Taking A Break From Driving

Rear vision mirror showing part of man's face

Image: Iain Ferrell, Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Last night I drove my car for the first time in weeks.

It felt a bit odd.

It wasn’t as if anything was unusual: I loaded my things into the car, hopped into the driver’s seat and drove a very familiar route.

But it still felt a bit different.

Maybe it was because I was somewhat more conscious of what I was doing.

But why?

As I’ve said, all the indicators were that it should have been a very average trip – the sort where you just go into ‘automatic’ mode (if you’ve been driving for years like me).

Except, at the beginning of the trip I wasn’t in ‘automatic’ mode: I was very conscious of what I was doing.

And that’s because I hadn’t done it for a while. Perhaps you’ve been in the same position – say when you’ve returned from a long interstate or international trip where you’ve been travelling by means other than driving yourself.

Last week I wrote about pausing to reflect on what we are doing, to look at our goals and how we go about our daily lives.

In this time of increasingly record-breaking weather, increasing weather extremes increasing suffering and displacement around the world, let’s take the opportunity to reflect on one aspect of our lives that may be contributing to the climate emergency: transport.

Transport accounts for at least 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also much higher in many places like Australian Capital Territory, USA and Europe – and growing).  And transport is something we can personally do a lot about…simply by changing our day-to-day choices.

So, transport seems like an excellent target for personally examining how much we are contributing to this important source of greenhouse gas emissions and then making a serious effort to reducing our contribution,

Over the next month, let’s take the time to look at how we travel and see how much we can reduce the impact of our travel on our precious world..  Let’s take this time to undertake a ‘carbon fast’ for our travel.  While that doesn’t mean we necessarily stop travelling, it certainly means that we look at:

  • whether we need to travel
  • how we travel.

This coming week and weekend is a great time to get organised for our travel carbon fast.  (And where I live it’s a long weekend, so we have even more time to get organised!)

Why now? The Islamic month of Ramadan, which begins very soon, is an excellent time to be undertaking a carbon fast. So too are other times of fasting amongst various religions (such as Christian period of Lent).

So join me and others around the world as we take a break from driving our cars for a carbon fast from travel during Ramadan. Go on, take up the challenge!

Action checklist

1.  Set aside an hour or two over the next week to:

  • reflect on your travel:
    • Do you need to travel?
    • Could you so some or all of travel by public transport, or by walking or riding a bike, or by train or bus instead of flying or driving?
  • get organised so you can travel by public transport, or by walking or riding a bike, or by train or bus instead of flying or driving whenever possible:
    • How much time would it take?
    • When would you need to travel?
    • Do you need to dress differently?
    • Do you need any special equipment (eg umbrella, raincoat, hat, backpack, bicycle (that suits you and is in good working order), helmet, bike lock, lights, reflective gear)?
    • Do you need to buy a ticket in advance? Do you need to load your ticket with money, or get extra cash to buy one on board?
    • What is your back-up plan?

2.  Leave your comment, question or experience in the Reply box below…or send me a voice message by clicking on the tab on the right.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!