Take the challenge

Editor of the Reformer:

Vermonters are invited to take part in the Way to Go Challenge (waytogovt.org) between now and Oct. 7. The goal of the challenge is to reduce carbon pollution in the state by making responsible choices in our commuting and daily travel.

Living and working in downtown Brattleboro I'm lucky to be able to walk or cycle the mile to my job. A leisurely stroll takes about twenty minutes and cycling gets me there in just under five. Were I to drive it would take me almost as long and I'd have to contend with traffic, parking, paying for gas and steadily adding mileage and wear and tear to my vehicle.

So, here's the deal: By driving our cars to work every day when we could walk or cycle, we are choosing to participate in a fossil fuel economy that ruins the land and oceans, destroys ecosystems, exploits vulnerable populations, corrupts our democratic process and is knowingly marching us to a future where we will be forced to think abut abandoning our coastal towns and cities, where we can't afford to maintain our natural-disaster ravaged hometowns and is creating a planet that is unlike any that humans have ever known.

I'm sure that some of you will think that I am over-reacting, that our choices as individuals don't add up to all that much. Perhaps you think that a short, couple of miles commute is no big deal. Perhaps you'd like to be commuting and traveling by public transit, carpooling, biking or walking but feel that it's just not practical.


I know for sure that our part of the world has a long way to go to making a more environmentally friendly commute the reality for the majority of us. But, I also know that if we don't demand change from our legislators and town representatives we won't see any. That if we continue with our fossil fueled business-as-usual model we know we are heading to an unmanageable, chaotic future. That if we keep our heads in the sand about our responsibilities to each other, and our impact on the one and only planet we won't experience the global shift in consciousness that we so urgently need.

So, I urge you to give it a try. See if you can make some changes over the next couple of weeks and notice how it feels to leave the car at home, to enjoy the crisp fall mornings and find out where the gaps are between the public transit system we have and the one we need. Then, when Oct. 8 rolls around maybe you'll decide to change some habits and ask that our governments do their job and act boldly in response to climate change.

Daniel Quipp, Brattleboro, Sept. 23