The Green Prescription
How you live makes a difference
Let’s start with your vehicle. If you’re driving an SUV, it burns one-half to two-thirds more fuel than a regular car. As for cars, newer models can vary considerably on environmental and energy efficiency, so compare both fuel efficiency and emission controls before buying or leasing.
Technology can only help so much, though. We need to reduce the number of vehicles and the time they spend on the road. One way is to hike the price of gas. As the David Suzuki Foundation points out, in Europe, fuel costs two to three times more than it does here, and European consumption is one-third less.
This is also an urban planning issue, since the growth of suburbs has extended commuting times. So we need to halt sprawl and encourage people to live downtown or close to where they work. This means greater density, with more condo high-rises along subway and bus routes. To get people out of cars, you also need better public transit, as well as more bike lanes. Businesses need to be encouraged to provide secure bicycle racks, plus showering areas.
But in the shorter term, what can you do this summer?
First published in Allergic Living magazine.
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