To a brighter future

To a brighter future

Friday, February 6, 2015

FAQs for Getting There Green Day 2015

1) What is Getting There Green Day?
  • It's a way to celebrate the arrival of spring by choosing green transport options, ways of getting around that use less fuel, cause less smog and release less carbon dioxide.
  • It's a virtual event, so that instead of happening in just one place it's happening all around the world, wherever people are choosing green transport options.
  • This is the fourth year of the event. The first was 2012.
2) When is it?
  • It's on Friday, March 20, 2015, the first day of spring (or the vernal equinox if you prefer).
  • It's on the first day of spring every year, in the northern hemisphere at least. The exact date will vary, but we'll let you know when it is each year.
  • It's an all day event, starting at midnight and going for all of March 20, for whatever time zone you're in. We didn't want to tie it to just one time zone.
3) Where is it?
  • It's wherever you're going that day, Friday, March 20, 2015. So don't change your plans, just give some thought to getting there green.
  • you don't have to "get there green" for the whole day -- if you have lots of trips to take on March 20th, even making just one of them green will help!
  •  By not tying it to one place we made it so that you can take part anywhere in the world.
  • We also thought that by making it a virtual event it won't have a physical event's footprint: energy, litter, wastewater and other impacts. And while a virtual event also has impacts, they'll be a whole lot smaller.
  4) How much does it cost?
  • Nothing. But you may end up saving money by saving fuel. Hope that's okay.
5) How do I take part?
  • We'd love it if you joined the official Facebook event. Find it on the Green Passport page, and click Join. And we'd love it if you Like Green Passport :)
  • Even if you don't join the event, Like Green Passport so you can follow the updates and learn about fuel efficient-driving, bike commuting and other green ways of getting around. Then use what you've learned on March 20.
6) Do I have to ride a bike?
  • No. A bike is a great green choice, but it may not be the right choice for everyone, or for every day.  Walking and transit are also good options, but even driving can be greened. Follow the Green Passport updates, and you'll be saving fuel and cutting emissions behind the wheel in no time.
7) May I ride a bike? 
Absolutely! You may also walk, take a bus, take a trolley, take a train, run, blade, board, canoe, sail, swim, kayak, row, ski, snowshoe, ride a tricycle, ride a unicycle, ride a horse, ride a mule, ride a screaming goat, ride a camel, ride an ostrich, ride a rickshaw, ride a dogsled, ride a bunny sled ... whew! You may even drive, but please do it green. We'll give you some pointers on that in our updates.

Getting There Green Day 2015

Going somewhere on the first day of spring? Thought you might be, so why not join us in getting there green? Friday, March 20th, 2015 -- the first day of spring -- will be the fourth annual Getting There Green Day, hosted since the beginning by the folks at Green Passport. It's a virtual event (connecting people through Facebook: people all over the world take part), so nothing to attend, no schedule to stress over and no pancake breakfast (sorry): all you do is go where you're going, but as green as you can. It's fun, it's free and it's a great way to celebrate the coming of spring!

Getting There Green Day is about choosing the best option to make your personal travel clean, affordable, maybe even healthy. It's not just about cycling. Or walking. Or taking transit. Even your driving can be greened. Not all of us can achieve a car-free lifestyle: if you can, or want to, that's great, but you'll get no grief from us if you stay behind the wheel. You can reduce the amount you drive, or reduce your impact by improving your efficiency with better driving habits. You may not be able to go car-free, but car-lite is within your reach!
Of course if you do want to leave the car at home, we'll be right there holding the bike for you. Or your boots. Or your bus pass. Metaphorically speaking, yes, but the tips, tools and tales you'll enjoy through Green Passport's updates on Facebook and Twitter will support your success in getting there green.
Three simple steps and you're done:
  1. Go to and Like Green Passport.
  2. Join the Getting There Green Day event. 
  3. Please Invite Friends to join in. If they're not on Facebook yet you can send them the link in step 1: they'll need to join Facebook to take part.
Thanks for taking part. See you on-line!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Planning for Getting There Green - Part 2 (updated for 2015)

Planning is useful, and we should plan more. 

I promised to give you some tools to make trip planning a habit, to replace the habit of just driving everywhere. Here are three.

