Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Attention Cheapskate Treehuggers: Save on Gas, Give a Free Gift

I was listening to NPR yesterday as they talked about how some cities aren't waiting for the federal government to finally act on carbon emissions. They're trying to meet the Kyoto protocols themselves:
But it won't be easy. Boulder and other cities face a problem with tailpipe emissions. After electricity generation, the second-biggest source of greenhouse gases is vehicles. Even in Boulder, where you can bike or take a bus anywhere, Cohen sighs, "People like their cars."
I heard this story as I was driving in my car. Awkward. At least I was ride-sharing and carrying back a full carload of stuff from Target, so it was a worthy use of a car trip.

But a new program from Arlington County's Fresh AIRE may be just the thing to get you to change at least one of your unnecessary trips:
Looking for a special gift to mark a birthday, anniversary, wedding, or graduation…or just because? How about a gift that honors a person or milestone and helps our environment at the same time?

As part of Arlington’s Fresh AIRE Initiative, Arlington County has designated 1200 “giving trees” for planting this year. Trees will be planted by the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources in various locations in the County. There is no charge to “gift” a tree, but you must be an Arlington County resident to participate.

Trees will be planted by County staff on public land. The recipient will receive a handsome electronic certificate praising your environmental effort and announcing your gift. Although we will not be able to identify the exact tree you are giving, the County Parks department has committed to planting one tree for every certificate sent.

All you have to do to be eligible to gift a tree is commit to reduce emissions by NOT driving!

Here’s how to gift a tree to someone:

1. Choose whom you would like to honor by having a tree planted
2. Commit to reduce your own emissions by not driving somewhere
3. Tell us the specifics of your commitment so we can calculate the savings.
4. Bask in gratitude from your recipient when they receive their electronic Gift a Tree certificate from you!

To gift a tree, go here!


Googla Monster said...

Miles, I haven't owned a car for almost 10 years. Last year I bought a bike. Apparently, according to Commissioner X I'm an idiot who doesn't deserve to have a bike. So, I may have to buy a car after all.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for visiting my blog. While I applaud the Arlington initiative, allow me to be a bit of a skeptic. I have spent the last few months documenting my own struggles as a green girl wannabe. One of the key insights from this exercise is how difficult it is to change one's behavior, even with the best of intentions. I just came back from a trip back to my home country, in Paris, and was struck by the importance of one's culture and environment. The US make it way to easy for all to use their cars. Gas is (relatively) cheap, and cars are just very much a part of the American culture. In Paris,on the other hand, people drive smaller cars, they walk a lot more, the city just launched a Velolib' initiative where people get to ride bikes almost for free, and people do not thing twice about piling four or five in their cars for small rides within the city. There is also the incentive of not driving as much because of the high gas prices. Taking the train and public transportation is also much more a part of the culture.

I believe the answer to the US car problem lies more in making public transportation more of a viable option, and also in setting in place some kind of external control on car use. London for instance, has this system, where people driving in have to pay a high fee, which makes it a very effective deterrent.

green blogger, "My Inconvenient Truth;the Daily Sins of a Green Girl Wannabe"