Opinion & Editorial

This month, try trading that steering wheel for something different

When was the last time you went on an errand without your car? When was the last time you traveled to a friend’s house or your place of work using a bus, bike, or your own body as the vehicle?

Understandably, it may have been a long time. After all, we live in a country where the car is king, and the infrastructure surrounding us is built to buoy its use. Consider how many neighborhoods in your community lack sidewalks and bike lanes or how far you are from your nearest grocery store.

Even in an area most would consider a biker’s paradise (particularly Springfield-Eugene with its riverside network of trails), having an automobile is necessary for most. For example, as the father of a 6-year-old whose schedule is packed with swim lessons, soccer practice, and school activities spaced relatively great distances apart, a car is essential.

However, ditching a gas-guzzling car for something more sustainable is challenging but possible with some planning. Care to accept a challenge? For the next month, I urge you to choose at least one day per week to ditch your car and use other means to get around. Let’s call it the #CarFreeLane Challenge. 

Walk to the grocery store. Bike to work. Roller-skate to meet your friend. These efforts can benefit your wallet, the planet, and your body.

And for those who want to inspire others, tag yourself on social media as participating. Tag your image #CarFreeLane!

Daniel Hiestand is the Waste Reduction Outreach Coordinator for Lane County and a columnist for The Chronicle. 

Waste Wise Lane County, a part of the Lane County Waste Management Division, seeks to empower residents, businesses, and schools with resources to reduce waste and live sustainably. Sign up for the Waste Wise newsletter at lanecountyor.gov/wastewise.

Waste Wise Tip: Keep your car maintained

Maintaining a regular vehicle maintenance schedule is a great way to be sustainable behind the wheel. According to an article in Biofriendly Planet Magazine, “Regular car maintenance ensures the car parts designed to monitor and reduce emissions are performing optimally. These include the on-board diagnostic monitoring (OBD) system, catalytic converter, oxygen sensor, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system, air injection pump, positive crankcase ventilation valve, and misfire monitor. Regular engine tune-ups can additionally improve fuel consumption by 4-12%.”

Sustainable Transportation Trivia

Take a few minutes to test your knowledge of sustainable transportation and take our challenging trivia quiz. Simply scan the QR code with your smartphone, “spin the wheel” to choose a nickname, and play the game.



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