Green Living: A strike against eco travelling or a breath of fresh air?

As the London Transit Commission's strike makes for a more challenging trek to school, students are teaming up, car-pooling, biking, walking, and cabbing it. While the roads are bare of city buses, they are now fuller of eager cars. So the question becomes, with the lack of our heavy gas-emitting buses on the road, does the London Transit strike help or hinder the environment?

On the one hand, anyone without a vehicle is being forced to walk or ride a bike further than they usually would have if a bus were available. In my experience, most students, would much rather hop on a quick bus than walk. Why? Because our student bus passes make it so easy for one thing; plus, it simply takes a lot more time to walk anywhere; that is time students just don't have between homework, part-time jobs, and leisure. Perhaps then, in this respect, the strike isn't so bad: bus-takers are getting far more exercise, and the recent weather makes it much more enjoyable to be outside.

However, most students live far enough away from campus that motor transportation is necessary to get to school. Since classes are going on (whether students are there or not), more people have been arranging rides or taking taxis. This is not only costly for the student: with gas, parking and/or cab money, but it is also detrimental for the Earth.

Full of people that would otherwise be on one city bus, more cars are on the road causing an increase in gas emissions. People are driving all around town, doing what they need to do throughout the day, picking people up and dropping them off, but most importantly, leaving a trail of gas behind them that would under normal circumstances not exist.

So how can we turn this strike around to help the environment instead, and to make better use of our own travelling time? My suggestions are as follows:

1. Walk where you need to go, whenever you can. A 20 minute walk is not as bad as it may seem, and will make up for any gym time you have lost in the hours you've spent studying.

2. Get out your bicycle or roller blades, if you're looking to save on travel time.

3. Or, if you really need to, find a group of friends with whom you can start a car pool. Everyone needs to work together sometimes, and times such as these, make the perfect opportunity to do so. Find people who live in the same general area as you, pick a daily meeting spot, and select a different assigned driver for each day. This way, no one has to waste a bunch of time going around to pick up everyone from different locations. Further, by swapping drivers, it will never become too much responsibility shafted onto one person.

4. If you have a friend who lives nearby and goes to Fanshawe as well, perhaps you can go to their house (or better yet, stay over at their place) and get rides from them. Even if he/she goes to school slightly earlier or stays later than you do, there is an upside: you can use the extra time to focus on your homework. Let's face it, we all could use a good work period.

This strike doesn't need to be a bad thing, if we make it work for us. Enjoy the weather outside while it lasts, and organize your travel to school to make this time a sigh of relief for the air we breathe.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.