NBC11 Producer Goes Green, Gives Up Car For A Week


Michelle ToyDay One

The Bay Area has a pretty strong love affair with cars. We spend hours commuting in them, driving back and forth from work, carpools, errands and drive-thrus. We eat, sleep, sing, laugh and cry in our cars. Some of us baby our vehicles, giving them silly names, washing them weekly and taking care not park them next to shopping carts. Others trash them, tossing the remnants of yesterday’s breakfast burrito in the backseat along with last week’s dirty laundry. Hybrid or Hummer, Mini-Cooper or Mini-Van, we have come to rely heavily on our vehicles.

I was pretty upset when I woke up one morning to find that my beloved car had been sideswiped. Of course the culprit didn’t leave a note. A few days later, I found out my car would need almost $4000 worth of repairs and it would be in the shop for at least a week. My insurance doesn’t cover the cost of a rental car, which is the real reason behind this week’s experiment living without a car.

Our cars are likely the biggest polluters we own. I am taking advantage of this predicament to see just how much I can give up for the sake of going green. Going green is a lifestyle change, so we’ll see if it cramps or enhances mine. I’ll also calculate the costs, the time, and the carbon emissions I’ll save this week. According to liveneutral.com, my small BMW uses 625 gallons of gas and produces 12,125 pounds of CO2 a year.

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I realize that a lot of people don’t have cars. A car is a luxury. The Bay Area has a public transportation system that should support my lifestyle. I live in downtown San Jose. I work out of two NBC11 offices, one in San Jose and the other in San Francisco. This week should be a breeze and today was no exception.

I dropped my car off at the auto-body shop down the street from my office. Before leaving it, I opened the trunk to gather some of the stuff I store in there; workout clothes, yoga mat, laptop, extra jacket, all things I can now store under my desk. I wouldn’t need the yoga gear anyway, since my yoga studio in Los Gatos is too far without a car. I hitched a ride home from one of our photographers and since I didn’t feel like walking to the grocery store, I took the opportunity to clear out some of the frozen dinners in the back of my freezer.

Day one was a piece of cake:

Carpool – 4 miles
Miles saved by not going to yoga – 23
Calories NOT burned by missing workout – 600
Calories in a frozen burrito – 700 (yikes!)

Stop by the Breakfast Blog each day this week for an update on how I’m doing… and then tune into NBC11 Friday for a special report on my entire experience.

Michelle Toy
NBC11 Special Projects Producer


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