Monday, June 14, 2010

The Oily Truth

Even though I'm in Europe for the summer, thousands of miles away from my home in the United States, I'm still very much aware of what's going on over there.  Namely, I'm referring to the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

I was able to watch some English language news this weekend from the BBC, and I really started thinking about the way I personally abuse oil.  While I try to walk, bike or take the bus whenever possible, I am a big fan of road trips in the car and I use my PT Cruiser to go grocery shopping almost every week back in Florida.  

I want to stop being so wasteful.  And after reading and hearing about this terrible news, Ged and I decided not to use the car this past weekend.  

We both wanted some beach time and Viareggio on the West coast sounded like the best choice.  

It's on the top left of the map below.

The train ride there was one hour and 45 minutes.  It was so much better than driving.
  • We didn't have to fill up the car with gas.
  • No waiting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
  • Time to sleep/read.
I would definitely take the train again.  

On the return trip, Ged and I saw a beautiful bike in the caboose.  It was truly inspiring to see someone traveling around with this nice bike, and it made both of us think about the endless possibilities of taking the train all over this hilly country with our own bikes.

The bike was a Specialized Tarmac, and it was floating like an angel from the hook on which it was hung.  Here's what it looked like:

Unfortunately, the weather in Viareggio wasn't good beach weather.  The clouds were dark and heavy with rain.  And not long after we arrived, the skies opened up and drenched the streets.

I did have possibly the best slice of pizza in my life here, though.  
Potato deliciousness!

Dinner was a tofu, spinach and garlic combination made by Yours Truly.

While I know my effort to abstain from oil may be insignificant compared to the world's oil usage, I still think I can make a difference.  Maybe that's the optimist in me.  

And I encourage you to do the same.  Instead of taking the easy way out and jumping in your car, truck or van for a simple trip to the post office, bank, grocery store or work, why not try the alternatives:
  • ride a bike
  • take a bus
  • take the metro/train
  • or simply walk there
It might seem hard to give up such a convenient method of transportation, but every time you start your car, try thinking about what's happening near the shores of Louisiana, what Obama is calling the "environment's 9/11."  


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