A few years ago, I started tracking my carbon footprint with a cool web application called Project Neutral. There weren’t many surprises when I did my first run through the survey but one that really shocked me was the percentage of carbon output that came from driving my car. It shouldn’t really have been a surprise – everyone knows that cars are bad for the environment. But I think we tend not to think about how bad they are because they feel like a necessary evil. I can’t remember the exact percentage, but I remember that at least half of my family’s carbon output was on transportation.
So when I had to opportunity, I made a career switch to work in the same city where I live. In previous jobs I had driven between 30 – 100 kilometer to get to work, so it was a welcome change – not only because of the environmental impact, but to save time spent in my car every day, hundreds of dollars on gas each month, lower stress from less time spent in traffic, and improved well-being from active transportation.
There’s also something to be said for contributing to your local workforce. In the same way that shopping locally can keep money in your community, working where you live can help boost the local economy.
If a job swap or move is out of the question for you, here’s an article from Treehugger Magazine that can help reduce the cost and impact of our daily commute.