Mobile Without the Auto: Are We There Yet?

Last year's winning photo, "Mirror Mirror on the Pond" by Pamela Dimeler.

Last year’s winning photo, “Mirror Mirror on the Pond” by Pamela Dimeler.

By Heather Saunders

Local environmental non-profit aFewSteps.org is sponsoring a photo contest to share and celebrate all the ways we get from Point A to Point B — without taking the car. Are you a walker, a biker, a skater, or a SEPTA fan? Do you jog to the grocery store, or ride a unicycle to work? What’s your favorite alternative to driving?

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics has found that Americans take 1.1 billion trips a day, and that over 83% of those take place in personal vehicles (cars, vans, light trucks). Car transportation is by far the largest source of household carbon emissions, accounting for an estimated 47% of a typical American family’s carbon footprint, according to the Department of Transportation.

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What alternatives do we have? The EPA suggests using public transportation, carpooling, walking or cycling whenever possible. Leaving the car at home two days per week can reduce your annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2 tons. And it’s economical. In 2009, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy estimated the total value of walking and cycling in the U.S. at $4 billion in gasoline not purchased, plus 14 million tons of carbon dioxide not emitted, plus $235 billion in healthcare savings.

Submit your own digital image(s) to aFewSteps’ website, afewsteps.org, between now and May 15th. Cash prizes of $150 and $100 will be awarded to the winners in adult and youth (up to 13 years of age) categories, respectively. Finalist photos will be printed and exhibited at local venues, including the Community Arts Center, Helen Kate Furness Library, Seven Stones Cafe and Hobbs Coffee.

Learn more about alternative transportation and aFewSteps’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our community at aFewSteps.org. Interested in getting involved? aFewSteps is looking for a few interested people to round out our team of volunteers. Contact us at info@afewsteps.org.

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