For my climate action commitment, I am challenging myself to lessen the impacts my transportation has on our environment and community. Already, to get around town, I primarily walk or bike whenever feasible, and take the bus if I am unable to walk or bike. I sold my car once I moved to Madison so that it would really force me to think about how I travel around town. I am grateful to be able bodied enough to walk+bike around town and for the opportunity to use our City bus system to get me around town. Additionally, I appreciate that my workplace values sustainable modes of transportation, and purchased a fully electric vehicle for staff to run work errands.

Where I’d like to push myself is travel. I love traveling, and rack in a lot of airplane miles in a year. Recognizing airplanes release a lot of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, yet not wanting to forgo my love of adventure and travel, I’ve decided to purchase carbon offsets for all the flights I take moving forward. Additionally, I am exploring travel by train wherever possible, which has been such a fun adventure! I’ve met such interesting people and have really been able to admire the rolling, varied, and vast landscapes of our country. It is amazing how aspects of mindfulness in one area, such as transportation, can translate into other areas of life, such as just appreciating the scenery go by on a train ride or thinking about other actions of mine and the “why?” component that goes with it. (Ie) Why do I use this much water? Why haven’t I thought about how much energy I use daily before? Or – after taking the Earth Ecological Footprint Calculator quiz (https://www.footprintcalculator.org/home)- if my lifestyle is widely adopted, why does it take up X number of Earths? How can I minimize my impacts? I hope to continue asking myself the “whys” to challenge myself and enhance my own self-awareness around the ways I choose to be and walk on this Earth.

Sujata Gautam