Note to Self:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Couple Things...


Firstly...it is hot. Of course many know that much of North America is gripped in what is being called the Heat Wave of 2011. 94F/34C today in Buffalo and super humid...that's the tough part, the humidity. And I do not have air conditioning anywhere in my life...none at home (fans) and none at work (which is like an oven); my place of business actually closed early today because of the heat, the first time I've seen that in the 11 years that I've worked there. Anyhow, promptly after getting home from work I suggested we go for a swim at one of my favorite place...Windmill Quarry in Fort Erie, ON. That's a picture of my son jumping off one of the small cliffs (to see a very short video of him jumping off click here for an earlier post). The water was beautiful. The quarry is only about 10 miles from my house (including crossing the Peace Bridge) and I usually take the Friendship Trail. But today, because of the heat and that my son wanted to bring a friend, we drove. It's actually only the second or third time I drove my truck in the past 4 weeks, not bad I thought...it's easy to do this during the summer. This brings me to the other thing on my mind, and this is odd seeing that I drove today.

I was browsing through Katie Alvord's book, Divorce Your Car, and came across the below outline called the The Circle Game: How To Reduce Your Driving. I couldn't help but think that this is the very first reason (or at least one of them) that I started this blog nearly four years ago (click here to read that post), and also that it is easy to make your own circle online using a free app at Cliff Bar...simply type in your address and it will show you a map with a two mile circle around your house (click here). The rest, I suppose, is easy. Well, more or less. If it's not the snow and rain it's the oppressive heat. Nonetheless, when I was waiting in line at the US/Canada border this evening--in the baking sun and in a truck without air conditioning--I really wished I was on a bike.  

Excerpt from "Divorce your Car!" by Katie Alvord (cut-and-paste from this site)
The Circle Game: How to Reduce your Driving
Thanks to John Schubert, who devised the original version of this game when working with an EcoTeam in Bend, Oregon.

1. Find your neighborhood on the map.
2. Place the point of a divider compass on the approximate location of your home.
3. Draw a circle with a two-mile radius with the compass.
4. Now, find the places you regularly visit and circle them or mark them with a highlighter. Include your workplace, bank, grocery store, gym, school, place of worship, movie theaters, parks, the library and any other places you visit at least once every two weeks.
5. Note how many of these places fall within the circle.
6. Choose one of the places that falls within the circle and commit to walking, biking or taking transit to it instead of driving every time you go.
7. Every week, every two weeks or every month (depending on how fast you want to go) commit to walking, biking or taking transit to another location from within the circle. Continue adding locations until you routinely use alternatives to the auto for getting to every location within a two mile radius of your home or workplace.
8. Choose one of the places that falls outside the two mile radius, and commit to finding a closer alternative. Example: if your grocery store is outside the two mile radius, change to a grocery store that is inside the radius.
9. See how many of the places outside the two mile radius from your home you can replace with an alternative closer to home, ideally within your circle.
10. Experiment with expanding your circle or using concentric circles to determine places within walking distance and biking distance from your home. For example, if you decide to walk to all places within a mile, and bike to all places within four miles, draw circles with those radii on your map and identify all walkable and bikable destinations within them.
11. When you move, draw a two mile circle around potential new homes to help you find a new location based on its proximity to services, work and school.
12. When looking for new services or a new job, use the circle technique to help you find services or jobs closest to your home.

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