Shane can verify that when we first met many years ago, I had no idea how to read a map. I would turn it around and around, and as a result we would get turned around and around. After a brief, albeit grumbling, tutorial, I learned how to properly read a map and now can find my way around any city!
The beginning of the commuting challenge was a bit like before I learned how to read a map. Lots of twists and turns trying to find our way, but we have learned so much along the way!
After trying biking, carpooling, transit and more, we significantly cut down our commute! I think the real eye opener was when we compared our base commute to our challenge commute. One word=EEK. Although aware of the environmental impact, we were driving A LOT! And when you map it all out, the numbers don’t lie! I was guilty of bringing one of the kids to youth group, coming home and then going back to pick up, at an expense of 40km just for that one activity! Like I said, EEK!
In hard discussions and decisions with the kids, we have all decided to make some cuts (and have invested in an EV for all those back-and-forth trips to the city!). That means some activities have been dropped and others must fit around what we already have on the go!
It’s all coming down to mapping or planning it out. In addition to writing down the kids’ activities on our calendar, I have now added my commuting plans! It will be easy to see and make me more accountable.
We have began mapping out our meals too. Ok. Not all of them. Do people really plan breakfast and snacks too? If you do, please send ideas! I found this great meal prep calendar online and it even includes a grocery list. And the best part of mapping out our meals, is we consciously cut out beef and omitted meat altogether on some meals to lower our carbon emission footprint. Did you know that beef is over three times more carbon intensive than chicken? And lamb is far worse!
We plan to pick up groceries around activities only and plan to use the grocery list to avoid any list minute car trips to the store (so guilty of this!). Alas, if we do need something, this challenge has proved to us that the older kids can indeed walk or bike to the store if we forgot something!
Oh, and speaking of kids, I best tell them to make sure they plan to have a sweater when I’m picking them up, as I’m planning to not idle to keep the car warm! “Idling gets you nowhere – and it can be costly”. While I’m waiting for the kids, I’ll review my map!
“Maps are like campfires — everyone gathers around them, because they allow people to understand complex issues at a glance and find agreement about how to help the land.”
Sonoma Ecology Center, GIS/IS Program Web Site