Today I'll answer one of the many questions that are still coming in. I'll respond to them over time, okay? The one that I'll answer today: why don't we take public transportation? Aren't buses and subways a good thing?
Yes, public transportation is wonderful and once the No Impact
experiment is over, we'll probably use it, at least when it rains or
snows. But it still has an impact, environmentally speaking, that is
bigger than walking, biking or scootering.
It seems extreme, I know, but we are trying to have as low a negative impact as possible. Also, one of the questions underlying the No Impact experiment is what do we really need? Our experiment is deliberately radical. What happens when you give up everything?
The culture tells us we need so many things, so many comforts, so
many services--just to get by. But do we? We are stripping down our
life, seeing what we really miss, and at the end we'll very
deliberately put it back together. Michelle calls it a life redesign.
For example, if we took public transport, how would we have realized that getting around by bike and scooter and stairs is actually a blast? How would we, for the first time in our lives, have both ended up physically fit without taking time to run in place at a gym?
On the other hand, if you follow the argument of Wharton Professor Karl Urich, each year of cycling increases the rider's health and therefore his or her overall life expectancy by 10.6 days. The extra environmental resources consumed by living those extra days negatively offsets the energy saved by pedaling your way around. In other words, Urlich argues, by cycling and scootering, Michelle and I will live longer and therefore ultimately hurt the environment. Oy vey! Yet another mistake!?
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.