Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Happy Trails to You!

I have a file on my computer where I store blogs that I am writing, or have written. As I get ideas, I jot down the basics of what I might want to write about, or maybe even begin writing a few sentences. I am very serious about blogging--perhaps as serious as I would be if I were a writer earning my livelihood from writing. So, trying to hold on to ideas (which usually occur to me when I am nowhere near paper or a computer) is essential.

So, I was reading through this file tonight, and up came something I had written over a year ago. What prompted this tirade was a story in our local newspaper where they interviewed drivers standing by the gasoline pump complaining about the rising price of gas.

How is it that the "man on the street" is deemed an expert on anything? But there was the reporter, talking to Joe Average who was filling his truck at the gas station.

So, here's what I wrote:

How predictable. Another story about the high price of gasoline! And no mention of the one thing we Americans COULD do: learn to conserve. Most people exhibit a bumper sticker attitude: how did our oil get under their land?

Oil is a worldwide precious commodity, and yet, we continue to act as though it is OUR gas as we drive gas guzzling behemoth vehicles. For entertainment, we watch drivers race endlessly around race tracks, consuming who knows how much fuel. For shopping, we go to malls where we DRIVE from one store to another, instead of walking. Is it any wonder oil prices keep rising?

Beyond our wasteful use, there are many reasons why oil prices are rising. For example, there is the growing economy in China and the sudden rise in personal automobile ownership among China’s 1.3 billion people. Increasing competition from other countries will continue to play a role in long-term oil distribution. So, we must stop acting as though it is our oil.

Perhaps, next time you do a story on the rising cost of gas, you could identify what TYPE of vehicle the person on the street whom you quote is driving? One man you quoted (in the July 6 story) was interviewed while filling his truck. Really?

Until we switch to, no, demand that all vehicles be fuel efficient, and until we buy these vehicles and don’t buy the Hummer 2, we have no grounds on which to complain about the high price of gasoline.

I was fired up enough that I sent this off to the local newspaper and they published it as a letter to the editor. The next day, I saw a colleague at a meeting, and he asked if I wanted to go for a ride in his Hummer. I stood there with my mouth open--then realized he was twitting me!

Recently I read a study of the healthiest cities to live in--I wish I remembered who did the study, but I don't. One of the cities that ranked high was New York City, and part of the reason was the amount people walk there. When we have visited our daughter there, we walk a lot. Most New Yorkers do walk a lot, every day.

When we have visited Europe, we are struck with how conserving people are in using personal vehicles, how much they depend on mass transportation and how much they walk.

My husband's workplace has recently undertaken a simple effort--each division is engaged in friendly competition with all other divisions by simply counting the number of steps they walk every day. All employees taking part in this competition got basic pedometers so they can see how much they walk. The goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day, or the rough equivalent of three miles.

This last Christmas, I asked for a pedometer as one of my gifts. When my husband got me one (a nifty high tech model), I began wearing it each day. There are some days when I walk 10,000 steps, but most days I am down around 7,000. The pedometer helps to spur me on to more walking.

Sorry for this loose connection of thoughts--now I have to try to see what LABELS I can put on this post! While I think, why don't you slip on your walking shoes and hit the trails?


Laurie said...

I love to walk! I need to get a pedometer just to see how far I go every day. Great idea and great post!

Body Soul Spirit said...

It is much easier to complain about prices than to change our lifestyle. I have worn a pedometer for 4 years and take a walk in the evening if I have missed the 10000 step target. My health is so much better since I started walking consistently. As a university student in a large city I relied on bike, bus, walking to travel to my clinical placements and classes. We can change before we are forced to. I am glad you take your blogging so seriously. You write well!

Mary said...

As Ruth said, you do write very well and I'm glad you blog seriously! I think I asked you if you have ever written a book.

I have seen people drive around strip malls to different stores instead of walking. When I wore a pedometer, I was aware of my steps. Very helpful. Then I broke the ankle and lost the pedometer. Thanks for reminding me to look for it.

Our lifestyles are to blame for fuel consumption but I also think car manufacturers contribute to the problem. Why is a Toyota hybrid (60+ mpg) financially out of reach for the average American at $60,000+ ?

Pam said...

Before it was impossible, I walked all the time. A walk to the local convenience store, or en masse with granchildren for ice cream. And then there was my bike...I biked everywhere.

So, as you can see, I say "Amen!" to your blog. You state what is missed by many.

KGMom said...

I am most grateful that my friends in blogland have added such thoughtful comments.
Laurie--glad you love walking; don't get lost.
Ruth--great idea to add steps at the end of the day; I don't always, and you renew my resolve.
Mary--good question: why do our auto-makers make it so hard for us to be responsible buyers? Especially with "Detroit" in decline, you would think they would figure out what Honda or Toyota are doing that put them ahead of U.S. car makers.
(No books, yet, from me!)

KGMom said...

Addition--Pam, your comment came in as I was typing, so I missed it.
All of us who read your blog admire your incredible spirit, and cheer you on all the way. From what I have read, you put in many steps and other modes of transportation (kayaking!) before disease took away your choice. I am thankful your mind steps lively every day!

Cathy said...

Amen! I've always done my best thinking during and after a walk.