One of the most troubling parts of the carbon footprint activity for me was learning how much lower my footprint would be if I drove my car less. I knew that driving my car as much as I did was bad for the environment, but I didn’t realize that it made as much of a difference as it does. The main reason this was so upsetting to me was that the reason I drive my car is to work for an environmental nonprofit. The work I do to try to help the environment that I call home was also contributing to its destruction. Ever since we did the carbon footprint challenge I have been much more conscious of the amount I drive my car. I can honestly say I have cut it in half. I now only go into LAMC when the other intern is going in as well. This allows us to carpool and helps to lower both of our impacts. I also plan to make a substantial personal change when I move to Berkeley for graduate school.
I plan to sell my car at the end of this summer and rely solely on public bus transportation once I move to California. I would love to make this transition today, but unfortunately it is not feasible in Charleston. The bus routes that we do have do not correlate with my school, internship, and work schedules. In Berkeley it is much different. The bus system there is called BART and there are numerous routes and ways to get to near by cities. Most of the graduate students I have talked to either use BART, bike, or walk to campus. Many of them do not own cars and those that do say they barely ever use them. I have also been told that groups of students pitch in to rent cars during breaks so that they can explore the state in a more environmentally friendly and cheap way. An added benefit of selling my car will be that I will have more money to put towards tuition and living. The price of living in San Francisco is so high that minimum wage is $15. They also have one of the cheaper bus riding packages for any city because of the high cost of living. These packages include specific packages for individuals who work in the service industry. This means that I would have no problem planning my bus routes around my work, school, and potential internship schedules while living in Berkeley.
I know I will stick with this way of life while in Berkeley because I won’t have a choice. I am also confident that I will stick with my new routine of routes to my internship in Charleston. For the last two weeks the second intern and I have been carpooling and it has worked out perfectly. I am beyond excited for my move to California and I am actually writing this as I wait to board my plane for Berkeley to attend orientation. Knowing that the one thing that makes my carbon footprint so awful will be completely eliminated from my routine brings me so much joy. I understand that I will still be contributing by utilizing bus transportation, but it will definitely be far less than it is now. This only adds to my peace of mind that moving to Berkeley is the right choice for me.