No one likes being stuck in traffic, but sadly this daily unpleasantness is necessary for millions of people to get to work. If you are an automobile commuter, then you are intimately familiar with frustrating delays and reckless drivers while your vehicle issues pollution, including the global warming carbon dioxide. Freeing yourself from the colossal polluting waste of time that comes with long commutes would greatly enhance your life and reduce your carbon emissions.
According to the book “Simplify Your Work Life” by Elaine St. James, millions of Americans spend two hours or more every day traveling to work. For a five-day work week, this calculates to a staggering one month per year spent commuting.
Furthermore, the frenetic effort given to getting to work is followed by long working hours. The stereotypical hardworking American who is praised for productivity continues the unchecked energy consumption started during the commute. The Spring 2007 issue of OnEarth magazine reported that long working hours equal higher energy consumption. The famously lackadaisical French worker is on the job 22 percent less than American counterparts, but OnEarth magazine went on to state that French workers are 9 percent more productive each hour. This makes sense because you really would need to squeeze some work in between your multiple vacations.
A recent study from the Washington D.C. think tank the Center for Economic and Policy Research asserted that energy consumption in Western Europe would rise 30 percent if its citizens worked longer hours like Americans. Even without studies, it is easy to guess that long hours and long commutes add up to voracious energy consumption. Apparently the American work culture that demands long hours and little or no vacation is not the most productive model when you factor in energy consumption.
If you are struggling in this exhausting system, you would benefit by pursuing alternatives. You could move closer to your job and perhaps try to shorten your work hours. You could even change jobs to an employer with flexible scheduling, telecommuting opportunities, or one that is simply closer to your home. These lifestyle strategies will make your happier, more productive, and reduce the amount of environmentally destructive pollution you generate.
Cultural change starts when people adopt new methods of living. If companies begin to have trouble obtaining qualified workers because they do not want to commute, then pressure will be created for more flexible schedules, telecommuting, and public transit.
If you do not seek a new lifestyle, then you will be sucked dry – along with our planet – by the proverbial rat race. Consider that, at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, peasants did not flock to the factories because they longed for grueling toil. The people went to the factories because the lords had kicked them off their estates, where the peasants had farmed the land, so that the land could instead be used to graze sheep – to produce wool for the textile factories.
The lesson is that if you do not attempt to exert some control over your circumstances and lifestyle, then your lifestyle will be chosen for you, and not necessarily to your benefit. Your health and happiness will suffer along with your environment.
More information about the destructive force of our pollution-based fossil fuel civilization and global warming is available at http://globalwarming.falbepublishing.com
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