To a brighter future

To a brighter future

Sunday, March 16, 2014

FAQs for Getting There Green Day 2014



1) What is Getting There Green Day?
  • It's a way to celebrate the arrival of spring by choosing green mobility 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 mobility options.
  • This is the third year of the event. The first was 2012.
2) When is it?
  • It's on March 20, 2014, the first day of spring (or the vernal equinox if you prefer).
  • It's on the first day of spring every year. 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, March 20, 2014. 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 under Events 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 2014






Going somewhere on the first day of spring? Thought you might be, so why not join us in getting there green? Thursday, March 20th, 2014 -- the first day of spring -- will be the third 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 changing to 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 www.facebook.com/GPCanada 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!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Green-tinged Driving (updated for 2014)


Okay, Getting There Green Day may be the first day of spring, but for a lot of us it's just a date on the calendar, not a bird-chirping, flower-blooming burst of sunshine. Many places are expecting cold, snowy, slushy weather. And check this out:

"Excellent, Smithers!"

 That's a lot of anger towards a simple rodent, even one that looks like Mr. Burns. The point is, if you have to drive, then drive -- but give your driving a distinctly green tinge by trying one, two or all of these simple ideas.


1) Check your car's tire pressure

Don't know the correct pressure for your tires? No problem, it's stamped on the side of the tire, right?




       Not right






That number on the tire is the tire maker's recommendation. They made the tire, but not the car.

So that's a door jam. Who knew?


Please read the manual. Just this once?
 But the people who made the car gave this a lot of thought.
So you want their  recommendation, which is either on the door jam or in the owner's manual. And it might be different for the front and rear tires.



Dave under pressure (Grace couldn't make it).


Once you know the correct pressure, check your tires with a gauge, either the kind you keep in the glove compartment or the one built into the gas station air pump. Fill as needed, and don't forget the spare!






2) Get the junk out of the trunk

Seriously. You need golf clubs and bags of soil -- in the winter? And go low-sodium in the summer and leave the salt at home. Same with winter tires. They belong either on the car or in storage -- in a building, not a trunk. Keeping the cargo hold free of extra weight saves fuel. Just ask an airline.




3) Plan your trip and leave early

Simply put, if you're not stressed out as a driver you'll be easier on the gas pedal.
Instead of dashing out the door at your usual time, half-eaten bagel clenched in your teeth and a desperate look in your eye, wouldn't it be nice to stroll casually outside, whistling a cheery tune and smiling at the world? There is a way -- leave early. Nothing drastic, just 5 or 10 minutes. Of course, this will take planning, and planning is what so many of these blog posts have been about. It could mean changing your routine a bit -- but if your routine is that wild-eyed, bagel-chomping dash out the door, how is that a bad thing?

So, 5 or 10 minutes. That means setting the alarm clock 5 or 10 minutes earlier: you get that. But here's the key part: don't do anything else that you didn't do before. This isn't an extra 5 or 10 minutes to do yoga/make pancakes/watch one more cat video -- this is time you've reserved for leaving early, and that's it. Those other things are worth-while -- so many cat videos, so little time -- but if you want them too, get up even earlier.

Leaving early means saving fuel, cutting stress, perhaps better digestive health. That smile and cheerful whistling keeps the neighbours guessing. And you'll find the peace in your heart to forgive the groundhog -- he's just the messenger, after all.






Thursday, February 28, 2013

Getting There Green Day 2013 FAQs


1) What is Getting There Green Day?
  • It's a celebration of green mobility 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 mobility options.
  • This is the second year of the event. The first was 2012.
2) When is it?
  • It's on March 20, 2013, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. Or the first day of autumn in the southern hemisphere.
  • It's on the first day of spring (or autumn, down south) every year. 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, March 20, 2013. So don't change your plans, just give some thought to getting there green.
  •  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 under Events 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 ... whew! You may even drive, but please do it green. We'll give you some pointers on that in our updates.
Dave K 

