The First Parish Blog

Commit2Consider our Travel Habits: Do The Walk of Life

By , Published on January 27, 2017

If you are able, walking and biking are good not just for your mind, body, and spirit, they are much gentler on the planet than strapping yourself into a ton of metal powered by exploding pistons to mail that letter. 

According to the US Dept. of Energy, vehicle emissions account for 51% of the average household’s carbon footprint.  Every 10 gallons of gasoline we burn is transformed to 200 pounds of CO2, as well as water and other pollutants.  (This is more than 3 times the weight of the gas itself, as it combines with oxygen).  “Upstream” extraction, purification and delivery generate another 50 pounds of CO2.

I always think twice before hopping in my car.  Can the errand wait, or be combined with another necessary trip?  Is there a better way to get there?  I love it that Roche Brothers and Harvey’s are near FPN, and plan my trips there around going to church.  Maybe you do too.

Speaking of my car, we just leased a Chevy Volt through Mass Energy’s Drive Green program.  With the Drive Green subsidy, our monthly rate is only $250, and we will get a $2500 rebate from the State- much more than our down payment!  And we’re still on the same tank of gas the car came with a month ago.  Come to Sunday’s Lyceum to learn how you too can be an early electric vehicle adopter!

When planning your next vacation, you don’t have to go far to get away.  Long distance travel contributes a large chunk to our vehicle emissions.  Have you explored Portsmouth, NH, Acadia National Park, Mt. Washington, Stowe, VT, Tanglewood/Lenox, or Mystic Seaport?  New England is filled with destination gems, some accessible by Amtrak.

For those must-go long trips, taking the bus or train is much lower-stress and lower impact than flying out of Logan.  With their more leisurely pace, the journey can be as much fun as the destination.

Air travel on average emits more greenhouse gases per passenger-mile than any other mode, and its combustion in the stratosphere magnifies their heat-trapping power. Bus and train travel are comparatively low impact . 

Jan and I can affirm that riding Amtrak to New York and DC from Rte. 128 station is far less hassle than going to, from and through Logan, LaGuardia and Dulles.  And we rode a Greyhound from South Station to Montreal to visit his son last fall.  It was very relaxing, and we met some interesting fellow travelers!  Ask us about the up and coming medical marijuana entrepeneur.

This week, your order of service will contain a pledge card with several actions you may select to reduce your travel emissions.  Stop by the Green Congregation table at Social Hour to learn more about various travel mode impacts and alternatives.  Those who pledge can enter to win two round trip tickets to Boston on the Commuter Rail!

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