Ride the bus to Copenhagen!

In a month, delegates from around the world will meet in Copenhagen in an effort to hammer out an international treaty to protect our climate. Already the experts are saying that chances for a deal aren't great. This week Angela Merkel of Germany, a world leader among nations in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, announced that if the U.S., China, and India didn't clarify their negotiating positions before the meeting began, she wouldn't attend.

The big question we face is: Can we adopt policies and make changes fast enough to protect us?

Two years ago I decided to find out for myself  if I could cut my own energy use quickly and dramatically reduce my carbon footprint. Even though I already owned a Prius, I decided to go for the unthinkable, for a Los Angeles commuter, and get out of my car. I vowed to commute car free two days a week.

That meant getting on the bus.

Let me show you how it works for me in this short video by Jeremy Kagan.


We look to government for answers, but the biggest stumbling block to government action is the perception amongst lawmakers that we the people will not change and will reject mandates that require personal action.We have to show our elected leaders and our policy makers that we care and we're willing to change. In fact, each of us can immediately reduce our consumption and emissions. This personal action leads the way to long-term policy and institutional changes.

Can we do it? I found to my surprise that even in this most car-centered city, making this change was not an ordeal at all. I had to make some adjustments, sure, but it's been mostly a very positive experience. I've met a lot of interesting people, learned about local shops and local products I never saw before, and have gotten a ton of my correspondence done while bus commuting, which is impossible while driving a car.

Ask yourself: Do I want to get serious about reversing global warming? Do I want to convince our leaders to do the right thing in Copenhagen? Then hopping on the bus, or making another significant change in your life to reduce your carbon emissions, can give them the proof they need that you care.

As Alan Deutschmann wrote in Change or Die -- while big changes in our lives can sometimes be necessary for our survival, making those big changes can often turn out to be more possible and even more practical than small, incremental ones. Really!