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Getting There Green Day 2013


video 

Are you ready for spring yet? It's coming soon, just like the second annual Getting There Green Day, on March 20th, 2013, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere (and the first day of autumn in the southern hemisphere). Wherever you're going that day, join a growing crowd of like-minded people in getting there green. Interested, but not sure how? That's why Green Passport and its collaborators created the event last year. We're going to share some simple ideas; just pick the ones you can do. You might end up saving money by getting there green, and save fuel and cut emissions. Hope you don't mind ...
Getting There Green Day is a virtual event connecting people through Facebook. You can participate from anywhere in the world!
Getting There Green Day is low-impact. There's no pancake breakfast; no bands; no emissions, litter or wastewater that you'd get with an on-site celebration. Instead, you just go where you were planning to go, but green. Will you be going to work that day? To school? To buy groceries? Well, carry on with that. We know simple things to make your travel better by getting there green.
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 do the 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 using better driving habits. You may not be able to go car-free, but changing to car-lite is within your reach!
Of course if you do want to leave the car at home, we'll be right there holding your 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 regular updates on Facebook and Twitter will support your success in getting there green. 
Getting There Green Day is part of the on-going collaboration between Green Passport, GoingfortheGreen.net and GFTG TV. Let us make Getting There Green Day 2013 a great success!
Three simple steps and you're done:
  1. Go to www.facebook.com/GPCanada and Like Green Passport.
  2. Join Getting There Green Day, in the Events tab. 
  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!
Dave K

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Planning for Getting There Green - Part 3 (updated for 2014)

Planning is useful: you should plan a week ahead

I know, you think that'll never happen. "A week?!" you say, "I can't even plan breakfast!" Fair enough, but you've at least been able to plan things like going out to a movie. Or a week-end at the cottage. Or getting married. Planning for one day when you don't take the car is really not a big deal! Especially if you make it a habit.

You've already started building this habit. Let's recap what you're doing so far:
  1. measuring your fuel purchases and mileage, using a booklet or your receipts
  2. keeping a shopping list and an errands list
  3. checking the weather forecast
Now some motivation. What can planning one day per week when you don't drive do for your wallet and the planet?

 Let's say you drive to work every day, five days a week, in a car that uses 5 L/100 km of diesel. Your commute is 25 km one way, so 50 km per day and 250 km per week. This gives you:

  • 12.5 litres of fuel burned per work week
  • $16.25 spent on fuel per work week (at $1.30/L for diesel)
  • 33.75 kg of carbon dioxide emitted by your diesel-burning car per work week
Over a 50 week work year your commuting (and only commuting, not personal driving) means:

  • 625 litres of fuel burned
  • $812.50 spent on fuel
  • 1 687.5 kg of carbon dioxide emitted (more than the car weighs)
Actually your numbers could be more like double these ones. The car in this example is a scary-efficient diesel Golf; most vehicles do a lot more fuel burning, dollar munching and CO2 spewing than this. But to follow through on the example, getting to work by bicycle -- just to pick an alternative -- even one day per week would mean cutting those numbers by 20%. So you save:

  • 125 litres of fuel
  • $162.50 on fuel
  • 337.5 kg of carbon dioxide
Just by commuting one day per week by bike. It's even better if you can bike more, but I won't be greedy!

So, how to decide which day? Glad you asked!

Where's that shopping list?

Somewhere, probably the kitchen, you've been keeping a list of items you need to buy and errands you need to run. Can't find it? Okay, we'll use mine.





The trick is to break the list down into things that need the car, and things that don't. Or, to turn the idea around, what items could you NOT carry in a shopping bag on foot, or on the bus? In panniers or a backpack on your bike? Now for errands. Which ones can NOT be done on foot, by transit or by bike?





Mark the items/errands that need a car with an  *.  Or circle them, underline them ... whatever works. But I'm using an  *. You probably get this  >>>

 So an oil change, a kitchen sink and garden soil (even one bag is heavy). Could you take care of all three on the same day,  even the same trip? Yes? Oh, I definitely hear "yes"!  But which day? 


We don't know yet: we need to check the weather.

What's the weather doing?


That habit you have of checking the weather forecasts twice a day? Good idea. Here's where it pays off. Even if you don't take screen shots like I do.

This is the 10 day forecast for Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where I live. It's from the MSN website, using Bing.

I've circle in red all the days where it looks like you'd get cold, wet and slushy if you walked or rode your bike. (I looked at the Details for each day to see what to expect in the morning and afternoon commutes). Getting There Green Day, Thursday 20 March, is circled in green dashes.

If a day is circled in red it's likely a car day, so that means you may want the car on Wednesday. Green dashes are possible walk or transit or bike days, depending on your comfort level. Solid green is an even better candidate for leaving the car at home: you've planned to do that one day per week, so take your pick of the greens. 

