Zipcar: Low-Car diet

September 14 2010 marks the first day of the Zipcar Low-Car diet. I was lucky enough to be chosen from 100’s of applicants to be one of 30 individuals in Vancouver to participate in this wonderful campaign. For 30 days, participants will put down their keys and dust off their bikes, sneakers and transit passes to take on Zipcar’s Low-Car diet challenge, one month car free. When I first heard of the campaign, I thought it was a fantastic idea and such a great way for people to decrease their carbon footprint. It was not until I started the diet that I realized how much I drove and relied on my car. Before the diet, I would drive to work, school, to run errands, go shopping, visit friends … basically for anything and everything! I did not realize how much I was polluting this earth with my day-to-day driving.

To prepare for the Low-Car diet, Zipcar supplied me and the rest of the participants with a wonderful survival kit! It has everything from bus tickets and Vitamin Water, to a yoga gift certificate to stay fit. Since the start of the diet, my car has been parked at my house. I have started taking public transit daily to get to work, and school. I have even been taking the bus with my yoga mat and large backpack filled with my workout gear to do yoga every single day and I feel amazing. This experience has reminded me of when I was high school and college and used to commute everywhere using public transit. I am reminded that it isn’t that bad to take the bus at all. I do have to plan my days in advance to ensure I know how to get to the places I need to go and be on time.

Lately, the weather has been extremely wet and I have been tempted just to hop in my car instead of walking to the bus stop, but I resisted. I made sure I wore a warm coat, had my trusty large umbrella, and super-cute gumboots to keep my feet dry when I made the trip out of my house. Oh I forgot to mention, Zipcar also supplied participants with a free membership and credit towards using Zipcars on those days when you just have to have a car! I haven’t booked a Zipcar yet but I did download the iPhone application which allows me to find cars close to me, make a reservation, and lock and unlock the car with my phone! How amazing is that!

The challenge is almost over and I am excited for the finale party at the Lamplighter in Gastown this Thursday, October 14. I hope everyone joins in and participates in a Low-Car diet of their own: driving less, carpooling, walking to work, riding a bike, or using public transit. Every little bit counts. Taking a little longer to get somewhere now will help keep our Earth cleaner in the long run.

❤ Dionne Ng

Miss Greater Vancouver