We've known it for years - oil is limited, demand is growing, and the exhaust is killing us. On the national and global scale, new technologies and treaties are being developed to help solve the problem, but these solutions will take years or decades before we see any significant changes on the street level. Meanwhile, it's up to normal citizens like us to work on short term change by re-evaluating our lifestyles. In other words, drive less, walk more, and shop local. I recommend finding a good walking district.
Just a few years ago, living in a walking district was a luxury. Sure, it was more expensive, but like plasma TVs make some people feel better about their lives, exercise and community helped me feel better about my own. These days, living in a walking district is just smart money. I save over $100 per month in gas and get exercise to boot. You'd be surprised at the difference it makes in your life when you give up the Mission Valley traffic maze in exchange for a walk through the Farmer's Market once a week.
I was first turned on to the idea of a walking life when I lived in Ocean Beach. I'd walk to People's Food Co-Op for groceries or to Winston's to catch a show. I'd hit up the OB Townhouse for hashbrowns on a Saturday morning and follow it up with coffee and conversation in the shade of Jungle Java's bamboo-framed plant collection. I'd shop at the Buffalo Exchange and usually all it would cost me is some clothes I had stopped wearing months ago. There's a summer Street Fair, and a well-lit Christmas tree on the beach in December. In Ocean Beach, you won't see very many under-walked dogs.
We're fortunate to live in San Diego where there are several well-established walking districts - Ocean Beach, Hillcrest, Normal Heights, and Little Italy are a few of my favorites - and anyone willing to walk through a few neighborhood blocks can afford to live nearby without breaking the bank. What is more, the idea is spreading - San Marcos is building its own "downtown" from scratch (next step: trade the Escalades for Civics). I say let's pump up the momentum - by either moving to walking districts or creating our own where we live.
I know moving may seem drastic, but like it or not, the world is changing now faster than ever, and like those of us who are just now trying to sell our SUVs are finding out, there really is such a thing as "too late". Anyone want a '93 Ford Explorer? Didn't think so.
Originally published at SanDiegoLovesGreen.com