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Action Steps | April 6, 2014

Taking Personal Action



Exploring Alternative Ways of Getting Around, Reducing Carbon Emissions


For most of us who depend upon our car to get around, finding alternative means of transportation isn’t going to be easy. Can you imagine taking one step in the direction of less driving? The typical U.S. household makes 496 shopping trips a year, averaging 7.02 miles per trip.  That’s 3482 miles per year, the distance from Florida to Alaska. Set a target to decrease non-essential driving – 10%, 20% or 30%.

If you can do only one thing … 

Try abstaining from the car for one whole day. Plan ahead so driving won’t be necessary that day. Select a day when you can walk or bicycle if you need to go somewhere. Freeing yourself from your vehicle can be life changing. 

Consider Alternatives

  • Sacrifice. Before getting into the car, ask: Is this trip absolutely necessary? Can I combine errands into one trip? Can I walk or bike? 
  • Become familiar with public transportation! If possible, ride public transportation at least once this week – to work or any destination. 
  • Make at least one trip this week by bike. If shopping, carry items in a backpack.  
  • Skip the elevator, take the stairs – burn calories, not electricity.
  • Reduce air travel. One cross country roundtrip = 2000 pounds of CO2 per passenger. 
  • Share a ride. Carpooling saves on carbon emissions. If your drive to work is 25 miles each way and at least half is in typical stop-and-go traffic, carpooling can save almost 10% of your monthly carbon emissions.  

Short Trips

40% of all urban travel happens within 2 miles of home and 90% of those trips are by car. That’s a lot of people firing up the engine for quick errands. This week, give up driving to nearby destinations.

  • Walk to all locations within six blocks of your home.
  • When eating out, choose a nearby restaurant and walk instead of driving across town.
  • Plan ahead – combine numerous small trips into one.

School Trips

  • Nearly 30% of driving is getting kids to school. Consider options.
  • Select an alternative way to get to school. Walk, bike or bus this week. 
  • Join or start a neighborhood carpool.
  • Stop needless idling. Turn off the engine while waiting to pick-up kids. Overall, Americans idle away 2.9 billion gallons of gas a year. 

If You Must Drive

U.S. drivers average 11,720 miles per year. The average efficiency for a passenger car is 23 miles per gallon. Here are some ways to lower energy consumption.

  • Keep tires inflated to the proper pressure for better gas mileage. Tires under-inflation by 7.5 pounds cause a loss of 2.8% in fuel efficiency. 
  • Don’t drive faster than 60 mph. It saves gas and reduces stress. 10% more gasoline is used when traveling at 65 mph, instead of 55 mph – 17% more when driving 75 mph.
  • Drive in the extreme right lane this week. Slow down, fast from speed and enjoy the trip.  
  • Don’t warm the engine more than 10 seconds. Anything beyond that is wasteful.
  • Use a hybrid car. Make your next purchase a fuel efficient model. Plus, there’s cleaner tailpipe emissions (remember, the amount of oil consumed isn't the only environmental impact).


Imagine if the Earth were divided equally among all of us. Each person would receive 4.5 acres. Now imagine that everything you need – food, energy, home, clothing, gadgets – must come from those 4.5 acres. But it takes 22.3 acres to maintain the average American lifestyle.There is a new way of observing Lent that helps us care for God’s creation by taking steps toward using only our fair share of its resources. Moving in the direction of 4.5 is essential for anyone walking in the footsteps of Jesus today.

Our Ministry

Lent 4.5 is a seven-week faith formation program which inspires and informs Christian communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice and nurture spiritual fulfillment. It offers practical opportunities for people of faith to apply the values of Christian Simplicity to their everyday lives.

This Week...

If There’s Only One Thing You Can Do …


Try abstaining from your car for one whole day. 

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