Earth Day 2017: Six Earth-friendly alternatives to your auto
Connecticut recently ranked fifth in the country for greenness — so why aren't we always acting green? We're particularly lax when it comes to giving up our one-person-per-auto mindset. This reporter wholly believes that the greatest impediment to getting more folks to share a ride, or get on the bus or train is reversing a stigma. Being a bus rider is even fodder for comic effect in movies. Women walking to the bus in the 'burbs sometimes get propositioned as ladies of the evening! It's the bus, people, not a meth deal. The reason to reverse the stigma is clear and urgent: we are on a collision course with climate change and the planet isn't winning. From coral bleaching to cites choking on air pollution, climate change -- a laughed off topic by Donald Trump -- is the plague that keeps on giving. Thought last summer was too warm? Just wait till the next hurricane hits us and everyone's remarking how severe the weather "suddenly" is. So here are some options for putting your car keys on the dresser and finding another way to work, school, the mall or anywhere! •Take the train Metro North runs New Haven and Harlem lines with connections to many points east and north. Take Amtrak from Hartford to connect in New Haven. •Get on the bike and ride! Bikes are not just a way to get to where you want to go in an eco-friendly way, but you'll burn calories, tone muscles and help your heart. Do check with your doctor first, though, if coming back from injury or illness, if you are out of shape, or if you're in your senior years. •Lyft and Uber are super Download Lyft's or Uber's app and away you go. Most millennials are already onboard, so what's your excuse? Though the San Francisco-based Uber's had legal troubles, they're still worth your investment. •Walk, stroll, amble along What a sweet time of year it is here in Southeastern New England. Walk that mile to Whole Foods or the six blocks to Marianne's baby shower. Americans are too addicted to expensive germ-full gyms and not enough to old-fashioned walking. Make sure you're wearing decent shoes (shop only name brands and make sure to walk a lot in the store prior to purchase.) •Bullish on Buses I take Greyhound from Corpus Christi to my mother's small town about an hour east. Sure, sometimes the AC is funky or the people behind me make too much noise, but it's cheap, reliable, and helps me offset my carbon footprint. You can take Greyhound right here, too, from Union Station. Meanwhile, travel crosstown on Connecticut Transit's dirt cheap city buses! And this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation rolled out the state's FastTrak to link buses from Hartford to various Northeast cities, and reduce wait times. •Seek out alternative energy sources
Invest your time and dollars in alternative energy, be it wind, solar, or hydro. For example, in Wallingford, Connecticut, a company called Sunhydro is working toward building a hydrogen highway that would facilitate more fuel cell vehicle stations -- filling stations using solely solar and water to make hydrogen -- on the road. Back in 2010, as seen in this picture, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) along with Sunhydro founder Tom Sullivan and then Dept. of Energy Senior Advisor Gil Sperling participated in the ribbon-cutting. •Carpool and make friends One positive trend during the recession was more people seeking to save gas money by carpooling. But just because your husband's found a job again or you finally have enough money for that Ford Fiesta, don't think it's the time to hog up the highways solo. Whatever it takes to climb onboard the ecotrain, do it. PHOTOS: By Laurie Wiegler; top - Gulf Beach, Milford, Conn.; Bottom - L to R, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro from New Haven, Gil Sperling, then a senior adviser with the U.S. Dept. of Energy, and Tom Sullivan, founder of Sunhydro in Wallingford.