how spread out everything is there.

My simple suggestion, with this post, is that you should try to walk more. Take advantage of the fact that you’re not tied to a desk and a schedule, that nobody’s checking how long your lunch hours are. We can often take the time to actually walk to the grocery store when there’s no rush-hour mob scene, and smell the roses along the way. It’s good for body, soul and planet.

How walkable is your neighborhood? I recently stumbled on Walk Score, a cool site that ranks 2,508 neighborhoods in the 40 largest U.S. cities for walkability. I plugged in my old address to test it:


I never realized there was a hardware store so close by! Or a yoga studio. You can click on the icons for more detail, and also expand the view. I was surprised to learn that 35 percent of San Diegans lived in more walkable neighborhoods than I did. There are other features and plenty of interesting info on the site too. (It’s worth noting that the app isn’t flawless; under “Movie Theaters” it lists an adult book store.)

Now I live in Paris and, like most Parisians, I don’t even own a car. A few years ago, I couldn’t have imagined such a thing. But the big difference is that Paris is the ultimate walkable city. After all, it was built when feet were pretty much the only transportation option available to most. I can’t wait till somebody does a site like this for Paris.

What else can you do? Everybody’s talking about different ways to reduce carbon emissions, but the idea of creating walkable cities is not getting the attention it deserves from the powers that be. Take a few moments to learn what a walkable city is and what walking can do for you and your world. Become an advocate of the movement. Do it for your own quality of life and that of coming generations.

How walkable is your neighborhood?