Filed under: Cars + Transport, Society + Media | Tags: footprint, New York City, transportation
After coming back from a two-week stint in New York City, I decided it would be interesting to measure my footprint while living there versus my footprint while living in Lawrence. This quiz proved to me what I already knew: NYC and Lawrence are a world apart.
My NYC ecological footprint was 10 acres, or 2.3 planets. I lived in a city with more than a million people and a very reliable public transportation system and walked for miles on end. I shared a small apartment with four other girls, and consumed much less than the people around me. After all, I was on a budget.
Back home in Lawrence, though, my life is different. My ecological footprint is 15 acres, or 3.3 planets. A world apart. This does not surprise me. I commute 180 miles to work every week—but I do carpool and drive a decent, fuel-efficient car. The west side of the city has fallen victim to sprawl, so I can’t reasonably walk anywhere without ending up in a cul-de-sac or busy Clinton Parkway. I share a 1,000 square-feet apartment with one roommate—but we use CFLs and keep our thermostat as low as possible. After all, we are on tight college student budgets.
So, how can tight-pocketed college students green their lifestyles in a city that is not built on a grid and in a city without efficient public transportation? It’s the small steps, I think. Sure, I may live a little more lavishly at home than I would ever be able to in the Big Apple, but the little things that I pay attention to—energy conservation and fuel efficiency—help offset the way I live here. After all, in the city, I was living in an old brownstone with drafty windows and doors, conventional lighting and more trash than I knew what to do with. I expected my “number” to be lot higher than it turned out to be, but I wish there was a way to lower it in Lawrence without losing the leisure of motor transportation.
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