Tool # 1: Keep a driving log
    Write down your mileage & fuel purchases.
  • this can be a booklet like the one in the picture (bought at Staples) or just a piece of paper that you promise not to lose. Keep it in the glove compartment, along with a pen or pencil.
  • write down your mileage at the end of each day that you (or someone else) drives that vehicle. Starting mileage and finishing mileage are even better, but at least finishing mileage, please. Remember to put the date :)

  • write down how much fuel you buy, and your mileage when you buy it. And the date.
  • keep a separate log for each vehicle you drive. Label them so they don't get mixed up. 
  • Mobility Geek option If you like, write down every cost associated with each vehicle you drive, and the mileage when each of those costs occurred. Everything from new wiper blades to oil changes to the loonie you paid to put air in the tires. Note: this is optional, but if you're into details you'll love it later on.

Tool # 2:  Make a list

Each week, take a piece of paper (junk mail printed on only one side works well) and draw a line down the middle. Label one half  Shopping list and the other half  Errands. Keep it in the kitchen, or anywhere in the house where a) it's convenient and b) it won't get lost or forgotten.  Don't keep it in the car: you need it to be close at hand.

Make a shopping list. Seriously.
The shopping side is not just for groceries, but anything you need to buy, from any type of store.

The other side is where you list errands that require transportation -- or that seem to require transportation (hint!).

The division may not make sense yet, but that's why  we have future blog posts.

5 days good; 10 days better.
Tool # 3: Check the weather forecast

You want to get an idea what the weather will be like over the week, not just today. Most sites, such as  AccuWeather , Foreca and  Wunderground, look at least  5 days ahead (that'll do) but go for a 7 to 10 day forecast if you can. It's also helpful if the site offers hour-by-hour predictions for the next 24 hours.

Get used to checking the forecast every day, even twice a day: as part of your wake-up routine, and then later when you're winding down. We're building habits here.

So there they are. Three basic tools that help in  planning for getting there green. They're part of a broader decision-making matrix, but if I 'd said that at the beginning you might have left to watch pointless cat videos on YouTube. Future posts will look at how to use what you write down or look up, but it never gets very complicated. Start recording your mileage, making lists and checking weather forecasts. Class dismissed!

Dave K

Friday, March 9, 2012

Planning for Getting There Green - Part 1

Driving is useful, but we drive too much.

It's a general statement, true. There are people who don't drive, by choice or circumstance, but so many of us do. And for those who do, driving can become an "excuse engine", churning out all sorts of reasons why we should take the car: 

I'm running late. 
It might rain.
It might snow.
It's an oven out there!
It's freezing out there!
It's a beautiful day to have the top down.
It's too far.
I need to run to the store for a few things.
I need to run to the store for a few more things (that I forgot the first time)!

Sound familiar? They are to me ... I've used them all (well, not the "top down" one, but close). And sometimes they're valid. Maybe it is too far. Maybe you don't want to get soaked in a downpour. They just come to mind so easily that we use them to justify taking the car when we don't really need it. We're so used to having cars available (or trucks, SUVs ... pick your motor vehicle of choice) that they're not just useful, they're essential.

Or so we think. We don't often consider the question -- should I drive or get there some other way? -- so driving becomes the automatic choice. The easy choice. But still a choice.

I'm not against driving; I like it (I used to love it, but that's another blog post). I'm also a very informed driver. For years I taught standard shift driving for Young Drivers of Canada, so I had to know my stuff: it was a job requirement. That gave me a unique point of view on how we drive and depend on driving, which leads me to repeat
driving is useful, but we drive too much.

Taking the car is a habit for so many of us. Not always a bad one, but perhaps a lazy one because we don't give much thought to alternatives. And on the surface the alternatives, like walking, cycling and transit, may not look as good. But scrape away that surface and their value starts to shine: less fuel, less carbon, less expense, better health, better streets, better communities. In order to get that value we need to make driving just one of several choices. Right now, it's our choice by habit. And habits can be changed.

A great way to change a habit is to replace it with a better one, like planning. Here's a thought:

planning is useful, and we should plan more.

It's hard to plan, though, isn't it? That means thinking ahead; looking things up; even writing things down! Yes it does, but planning is also a key part of making better choices about how you get around. So in the next post, Planning for Getting There Green - Part 2, I'll give you the tools to make it happen, by making it habit.

Dave K