After living car-less throughout six years of university, I was pretty darn smug about my awesome walking ability. I mean, driving in Montreal is ridiculously scary and the transit there is fantastic. Then I moved to Vernon BC, a TINY town in the middle of no where and sadly had purchased my first car. A cute, uber efficient 3 door Yaris hatchback (who's name is the "Jelly Bean"), but a car nonetheless.
Jelly Bean and me in BC... it's so shiny and new!After two years of driving everywhere, I vowed that our return to the "big city" of Halifax (haha) would result in less to NO driving. AND I got a job 20 minutes outside the city and drove everyday. At least for two seasons out of the year I carpooled! I also watched our goal of using "no car" for city stuff dwindle down to nothing. Halifax, although a city, has a TERRIBLE bus system. I mean, bad. From the navigation and choosing a route stage, to actually finding a bus that ran more than once an hour, to being able to rely on said bus actually showing up on time (or at all!).
Andrew, being awesome, has figured out the bus route for his work and uses it regularly... at the small price of 72$ a month. Yep, and they wonder why transit use is so low. I vowed that if I ever got a job in the Halifax office I would walk to work every day.
Starting last week, I got that job. Currently I have walked four days so far (three days last week I had to drive and today I worked outside the city again). It's a forty minute intense walk each way and I had stitches in my sides every time! I haven't walked so much since my Montreal days! Monday, waking up like my body had been run over by a snowmobile, had been especially difficult...
Pre-walking, I made sure to have the correct equipment: comfy knee-high boots, pulled out the old knee-length coat (thank goodness mom patched up the inside- yay for being thrifty!), hat, scarves and mittens. I think I may also have to invest in long johns.... ack!
Spring Garden+Barrington intersection, Beautiful Stone Church juxtaposed against an uber modern building... TRES HalifaxI would like to say that Peak Oil, carbon emissions or some other environmental reason was the motivation for actually sticking with walking.... but really it's the cost of parking (I KNOW, so embarrassing to admit!). The two days I parked last week cost 30$, and all monthly parking lots close enough to consider are well over 100$ a month.
Alright, I know some colleagues who live in the city and still manage to park somewhere, so I have to say the TIPPING point was the environment. Plus, each day I walk I feel SO GOOD about decreasing my dependence on oil.
Have you thought or heard about Peak Oil dear reader? I hadn't until about 8 months ago... after starting to read the several blogs and sites on the topic, I started to feel my anxiety rise. Basically, the premise (that has been proven by leading organizations) is that oil is a finite resource. Made from plant matter that has been compressed for millions of years, there is only so much available on the planet.
We are at the "peak" of oil resource availability... and will eventually (in our lifetime and many experts claim *in the near future*) run out. As oil becomes more and more scarce, prices will rise resulting in everything that depends on oil's prices to rise... which is basically everything. From plastic, to food, to electricity... the list goes on. Eventually the entire system will crash. If you'd like to read more please visit Sharon Astyk's blogs (Casaubon's Book, Riot for Austerity, Sharon Astyk), Crash Course in Peak Oil, Peak Oil Hausfrau.
Alright, I can recognize rationally that this is true, but honestly the language is just plain scary and immobilizing. I do believe that it is important to acknowledge, but I don't feel that hunkering down into apocalypse-mode will be mentally healthy for myself.
Recently, I have realized that the transition and resolution to shift our worldview to a more communal-relationship valued as opposed to consumeristic valued life fits in well with preparing for "Peak Oil". In using less energy, buying less "things", beginning to grow our own food (hopefully with more success!), eating local and organic food that doesn't travel as far (depending on fuel) and planning on using alternative energy sources to power our (someday) house are all things that lessen our dependance on oil.
Getting used to walking to work is another (huge) step.
Hopefully it will also strengthen my legs... which have always been pretty darn weak. As a result, I'm hoping that my standing postures will improve as well!
On that Yoga note:
(Anonymous: Thank you so much for alerting me (and friends!) to Seth's studio opening next week! I may be out of the city for most or all of that week, but will attend a class regardless and definitely keep you updated via a post! It would also be cool if you left a name, if you felt comfortable with that when you comment :) It's so exciting that other Haligonians are reading!)