Make a difference this June and join thousands of other Canadians by traveling sustainably in the 2018 Commuter Challenge!
The Commuter Challenge is a nation-wide campaign that encourages friendly competition between Canadian cities and workplaces. The challenge itself takes place during Canadian Environment Week (June 3-9, 2018) and involves leaving the car at home, celebrates active and sustainable transportation, and raises awareness around our actions and their environmental impacts!
Here in Manitoba, the challenge is coordinated by Green Action Centre. They are dedicated to promoting greener and better living by sharing practical solutions and advocating for change. Primarily working in green commuting, composting and waste reduction, sustainable living and resource conservation, Green Action Centre is a hub of information for Manitobans of all ages!
Throughout the week, participants log their eco-KMs from their commutes by cycling, walking, taking the bus, carpooling and telecommuting! You can register as a workplace or an individual – see the registration page for more information.
In addition to helping save the planet, participants are also eligible to win some amazing prizes including a Winnipeg Transit year pass ($1000 value), free doughnuts for a year from Oh Doughnuts, two full weekend passes to the Winnipeg Folk Festival and more!
In 2017, over 7,000 Manitobans participated in the Commuter Challenge in over 30 cities and towns, representing just under 40% of the national numbers! If I haven’t convinced you yet, check out some Commuters of Manitoba, explore the benefits of participating, and connect on social media with @greenactionctr, @commuterchllng, #commuterchallengeMB and #greenaction.
This challenge presents the perfect opportunity to discover (or rediscover) a new eco-friendly activity. Whether you drive year round or the winter had you staying in the warmth of your car, take a week and try out different methods of traveling and see how it can have multiple positive impacts!
- Try out your public transportation – look up a bus route to work and try out daily trips or a weekly pass.
- Winnipeg Transit can get you just about anywhere (especially with the Rapid Transit coridor). So, for a week, sit back and relax with a book or a podcast while someone else handles the driving. This can save you gas money as you pay $23.40 for an unlimited weekday pass, $26.00 for a weekday bus pass, or $2.60 per ride.
- Brandon Transit provides service all around Brandon, MB with a total of 11 routes. Look up your workplace and plan your trip with Google Trip Planner, paying $13.50 (adult) or $11.25 (youth/senior) for a 10 ride pass or $1.50 (adult) or $1.25 (youth/senior) per trip.
- If you’re in a smaller community or city, carpooling can be a great alternative if public transport is not as popular or accessible. This can be done with coworkers or partners who go to and leave work around the same time, it’s as simple as that!
- Draw up a schedule and reduce your emissions by hitting the grocery store on the way home rather than taking another trip later.
- Try walking or cycling to work. Not only will you be getting fresh air, exercise, and the opportunity to clear your mind but you’ll be reducing your ecological footprint at the same time. It’s a win-win-win!
- Wear a pair of running shoes on your commutes and either bring another to change into or have a ‘work pair’ that stays at the end of each day.
- Learn more about bike safety, sharing the road and what to do in common traffic situations from MPI’s Bike Safely Guide. Remember to look up the best route as it may be different than your typical drive and could be less stressful than main highways or roads.
- Try out telecommuting! If you are fortunate enough to work remotely some days, take telecommuting for a spin. You’ll even have time to stop for coffee on your way from the bedroom to the office!
- If you tend to get distracted easily, read these 10 tips on being a proficient telecommuter.
Although the Commuter Challenge is only a week long, we travel to and from work year round and understanding how our travel and everyday actions are affecting the environment is a great way to inspire sustainable change.
So, after the week is over and you’re done crossing your fingers in the hopes of winning Oh Doughnuts for a year, a 1 year casual membership with Peg City Car Co-op, 6 VIP passes to the 2018 Fringe Festival, a year family membership to FortWhyte Alive or MORE, consider how you can adopt some of these practices into your life if you haven’t already.
- If you or your workplace enjoys the challenge, try introducing a weekly, biweekly, or monthly challenge in which everyone commutes in a more sustainable way.
- If you’re in school, try to encourage students to walk or bike to school with buddies as the weather warms up and you’re getting closer to summer vacation.
- For everyday trips, after school activities or end of the year concerts and plays, organize a carpool with others. Use a message app or shared calendar to keep track of the schedule and ask if you have any common errands.
Not driving everyday can reduce some convience, but did you know that commuting by car is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in Manitoba, contributing to climate change and air pollution. Choosing to travel more sustainably can therefore have huge and long-lasting impacts on our health, the planet’s health and the health of future generations. We can make a difference through our action so why not give it a try and have a ‘wheely’ good time?
What a driverless world could look like – Wanis Kabbaj