Monday, April 6, 2009

A Green Lining in a Big Grey Cloud?

I just read a story designed to gladden the hearts of everyone with an interest in environmentalism, sustainability or living green. In 2008 — at least in part as a result of the economic meltdown and volatile fuel prices — U.S. public transit ridership reached its highest levels ever in 52 years: nearly 11 billion trips. What’s more, for 2008 as a whole, the total number of miles driven dropped nearly 4% — almost 108 billion fewer miles than in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Despite falling gas prices, many people are sticking with public transportation to save money, according to Rosemary Sheridan, vice president at the American Public Transportation Association. However, the "doomsday budget” recently passed by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) probably didn’t figure in Ms. Sheridan’s prediction. MTA will be raising fares significantly, while scaling way back on services … a move that’s making millions of New York commuters unhappy and threatening our dainty carbon footprint.

Bummer! To paraphrase the lyrics of one of the greatest songs by one of the greatest rock bands ever: It looks like “every silver lining’s got a touch of grey.” We’ve got to get ourselves back to the green.

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