The Green Adventure

Friday, August 25, 2006

Challenge #3 and the Big Purple Bus Adventure!

Little A and I went on another exciting adventure yesterday in our quest to use less gasoline... we discovered the excitement of the local bus system!!! Well, this was a tough one. I promised a ride on a bus to visit her best friend so we got all geared up and ready to go. Then, arrgh, we headed out the door in a steady rain. Well, OK, I thought, "the weather has been perfect for the past couple of weeks, this is sure to lighten up soon." No such luck! But, at this point there was no turning back from the promise of this exciting adventure to my explorer of a daughter.

So, being new to the whole bus schedule thing, we waited outside for 15 minutes in the intermittently pouring rain in our rain gear, though Little A did lack a proper hat... sorry Grandma! By the time the bus arrived, we were pretty well soaked. Just as I was thinking of another way to talk Little A and myself out of this whole thing, over the hill appeared a giant PURPLE bus! Purple is my daughter's favorite color and you should have seen the pure excitement on her face. She hopped out of the umbrella stroller and strode beaming and dripping onto the bus. A very friendly bus driver welcomed us, and the bus was nearly empty except for a few elderly shoppers and student commuters. The 30 minute bus ride to downtown was thrilling for Little A; she asked questions and chatted with fellow riders the entire time. It was a wonderful trip. Unfortunately, our destination was just over a mile from the downtown bus stop. When we disembarked from the bus, I popped Little A into a small umbrella stroller and walked/ ran the distance in the now absolutely pouring rain. I was soaked with blisters on my feet (note to self: wear running shoes, not clogs on ALL future adventures!), but Little A had an absolute blast, singing The Wheels on the Bus and Rubber Ducky the whole time. She most enjoyed splashing through any and all large puddles. Fun.

We arrived in one piece (an hour and 15 minutes later for a trip that usually takes 10 minutes by car) to the caring home of friends who dried Little A's clothes and beloved Eeyore and gave us both hot tea. Thank you!

I learned that bus travel with a toddler is a challenge. But, it is absolutely do-able, and I expect will improve as our understanding of the system and its challenges becomes more familiar to us. From looking at the local bus map, we can get nearly everywhere that we usually go in town on the bus. Doing anything on the bus, however, will take longer (usually much longer) and dealing with difficult weather conditions is no fun at all. If I were going to live here for permanently, or even for several years, I would move closer to the places we go the most. I would also base my decisions on schools, work, shopping and recreation on where we live vs. the ease of getting to each place. The next time we move, I will look at what is walkable, where the bus goes, and where work and school are before I decide where to live. If we are really going to dramatically cut our transportation carbon emissions (which we must do for the sake of our kids if nothing else) then we need to reconsider the entire system of how we live and travel to make it possible to maintain our current lifestyle and meet the challenge of the new energy future. I also learned that if you depend on the local system to meet your transportation needs, you begin to care a lot more about how those systems run which may just be the first step in being a more involved local citizen.

Anyway, I can't wait to hear about your public transportation adventures! As always, email me or comment with your thoughts. On to Challenge #3...

Welcome to the Understanding Challenge. There are 2 very clear sources available to us right now regarding the specific science behind climate change. Your Challenge #3 is to read this month's issue of Scientific American (Sept 2006) and/or to watch the current movie, An Inconvenient Truth.

(I agree... an hour and 15 minutes on a bus and walking with a 2.5 year old in the rain for a playdate is sooo inconvenient!)

Both of these sources of information about climate change will give you an excellent understanding of the problem of global warming and most importantly how it can be solved if we use all of our available tools and we start right away. I will base the upcoming challenges on the 15+ wedges proposed by Robert Socolow and Stephen Pacala in their Scientific American article.

Lastly, if you have or know a child in high school or college, please work together with them to understand this issue and the potential consequences. They will certainly be a part of the future solutions and may as well begin to understand this issue with your guidance as young as possible.

Enjoy the adventure!


  • Great job persevering in spite of the difficult conditions! Making these changes is very inconvenient, just like the title of Gore's movie suggests. But I am starting to appreciate the fact that it also forces us to SLOW DOWN our lives. What a great memory you created for your daughter! We should work on compiling a helpful checklist for bus-riding with children.

    By Blogger Ally, at 9:26 AM  

  • Great idea! And, you are so right that it helps us to slow down, plan and enjoy everyday moments. Plus, whenever I get the chance, I now walk alone and listen to podcasts. They are so cool. You can find them on so many subjects. My favorite one on the environment so far is at They have so many great ideas.

    By Blogger Jessica, at 4:24 PM  

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