A worrying walking trend

Last year, NPR reported on Tom Vanderbilt’s exploration into American walking habits.  He announced that American’s now walk the least out of any industrialized nation, preferring instead to drive. The trouble with this trend, Vanderbilt muses, is increased weight, higher stress and less poignant thoughts. Douglas Adams summarizes the environmental impact of choosing driving over walking in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

 “The trouble with most forms of transport…is basically one of them not being worth all the bother…The disadvantages involved in pulling lots of black sticky slime from out of the ground where it had been safely hidden out of harm’s way, turning it into tar to cover the land with, smoke to fill the air with and pouring the rest into the sea, all seemed to outweigh the advantages of being able to get more quickly from one place to another—particularly when the place you arrived at had probably become, as a result of this, very similar to the place you had left, i.e. covered with tar full of smoke and short of fish. “

Often, however, it is not very simple to choose walking over driving; infrastructure for pedestrians is lacking in many American cities. The Alliance for Biking and Walking is working on the problem by uniting many localized cycling and walking advocacy groups on a national level. Likewise, America Walks is a coalition of many organizations petitioning and campaigning to improve America’s walkability.

In order to improve your health and protect the environment now, consider your Walk Score, next time you move or look for a new area to explore in your city. This Seattle-based organization rates addresses by how easy it is to navigate streets by bicycling and walking on a score from 1 to 100 as well offering a nifty smart phone app that allows you to plan ahead for your walking or cycling trips.

America’s dislike for walking cannot last: it is neither environmentally sustainable nor good for one’s physical and mental health. Get involved to help demand better infrastructure and choose to strut your stuff every chance you can!

Douglas Adams summarizes the environmental impact of choosing driving over walking in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

 “The trouble with most forms of transport…is basically one of them not being worth all the bother…The disadvantages involved in pulling lots of black sticky slime from out of the ground where it had been safely hidden out of harm’s way, turning it into tar to cover the land with, smoke to fill the air with and pouring the rest into the sea, all seemed to outweigh the advantages of being able to get more quickly from one place to another—particularly when the place you arrived at had probably become, as a result of this, very similar to the place you had left, i.e. covered with tar full of smoke and short of fish. “

Often, however, it is not very simple to choose walking over driving; infrastructure for pedestrians is lacking in many American cities. The Alliance for Biking and Walking is working on the problem by uniting many localized cycling and walking advocacy groups on a national level. Likewise, America Walks is a coalition of many organizations petitioning and campaigning to improve America’s walkability.

In order to improve your health and protect the environment now, consider your Walk Score, next time you move or look for a new area to explore in your city. This Seattle-based organization rates addresses by how easy it is to navigate streets by bicycling and walking on a score from 1 to 100 as well offering a nifty smart phone app that allows you to plan ahead for your walking or cycling trips.

America’s dislike for walking cannot last: it is neither environmentally sustainable nor good for one’s physical and mental health. Get involved to help demand better infrastructure and choose to strut your stuff every chance you can!

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