I Got Green: How One CafeMom and Her Family Live Simply With One Car

toy cars

Photo from DragonLuv

This week I'm talking to several CafeMoms about their green efforts in 2008 and green aspirations for 2009. Maybe these CafeMoms and their dedication to "going green" will inspire more eco-friendly motivation for 2009. Sometimes greener living is easier than you think.

Today I'm chatting with CafeMom greenANDchic, whose family has been getting by with one car for the last few years.


Cafe Sheri: Your family cut back to one car a few years ago. Was this a conscious effort toward greener living?

greenANDchic: I'm not sure I would really call it a conscious effort toward green living at first. We moved closer to campus/work and the downtown area so that we could walk to school/work and to many other things rather than have to drive as much. We had two cars then and barely drove them other than for shopping and going out. We actually only got rid of our second car because we only had on-street parking, and we lived in walking distance to school/work before getting rid of it.

When we moved to California, we thought we were going to need a second car, but we managed to find a place to live that was near a bus to my husband's work. So once again we didn't need a second car. We have gotten so used to only having one car that we continue to look for housing that is on a bus line to work whenever we move.

These days it is a very conscious effort towards greener living, though it is also just our preference, as my husband hates to drive, and by only having one car, we can afford for me to stay home with our son for now.

Cafe Sheri: You and your husband have chosen housing, based on its proximity to your jobs and school in order to keep to your family's one-car pledge. How difficult was this?

greenANDchic: When we were moving to California from Wisconsin, it was difficult because we didn't know the area we were moving to and none of the apartment complexes knew if they were on a route to his work. We had to look up all of the different bus lines out here to determine if it even looked like there would be a bus available.

Later, the bus line my husband was taking was in jeopardy of being shut down so we moved elsewhere where we knew the bus line was not in jeopardy. We will probably stay in our new area, as we ended up in an area we really love. It just so happens that you can walk to a lot of things and in our last three moves we have been within a mile walk of enough shopping and dining to further limit our car usage.

Cafe Sheri: What's the biggest change you've had to make owning only one car?

greenANDchic: Having to be a little more flexible because sometimes my husband needs the car, or I will have to drive him so that I can have the car. However, we just try to make the most of it and enjoy the little bit of extra time we get together when I drive him places.

Cafe Sheri: What surprised you most as you adapted to owning one car?

greenANDchic: That we really didn't need two cars. It sounds odd, but we never missed having a second car and were relieved to have one less thing to worry about.

Cafe Sheri: What greener living effort do you want to take on in 2009? 

greenANDchic: So far we have committed to buying green electricity. We are working on using cloth diapers and wipes more often. We are also working on alleviating some of our vampire power (though this one is much more difficult for us as we are both computer scientists and have a lot of electronic gadgets and things to charge—it is hard to always remember to unplug chargers when they aren't in use). I did put our gaming consoles on their own power strip now so I can turn the power to them off when they aren't in use.

Other than that, we continue to make a lot of smaller changes as they arise. Small steps are much easier to just do without much effort.

Thanks, greenANDchic. It's great to see how one family's preference for simpler living can turn into a lesser impact on the planet.

+++ What about you? Could your family survive on one car? Why or why not?

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