Encouraging Sustainability through Biking and Diet
Spencer Schnier is an engineer in Freese and Nichols' Water Resource Planning group.
The month of May was National Bike Month, but just because it's now July doesn't mean we can't get out and support bicycling as viable, everyday transportation. For me, it's like any day and month because I commute 6 miles daily. I made the decision to live close enough to bike to work as I strive to leave a smaller footprint on our planet.
I’ve found that what is good for the planet also tends to be good for my health and my pocketbook – a personal version of sustainability’s triple bottom line: environment, society and economy. For instance, a bicycle does not burn fossil fuels which contribute to ozone in our cities and warming in our atmosphere; it's cheap because there is no gas or insurance; and it also helps keep me in shape.
Diet as a Lifestyle Choice
Besides transportation, another simple lifestyle choice that impacts the planet is diet. I don’t eat meat. I tell people I’m a vegetarian for mathematical reasons: production of animal protein is a suboptimal use of resources. A plant-based diet also tends to be cheaper and healthier in the long term . . . triple bottom line.
I’m no purist however. I say show me an environmentalist and I’ll show you a work in progress. I drive cars, and even occasionally eat meat (after all, mathematically, 99% is pretty much 100%).
Our personal contribution to the planet’s well-being is not an all or nothing proposition. It is not necessary to ditch the car completely or be a fifth-level vegetarian; simply driving less and eating less meat, especially beef, will positively impact your environment, health, and pocketbook.