Special thanks to Jessica Gold for this guest blog contribution!
Travelling to and from work in a good way is not just about saving time. The Transportation Research Group SAMOT at Karlstad University has together with researchers from the Netherlands and Japan developed a standardized method for examining everyday travel´s impact on people’s well-being. According SAMOT’s study everyday travel stands for 11-12 percent of human well-being. That’s a lot.
How we enjoy everyday travel is more important to how we feel than, say, salary or if we are living together with someone. The study show s that the people who walk or cycle to work experience greater happiness and general well-being than those who are traveling by car or public transport. Moreover, the people who talks with someone else during the trip are happier than people who do not.
For more info visit, SAMOT and/or [in Swedish] an GP news article.
Do you care about your wallet? Do you care about your health? Do you care about the environment? Do you want to have fun with your friends and like challenges?? Then we have the solution for you! Watch this short video clip how-to Commute Greener and get going!
Yes I did it, finally I find all my stuff and now I am prepared to cycling during this autumn and maybe during winter (?!?). It’s so easy to find obstacles to not taking the bicycle when it’s getting colder, darker, wetter, windier…at least if you living in the northern part of Europe, as I do. But I know that I can really enjoy it if I am prepared, having the right clothes and equipment but every year is the same, where are all things? At least for me, things have a tendency to spread here and there…. gloves, thicker pants, reflective vest, favorite thin woolen socks, covers for my shoes, thin cap, first and second layer long sleeve shirts, wind jacket, rainwear, oh gosh…
But since I find everything I am prepared to take my bike tomorrow to work, are you? Compete, have fun and challenge me by using the new Commute Greener Facebook app. The weather conditions seem to be quite bad tomorrow, hope I find my bicycle mate and get a ride with him!
A posting from guest blogger Jessica Gold, Sustainergies
I saw this picture of an interesting ad posted on Internet the other day. I think its brilliant content is in line with Eldridge Cleaver’s quote from 1968: “you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem”. Breaking free from an unsustainable system is the core of Commute Greener – we have a long way to go, and your steps counts!
We transport ourselves long distances in our outside, social lives. But what about inner transportation? How often do we consider where we go and what we experience on the inside of ourselves, our minds and bodies?
Because after all, we all spend our whole lives living in our minds and consciousness. If we want to change our habits – if we commute or not, how we treat this planet or our family or friends etc – then the first place where the change needs to take place, is in the mind. When the mind gets focused, changes can come quickly.
This is a short story of a cool inner transportation tool that definitely makes the mind “greener” – fresher, cleaner, purer!
A couple of weeks ago I spent ten days in silence, without contact with the outside world, to learn to focus my mind and slowly clear it of unnecessary burdens. The course took place in Sweden but exists all over the world (www.dhamma.org). The technique of vipassana meditation, which this is called, is teaching self-observation and is simple, scientific and non-sectarian. One only works with one’s own physical reality and learn to focus the mind and develop an equanimous mind towards what one experience.
Simple I say, in retrospective, but when learning to focus the mind on one’s own physical reality the first time, it was crazy. Many people realise how unfocused they are, when internet, mobile phone, work, social life etc is taken away. Me too. And it is sometimes tough to meet oneself, truely. But it is like the earth. If we want it to be greener and our travelling so, we have to do the work. There is no short cut to paradise, anywhere.
After ten days of meditation I came out much lighter. Sorrows, irritation, stress, anger, crazy desires or fear, were gone or diminished. And I continue to sit and meditate in daily life, as I find it helping my “mental immune system”. This was my forth course, I did my first summer 2010. Having three university degrees and a couple of more diplomas, I consider this the best tool I have ever learnt. A tool for life and health. I am more present, more conscious about my actions, feelings and choices, and less stressed. I feel more empowered. And a purer mind has made greener actions more important.
And the best thing (from a social point of view) is that it is taught for free. Old meditation students pay for new students, and so it is given further. The profit is better life quality for everyone concerned.
If this sounds interesting, you find more information at www.dhamma.org. Courses are given all over the world in the same way.
That’s the moment when a society stops using more energy on transportation and more private cars, and slowly turns to a greener way. It seems to be happening, or even have happened. Swedish radio reported last week about this from prominent researchers who have studied the energy and transportation sector for a long time.
Adam Millard-Ball from McGill university in Montreal points out that the raised gas price is not the only explanation for why fewer people are getting private cars, attitudes among people are changing too. Even in the car’s home town Detroit bicycling is growing largely.
Peter Newman, professor i sustainable development at Curtin University of Technology, Perth, tell that the “peak car” happened already in 2004 in developed countries. Therefore he recommends urban city planners to re-check their plans and drawings. Most cities might not need more highways in the future, but more bicycle lanes or train tracks, for example.
