What things did you enjoy the most about your experience this week?
One of my favorite carbon freebies is supporting actions for the Climate. Activism is hugely important to helping tackle Climate Change, and it’s luckily almost always a super low/zero footprint activity. September 24th was Friday’s For Future Global Climate Strike. So I joined thousands of fellow Montrealers to request more action from leaders. I had very interesting conversations and loved the overall peaceful and festive atmosphere of the event. The more we are to participate, the more impact we have. I surely invite all who can, to give their voice to these events.
During the weekend, we met family and friends. We went there by a combination of cycling and underground rail. They led to two of the main highlights of my week:
What were the main challenges you faced during the week?
Montreal is a city that has both, very dense areas and suburban sprawl. It’s therefore not always easy to see family and friends without using a car or possibly spending 4 to 6 hours in mass transit. Also, the cycling infrastructure while not too bad, is also completely nonexistent in some sectors, meaning that it can get quite dangerous, and cycling on the sidewalk becomes the only real option if you don’t want to risk getting hurt, especially when carrying the kids.
Luckily, this week, we were able to access places that were somewhat ‘far’ from our home because the underground rail allowed us to get close enough to where we needed to be and we could go by bike the rest of the way. There were a few challenging situations due to poor infrastructure, but it was generally OK.
What were your main lessons learned of the week?
We can do awesome activities that are aligned with our values, help us meet people, and do something good for our environment and society, with no footprint at all. Our imagination is our main tool to achieving our common climate targets and to leading meaningful lives.
Without urban planning that privileges a reasonable level of density, maintaining relationships with family and friends on a low carbon lifestyle becomes difficult because the greater the distance, the greater the need for mobility and the more carbon intensive it becomes. And if we do have to travel a certain level of distance, providing low carbon mobility infrastructure is key to making such trips safe and accessible to many. By choice, to reduce our impact, we moved to a neighborhood where we can do almost everything by foot. Think pharmacy, school, groceries, hair dresser, dentist, bank, parcs, pools, etc. With work from home becoming a more permanent thing, we hardly ever need to commute, even by bike. Walkable cities is a major enabler of low carbon living.
What would have made it easier for you to achieve or surpass your target this week?
If our city was designed with a good level of density in mind, we would all, family and friends, likely live closer together, which would have reduced the need for longer distance travel. Also, if we had better cycling infrastructure, we could go to way more places by bike.