To celebrate Sustainability Month, members of our FortWhyte team are providing tips on how you can incorporate sustainability into your everyday activities. This week, Janna Barkman, Program Coordinator at FortWhyte Farms, shares a few things to consider when thinking about what sustainable transportation means.
Janna is in her second year at FortWhyte Farms. She is deeply influenced by her family’s love of outdoor adventuring, and building strong family and community relationships through these experiences. She graduated with her Master’s in Sustainable Development Practice, with a focus on experiential learning and youth development. Janna is thrilled to work with an organization that follows the principles of sustainable agriculture, community development, and positive youth engagement. Although she has yet to wrangle a chicken, she loves the daily challenges that come with working alongside both chickens and youth.
10 Things to Consider as You #GetSustainable with Transportation
- Consider the numbers.
Choosing sustainable transportation (e.g. biking, walking, busing) — even if only once in and a while — can have a seriously big impact on our CO2 emissions and our health. According to the Commuter Challenge calculator, biking to FortWhyte Alive from downtown (roughly 24 km) can burn 768 calories, save 2.28 L of fuel, and bypass 4.98 kg of CO2.
- Everywhere is in walking distance if you have the time.
The same goes for biking, scootering, and snowshoeing! Plan your day around your sustainable commutes and consider the actual difference in travel time. There is a common belief that driving is the fastest option, but this isn’t always the case. Driving includes warming up the vehicle, waiting in traffic, finding parking, and then walking to your destination. Busing can minimize that traffic and parking time, and biking means whizzing past cars and parking right outside the front door of your destination.
- Safety First.
Once you become comfortable on two wheels, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of it all. Safety is still priority #1, so remember to dress in bright colours (neon is easy to find these days), learn the basics on bike mechanics and be sure you know the rules of the road to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
- Don’t compromise your style.
Helmet hair is in. Biking means wearing a helmet (obviously), and helmets can be more than just a life saver. Shop around for a helmet that you will love wearing — it’s worth the investment.
- Warmth and safety are priorities to winter biking.
There’s no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing. The biggest challenge to winter biking is body temperature regulation. Choose clothing that is appropriate for cold, snow, and wind. This means many layers and wearing eye protection (i.e. ski goggles). You don’t need to look like a pro, but you do need to be prepared!
- Make an effort to carpool.
Make an effort to carpool to work or social outings. In addition to being an easy, sustainable option, carpooling yields many social benefits, like getting to know your coworkers outside of a workplace setting. Add perks to keep the group motivated: our carpool club at FortWhyte Alive will often meet at a central café in the morning to start the day off right.
- Embrace our transit.
Want to know how to improve Winnipeg’s public transport? Use it! Taking the bus can save you time and money if you plan ahead. Although FortWhyte Alive cannot be accessed directly by bus, many people hop off at a nearby stop, and walk the many beautiful trails to get here.
- Start off small.
Set attainable goals that will allow you to succeed. Making even one small change to your commuting behaviour will make a big impact. If commuting by bike makes you nervous, start on one of our city’s many beautiful bike paths to gain comfort on the road. From there, you can experiment with different roadways and routes until you have the confidence to commit to commuting by bike once (or more) per week.
If biking, walking, or busing aren’t an option for you, join the Peg City Car Co-op, a growing car share organization in Winnipeg. It’s an incredible resource for those who need to “sometimes drive” but aren’t interested in single-owner car ownership.
- Reimagine the norm.
Driving does not have to be the norm. Don’t get me wrong, I love driving down the highway, canoe on the roof, in a car filled with friends. Vehicles are here to stay. It is our daily dependency on them that can be changed, however. Changing our behaviours and attitudes around transportation begins with an open mind.
October is Sustainability Month! This month, we’re providing tips on how you can incorporate sustainability into your everyday activities. And by sharing what you, your friends, and community are doing to get sustainable this October, you could win some great prizes from our friends at Sustainable Manitoba. Tag your Instagram photos and tweets with the hashtag #GetSustainable to enter. Together, we can create a more sustainable Manitoba! Find out more at sustainabilitymonth.ca.