I also just found this great video from Detroit, showing how bicycling can be a new lifestyle, bringing both joy, less pollution but also an improved health. Enjoy:
Want more info about this?
Are We Reaching Peak Travel? Trends in Passenger Transport in Eight Industrialized Countries, Adam Millard-Ball & Lee Schipper, Transport Reviews: A Transnational Transdisciplinary Journal, Volume 31 Issue 3, pages 357-378, 18 Nov 2010, DOI:10.1080/01441647.2010.518291
‘Peak Car Use’ (pdf) : Understanding the Demise of Automobile Dependence, Peter Newman & Jeff Kenworthy, Western Australia Eco‐Logica Ltd. ISSN 1352‐7614World Transport, Policy & Practice, Volume 17.2 June 2011
Set up a Commute Greener campaign and your employees will get a better health, save money and take care of Mother nature – that must be the best Christmas gift you can get! Or? And all this is in a fun way! Don’t hesitate to contact me for more information at CommuteGreener@volvo.com. Watch this video clip, All.I.Can compares the challenges of big mountain skiing to the challenges of global climate change.
End of November in Gothenburg, Sweden, is not always perfect for biking. But Magnus blog post the other day, reminds me that it could be very nice biking also during winter! What happened with my bike commuting?? It started out so good after the vacation, but then more than a month past by… It is so easy to take the car due to not so good public transportations where I live, the family logistics, etc etc. End of excuses, never too late to go for a bike ride! So yesterday I joined my diligent bike friends for a magic MTB trip in the North Mountain, Ljungkile. Wonderful surroundings with a lot of lakes, ruins from the 1600-century farms, and really nice and sunny weather, wow! But after a 2,5 hours on wet roots and a very very moddy track, it also reminds me that condition is a “fresh commodity” and the ski-season is coming closer…this inspired me to take the bike to work again, thanks Anders, Fredrik and Ulf for a fantastic ride!
And I could also log a Zero CO2 activity to my current week, which will gain me another green heart! Find out more and learn about the solution here and log in to Commute Greener and get going you too. Feel free to contact me regarding your efforts and experiences on email@example.com or facebook or via this blog below.
This April me and my family moved to Menlo Park just south of San Francisco from Sweden. Both me and my fiancé are researchers devoted to solutions to climate change so we have a built in resistance to own a car and try to minimize its use. So when we moved here it was obvious to try to do it without getting a car. This turned out to be quite a challenge at least until we got settled down.
The good part is that at least public transportation exists here. The problem is that it does not go very frequently which we learned the hard way. One day we just missed one bus and decided to wait for the next one. One hour later, and many “When is our bus coming?” from our son, the bus finally arrived. Luckily it was a beautiful sunny day and we were not in a hurry. Another time it took us three hours, we walked 3 km and took 2 buses and had a short stop at a grocery store, to travel a distance that took 15 minutes by car.
Now we are settled and everyday living without a car is actually quite smooth. After getting our apartment we quickly purchased two bikes and a bike-trailer for our kids. Menlo Park and Palo Alto are actually very well suited for biking. Good weather, flat landscape, good bicycle paths and you can bring the bike on the buses, commuter trains and even some subways. The kids like riding in the back even if it took some time for the smallest one to get adjusted to the helmet. And you can transport a lot of things in the trailer combined with a basket I have on my bike.
Another day after having bought a booster for the car, vacuum cleaner, shoe rack, pillow and some other small items at a major shopping center; the cashier gently asked us if we need help getting the things to the car. We said “no thank you, we are just going to take it to a bus and then on our bike”, her chin dropped and she was speechless. After three months however we did succumb to the pressure and bought a car, a used Toyota Prius. We still do our everyday life – commuting to work, taking the kids to pre-school, buying groceries – by bike but we wanted a car to be able to explore the beautiful nature around were we live, that is not accessible in any other ways. So now we enjoy a spontaneous outing to some of the open space reserves on the weekends. The challenge now is not to overuse the car and to stick to the bikes and public transportation when this is feasible. And maybe that is more realistic challenge to pose to families, or what do you think?
We have now released a new Web version (3.4.2) of Commute Greener, including small bug fixes and improvements in the determination of the international settings. We know that users in USA and UK have been frustrated since until now default settings for distance, weight, fuel consumption and price have been in km, kg and Euro. In the new version the settings will automatically be “imperial”, if typing a USA or UK home address in the Baseline Wizard:
This will make it easier and smoother for all new USA and UK users to get going with Commute Greener! You can of course still change these settings under My Profile/International Settings. We will also soon implement this improvement in the coming new iPhone version. Learn more about how to use Commute Greener and discover yourself how easy it is to use!