Let us celebrate Earth Day April 22nd all year long. Besides recycling newspapers, magazines, glass, plastics, old medicines, paints and cleaning materials, there are other actions you can take which will also contribute to a cleaner environment. Leave your car at home. For local trips in the neighborhood, walk or ride a bike.
For longer travels, consider many public transportation alternatives already available. Downstate, there is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road, MTA Bus, Nassau Inter County Express (NICE) Bus, New Jersey Transit (NJT), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PATH), New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Staten Island Ferry along with many suburban counties, cities and towns including Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange counties along with City of Long Beach and Town of Huntington all provide such options. There are other private bus and ferry operators along with many smaller suburban operators providing service.
Upstate, if you live in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Dutchess County, Elmira, Glens Fall, Kingston, Ithaca, Niagara Falls, Oneonta, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Sullivan County, Syracuse, Ulster County, Watertown and others — there are municipalities, cities, counties or transit authorities providing local bus service.
Depending upon your community, there may be various options, such as local and express bus, ferry, jitney, subway and commuter rail services. Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars. They use less fuel and move far more people than cars. In many cases, your employer can offer transit checks to help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize your investments and reap the benefits. You’ll be supporting a cleaner environment and be less stressed upon arrival at your final destination.
Many employers now allow employees to telecommute and work from home. Others use alternative work schedules, which afford staff the ability to avoid rush hour gridlock. This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon. You could join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting.
Use a hand powered lawn mower instead of a gasoline or electric one. Rake your leaves instead of using gasoline powered leaf blowers. The amount of pollution created by gasoline powered lawn mowers or leaf blowers will surprise you.
A cleaner environment starts with everyone.
Larry Penner is a transportation historian, advocate and writer who previously worked 31 years for the US Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for grants supporting billions in capital projects and programs on behalf of the MTA, NYC Transit, LIRR & Metro North Rail Roads, MTA Bus, New Jersey Transit, NYC Department of Transportation and 30 other transit agencies in New York State.