When Savvy was little, I used to point up at the sky as an airplane passed overhead and ask her, in a wondrous tone, "where do you think they're going?".
Savvy has just turned 7, and I don't point at the planes anymore. Not because I think she's too old for that game and not because I don't wonder where they're going. But because, at a time when we are experiencing the initial devastating effects of climate change, I no longer feel inclined to celebrate the scientific marvel that is commercial aviation. It might seem extreme, but I don't think I'd be sad if the planes stopped flying.
I've recently made the decision that, unless I have a major life emergency, I won't be jumping on board any more flights.
And, as for travelling on land, the preferred modes of transport for our whānau are the ones that involve less carbon and more moving our bodies.
We got Savvy her first scooter just before she turned three. Here she is when she was little, having a hoon around our neighbourhood (and, no, this hasn't been sped up!).
To get to Savvy's school, we walk, scooter or bike.
Savvy's latest scooter was another secondhand score on TradeMe. I may have convinced my husband, Davian, that we should get this particular brand of scooter for Savvy's Christmas present for the sake of longevity 🤔. "Look hun, the handlebar extends so she can still ride it as she gets older!"
Or I may have just wanted to have a play 🤔😂😁
All of our family's bikes are secondhand. In fact, my one was rescued from a dumpster many years ago. When Davian and I were first going out, we had neighbours who had hired a rubbish skip and were throwing out all manner of things. Davian spotted a bike in there which was in mostly pretty good condition. He hauled it out and discovered the gears just needed a bit of TLC. There was no way he was going to let a perfectly repairable bike go to waste (marriage material right there). My bike might not be the prettiest thing on two wheels. The seat is a bit torn. It's an interesting shade of radioactive green. But, hey, it gets me where I want to go.
We try to keep it local at our place. I'm fortunate to do most of my work from home. Savvy's school is just around the corner. Davian is the member of our family who does the most travel. His work as a TV camera operator and film maker sees him move around to a variety of locations. And so, up until last July, we had a car - a Toyota Wish that did a great job of getting him to the studio and various shoot locations, as well as allowing me to easily do our grocery shopping (a weekly ten minute trip to the nearest good quality fruit and vege shop and a fortnightly 15 minute trip to the bulk store). But we'd started to become increasingly uncomfortable with the carbon footprint of our travels in the car. We tried to only use it when it was necessary, but, every time we jumped behind the wheel, we felt a niggling sense of guilt. Essentially, it just didn't sit well with our environmental values. So when it was written off in a head to tail motorway pile-up in the first week of Plastic Free July (🤦♂️), we knew it would be our last petrol-powered vehicle.
After the collision, Davian bought an e-bike. The trooper that he is, he rode it all through winter and, despite damaging himself coming off the bike early one morning in a near miss with a curious bunny rabbit perched in the middle of the cycleway, he loved his new mode of fitness- and earth-friendly transport. After all, who doesn't love riding a bike? Whizzing back down the hill after dropping Savvy to school, the breeze in my face, is one of the highlights of my day.
Since the car crash, we've gotten around by bus and train, which has been great. However, we've also needed to hire a car once a week for jobs where Davian needed to bring gear to work and it's not possible to hire electric vehicles in West Auckland. So, we needed a better solution. That solution arrived a couple of months ago, in the form of a Nissan Leaf.
And it's a whole new ballgame.
And it's a whole new ballgame.
We gave it the ultimate test over Christmas, packing it to the hilt for our family camping trip, complete with Savvy's surfboard strapped to the top, and it did the job beautifully. I love how quiet and smooth it is to drive. I love that it means we have to travel more mindfully on long-haul journeys, with planned breaks when we can recharge the battery and have a picnic lunch or a quick explore of a new town. But, most of all, I love knowing that we can get where we need to go without spewing out dirty ole CO2. It's one more step on our path to a sustainable life.
When it comes to humans getting around this globe, peddle-power and clean and efficient public transport are the panacea. But, if you do find yourself requiring a personal vehicle, and your budget will allow it, I recommend exploring the exciting new world of the EV. Once you go electric, you'll never go back.