There's one more thing: the dentist! Oh, don't worry, it's just a cleaning. But your appointment's on Friday, which could be a nice day to not drive. And wouldn't your dentist be impressed if you saved the planet on the way there?


So are we done deciding on which day to leave the car at home? The day where you'll save 2.5 litres of fuel, 6.75 kg of carbon dioxide and $3.25 you can now spend on good coffee? You can have more than one, you know. Why not Thursday, Getting There Green Day , and  Friday, Impress the Dentist Day? Or is that pushing it?

Dave K

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fuel Consumption: what to do with the numbers

If you know your numbers you'll want to make them better.

Last time I showed you a cool technique for measuring fuel consumption. Now we play with those numbers, which is even more cool, because who really does enough math? But I have to warn you: some images may disturb sensitive drivers. You're about to figure out how much fuel you burn getting around and how much carbon dioxide you leave in your wake. Not for the faint of heart! The good news is that seeing these numbers will probably inspire you to cut down on fuel and CO2 so that we all get a happy Hollywood ending.

To recap, you've been:
  1. filling the tank each time you buy fuel
  2. writing down litres bought, total mileage and trip mileage each time you buy fuel
  3. resetting the trip counter before you leave the gas station, every time
Nice work. Let's get calculating!


You've been writing this stuff down, somewhere.

 We'll start with the basic one, fuel consumption. When I do this I work from the receipts, which I always keep. You may just as easily be working from that driving log booklet you keep in the glove compartment. What matters is that you have
<<< this info:


If you've made a boo-boo and forgotten to record your trip mileage, all is not lost. You can get it by subtracting your total mileage from the total mileage on the receipt from the fill-up before this. Good thing you're writing it down!

Got the calculator ready? Divide the number of litres you bought by the trip mileage. Now multiply the result by 100.

A simple example, from the Land of Easy Math.


Done! You've just calculated your vehicle's fuel consumption between this fill-up and the one before, in

litres per 100 kilometres.

Just like the example  >>>


So after doing that, "are you frightened? Not nearly frightened enough!" (it's from some movie) Perhaps your number is really low, like the example, which is from my diesel standard-shift Golf. Lots of vehicles will give results between 6 and 10 L/100 km. Below this range your vehicle's fuel use could be called  Really Quite Good; above it, would be, well ... Really Not So Good. I'm being somewhat arbitrary, and maybe a bit smug --  diesel standard-shift Golf  -- so if you'd like to make comparisons try Natural Resources Canada or www.fueleconomy.gov.

But if, as Aragorn said, you're "not nearly frightened enough" by that number let's try another one. Carbon dioxide is the second-most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, and being number two it tries harder: it's becoming more abundant over time due mainly to anthropogenic sources, Your vehicle, and mine, are anthropogenic sources. So let's figure out how much CO2 our vehicles emit, starting with mine.

My Golf' may not have feet, but it has a carbon footprint.


To turn the fuel consumption number for my diesel Golf into carbon dioxide released, simply multiply it by 2.7 ... as in diesel engines typically release about 2.7 kilograms of carbon dioxide per litre of fuel burned (2.7 kg CO2/L). >>>






Gas-burning vehicles have a carbon footprint too.

  Now it's your turn. If you drove the same car I do, but with a gasoline-burning engine, and you managed to get the same fuel comsumption of 5 L/100 km, your numbers would look
<<< like this.

But it doesn't matter which model you drive: for a gas engine you multiply by 2.3, because gas engines typically release about 2.3 kg CO2/L.





Now, even with a gas-burning Golf you probably wouldn't get the same numbers I did. Diesel engines release more CO2 per litre, but they use a lot less fuel, roughly 65% of what a comparable gas engine uses. So between diesel and gas, diesel is usually the better choice for a smaller carbon footprint.


Is the math over yet? Not quite -- one more conversion for you. A magical way to turn fuel consumption into fuel economy, to make you fluently bilingual in both litres and mpgs.
Do you speak mpgs?


The two slides spell it out. If you were born and raised in L/100 km but want to converse in miles per gallon, go here >>>








It takes longer to say it in L/100 km.


And if your first tongue is mpgs but you want to speak litres like a native,
<<< go here.









Okay, math time is over! This is a starting point for reducing your fuel use, a real-world handle on part of your environmental impact. Reducing it not just by driving more efficiently, but also by making non-car choices. Now that you know your numbers you can do something about them. Sort of like cholesterol. But without the 10 year old magazines in the doctor's waiting room.

Dave K