In 2022, I drove approximately 2,000 miles. This was by design. I have a self-imposed 2,000 mile cap on my annual driving.
The average U.S. adult drives 14,000 miles annually, says a quick internet search. If so, then I spared the atmosphere about 12,000 driving miles (and did not fly).
Eating an animal-free diet equates to a savings of 8,100 miles (not) driven annually.*
In comparison with the typical U.S. adult, I’m sparing the atmosphere about 20,000 driving miles a year.
This is a defiant stance. A serious load of CO2 not emitted, representing many times the petroleum sector could have taken my dollars, and did not. In suburbia, it involves some sacrifices; but it feels good, because I’m an ape and my ancestors moved on their feet.
Is this defiance (or conversing about it to others) a virtue signal? Some will take it that way, likely because they don’t wish to take it as a cue.
I so often hear that climate concerns are just signals and not meaningful action.
“The problem is too big!”
“People aren’t going to change.”
“One person can’t do anything about this!”
Those statements have a way of becoming excuses for complacency.
It’s my job to let people know: We can all “march” to divest from emissions. Many of us can walk to the grocery store, tend a garden, bike to a hike, Zoom into meetings, and take the train to conferences—and, indeed, to climate marches. If our infrastructure makes this dangerous or practically impossible, we can agitate for pedestrian-friendly routes and better public transit and remote meetings. And we can press for the in-person meetings to apply vegan-by-default policies.
I let people know: I’m striving to make my life a climate march. I invite them to join me. To live defiantly. To live in harmony with our real nature.
Love and liberation,
PS: And I can do better. This will be my last car—of any kind. Selling capitalism as “green” is a lot like marketing animal agribusiness as humane.
*Source of figures for diet and emission reduction: Jason Czarnezki, EVERYDAY ENVIRONMENTALISM, which puts the figure at an equivalent of 1,160 miles saved daily through a “protein shift” from animal products to plant-derived meals.
Photo credit: Porapak Apichodilok.
Thank you! It’s not enough to be vegan, we need to be vegan environmentalists. Pollution harms nonhuman animals, too. There’s so many things we can and should do (and so many things we shouldn’t do) to help animals. Like individual votes, it all adds up.
Thanks, Mary, I think that’s right. I’ve never hit a deer with a car and I’d like to keep that record, too. But of course I’m implicated in many road deaths, simply because I’m part of the driving population. And the fragmentation of habitat, the covering of biocommunities with concrete for this privileged species, makes me feel regret.
Thank you, Lee. Yes, the less we drive, the better.
Lee, thanks for reminding us how destructive automotive transportation is, even beyond its GH gas emissions. Its individual “utility” is so great that the EV “techno fix” deflects so much of the negative attention it deserves. Kudos on your 2k mile self-imposed limit!
Thank you, Bill. One of the things I note when I’m walking is how exposed walkers are, how drivers can see our faces. We cannot see theirs. They are encased in machines, anonymous. Oddly, though, people don’t seem to think of driving as antisocial.
Meaningful and impactful choices, Lee. Well done! 🌻