We're trying to drive less this month, and, boy, are we ever bad at that.
The GOOD Challenge for the month of May, which also happens to be National Bike Month, is to drive less. It's common knowledge that vehicle exhaust is awful for the environment and for our health, and nobody likes traffic. With those considerations in mind, we set out to walk, bike, or ride public transportation more throughout May, and we asked you to join us. The results thus far? Well, at least in our offices, they've been pretty bad.
To begin with, only a handful of GOOD staffers signed up for this month's challenge: Three committed to riding the bus more often and one committed to riding his bike everywhere and only using his car once. The six or seven staffers who ride their bike or take the bus everywhere—which includes myself—were excluded from the challenge without prejudice. Without us, though, the drive less challenge has broken most of its participants.
After sending out an email asking participants for their feedback, to which I received no reply, I sent another 15 minutes later asking, "Does your silence mean you've failed miserably?" It did.
All three of the guys who'd committed to riding the bus at least once in a while—all of whom shall remain nameless—hadn't ridden it once, instead driving their cars everywhere. Thankfully, the honorable Ben Callaway, who'd pledged to only driving one day and riding his bike otherwise, had succeeded. Since May 1 he says he's only driven to work once, "and all because I thought I was late to a meeting that didn't exist."
The month's not over, but things are not looking good, and we imagine that might be the case for those playing at home, too. The fact of the matter is that those of us at GOOD who bus, walk, or ride our bikes do so not in lieu of driving our cars, but because we haven't purchased cars. Los Angeles is a difficult place to traverse, and its public transportation systems are notoriously shoddy. The temptation and ease of a car seems to be just too much when you're faced with inconvenient buses or sometimes dangerous bike trips.
In a word, we're embarrassed by our performance. But we promise to try harder for the next couple weeks. In the meantime, if you've been trying to drive less along with us, let us know in the comments how you've been doing.