Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Pledge to travel differently
National Public Health Week kicked off yesterday with events across the nation focused on raising awareness of the connection between climate change and our health. The week continues today with Tuesday’s Healthy Climate Pledge behavior, which encourages Americans to “Travel Differently.” If you haven’t already, sign on to the pledge today to do your part to fight climate change!
Traveling differently is one of the many behaviors you can adopt that are not only good for the planet, but are also good for your health. Using your body to get around instead of your car means more physical activity and less greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.
Are you ready to commit to traveling differently? Here are some ideas to get you started with your new behavior:
An astonishing amount of climate change pollution in the world comes from cars driven in the United States. Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,600 pounds per year.
- Use public transportation
If you live in or near a city, chances are you have access to public transportation, whether an underground subway system, buses or light rail. Using public transportation is a cleaner way to travel and it saves the hassle of having to find parking in often crowded downtown areas!
Too often, we hop in our car for short commutes with distances we could easily walk. Walking is not only one of the best choices you could make for your personal health, but the climate will thank you in return! The U.S. surgeon general recommends at least 30 minutes of walking or bicycling a day — the equivalent of 1.5 miles of walking, or a commute by bicycle of 5 miles round trip.
If you own a bike, use it! Bikes are perfect for in-between trips that are too far to walk, but don’t necessarily require a car. The benefits to your body and the climate are plentiful. In fact, many cities, such as Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco are encouraging bike commuting by instituting special bike lanes, more bike racks and even bike share programs. Replacing half of all short trips (3 miles or less) by walking or biking would do the same for the climate as replacing more than 25 million conventional cars of comparable models with hybrid-type fuel efficiency.
To improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, go easy on the brakes and gas pedal, avoid hard accelerations, reduce time spent idling and unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce weight. Be sure to keep your car tuned and check your tire pressure regularly.
Running out for errands in your car multiple times a day is not only an inefficient use of your time, it’s hard on the environment. Whenever possible, try to combine activities and errands into one trip. Save money on gas, save more of your free time and save the environment!
In This Issue
- What’s Happening Today
- NPHW Blog Series
- Climate Change in the News
- Take Action Today!
What’s Happening Today
NPHW Blog Series
Today’s blog entry on traveling differently to fight climate change is written by Keith Laughlin, president of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy:
As National Public Health Week gets rolling, I am excited that we at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) are again a partner. RTC already knows the link between providing people with safe places to be active and reaping the benefits of a healthier community. But did you know that trails and health also come together to fight climate change...
Click here to read more!
Climate Change in the News
Here are some recent stories on NPHW from around the nation, as well as a selection of stories from the NPHW Twitter:
Take Action Today!
Representative Hilda Solis and Representative Edward Markey will be introducing a resolution highlighting NPHW and the relationship between climate change and health. Please contact your Representative and ask him/her to cosponsor this important resolution.
Climate change is one of the most serious public health threats facing our nation. Yet many Americans, including many of our elected officials are unaware of the very real consequences of climate change on the health of our communities, our families and our children.
Please take the time to send a message to your senators and representatives urging them to include provisions to protect the public’s health from the impacts of climate change as they consider legislation to address climate change this year.
Click here for more…