Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Going carless to save the planet
We hear so much about global warming, yet are often left wondering, "What can I do to help keep the earth cool?" Well, I met a family of five in Seattle that is living without a car for at least one year in order to help save the planet from global warming.

When 19-year-old Gary Durning totaled the family car, his parents made a deal with him and his two siblings. "If we didn't get a car, then we'd get cell phones, and for me that was like, 'Oh my gosh, that's so awesome,'" 12-year-old Kathryn Durning told me.

So the Durning family has stopped spewing greenhouse gases from a car and now commutes mostly by foot, bus or bike. Once in a while, they'll splurge and rent a hybrid car for $8 an hour. These are cars that neighbors can share once they buy into the "flex car" rental plan.

I asked Alan Durning if he really thinks one family can make much of a difference when it comes to global warming.

"Absolutely ... We're making a quantifiable difference because we're not burning anywhere near as many gallons of gasoline," Alan told me.

Alan figures his family is saving the planet about 4,000 pounds of pollution this year, since he says most cars emit roughly their own weight in pollution. He says it can only help what is a worsening situation in his part of the country.

Experts say the snow pack in the Cascade Mountains, which are just east of Seattle, has diminished by about 50 percent over the past 50 years. As temperatures rise, more precipitation falls as rain instead of snow. Snow sticks around longer, giving a steadier supply of water. Rain doesn't help as much.

The result: Water rationing and a drought in Washington. If global warming continues, a lack of water could, in theory, even affect Seattle's energy supply, because about 90 percent of its power comes from hydropower dams.

We've all heard about Seattle's famous rainy weather. Well, that weather has made for a lot of wet commutes for Alan on his bicycle. He estimates he rides about 40 miles a week to and from work.

His wife, Amy, walks most places. She admits she's crazy, as a mother of three children, to give up the family car. But one advantage, she says, is that the kids can no longer argue in the back seat, because there isn't one.

To run errands, the Durnings use a baby stroller, which they call their "minivan." It has carried groceries, a broken vacuum cleaner, and even their son, Peter, to the doctor.

The Durnings say one of the best parts of this whole experiment is not only is it helping the planet get in shape, but they're getting in shape too. Together, Alan and Amy say they've lost about 10 pounds. On top of that, they're saving about $200 a month by living the carless lifestyle. They call this savings "walking around money," since, after all, they're doing a lot more walking.

Here's my question for you: Do you think you could live without a car for a year?
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 12:59 PM ET
I sure could live without a car-because I am doing it right now. I am originally from New York City. Four years ago, I moved to a small town named Rocklin. It is in northern California. The city bus comes around once every hour, which, I only ride to go to school or make connections to Sacramento. I don't worry about adding poison to our precious atmosphere, nor do I worry about gas prices. I still worry about my sons who all drive everywhere they go. It would be great if more people gave up their cars, because we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Giving up cars is just the beginning of a cleaner planet.
Posted By Anonymous Nancy Walker, Rocklin, California : 1:22 PM ET
I drive up to 500 miles a week for my job, which covers businesses in three states. There's no way I could live without a car for three days, let alone a year. I do have office days at home two days a week, and on those days, I rarely drive at all.

It's nice that the Durnings are doing this, but it's not realistic for everyone, especially those who don't live in a metropolitan area with everything they need within walking distance.

I also drive about 60 miles round trip to the shelter where I volunteer 2-3 days a week. I would have to give that up if I didn't have a car. To be honest, I'd rather help the homeless who are trying to get by right now than help future generations not yet born.

I'm not trying to be snarky here, because I know global warming is a serious problem, but people have been predicting the end of the world for centuries. It hasn't happened yet. There's only so much a person can worry about and only so much a person can do.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Baltimore, MD : 1:31 PM ET
I have not had a car since 1999. Yes, I walk a lot, including to and from work, which is hot here in the desert, but it's great exercise. I live downtown where everything is convenient. The buses go nearly everywhere and if I don't know where I'm going I grab a cab. I didn't know I was helping to save Earth; I thought I was merely simplifying my life when I made the decision to give up my beloved Jeeps. Thanks for the informative article.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 1:33 PM ET
I could. But for my lifestyle, a car means freedom, means quality of life. Thre are other things I'd give up first. My freedom last!
Posted By Anonymous Brigitte M. Montreal Canada : 1:37 PM ET
Here in Metro Detroit we have the worse mass transit sytem ever. Although we do have bus systems they are so poorly layed out that most people can't use them. So we have to use our cars to get from point A to point B, which would be OK if people would combine smaller trips into one large trip. Case in point I do all my errands on one side of town one day and usually early in the day because it is easier on the environment. And later in the week I will do errands on the other side of town. Also when an Ozone action day is called in our area some people don't pay much attention to it, but if they were to fill up their tanks early or later in the day and not cut grass until later in the evening that would prevent further damage to the environment.

Although we all can't give up our cars and walk to work or shopping there are things we can do all we have to do is sit down ad review our own lifestyle and what we can do to change it in order to save our planet.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia Warren MI : 1:38 PM ET
No, I'm afraid I couldn't live without a car for a year. Living in the hills of western Pennslyvania, we would be totally home bound on cold, icy, winter days with snow covered roads.

But that doesn't mean we still can't do our part to conserve energy. Every American can do that by consolidating trips, keeping vehicles well maintained, using other means of getting around on nice days (walking, cycling, public transportation), and becoming conscious of all the other ways we use energy in our daily life.

And as the Durnings discovered, there are other benefits to conserving energy like getting our bodies in better shape and better communication between family members.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 1:42 PM ET
ha! i would LOVE to live without a car...i live in a suburb of n'awlins and have given this issue LOTS of fact, i'm ready to move to an area where a walking lifestyle is more the norm! i hate driving and the ecological effects...
Posted By Anonymous les, northshore, louisiana : 1:42 PM ET
I respect and admire what the Durning family is doing, but I don't think I could follow suit. Something like this would probably work better for people in an urban environment since more things tend to be within walking distance and they have more cabs, public transportation, etc. to supplement their walking.
Posted By Anonymous Meaghan, Suburbs in PA : 1:44 PM ET
One can only admire the effort that this family has put into reducing their contribution to global warming. I cannot help but wonder, however, whether they only buy local products, thereby reducing the amount of fuel used in transportation for their garments, food, etc.

The fact is only a fraction of the CO2 we produce comes from our cars. Home heating is certainly the largest producer of carbon emissions for those of us that live in the northeast. So I congratulate you, but I hope we all realize that even if you were able to give up your car it is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Lowell, MA : 1:52 PM ET
Hi Randi,
I would not be able to give up my car for one year..I live in a rural area and unless I'd like to lasso a horse to take me around, I guess I'll just have to stay an auto addict..But I admire anyone who will deep six the car and hat's off to them. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 1:55 PM ET
I wish I could. Unfortunatly, in order to be able to afford to live in a decent, safe neighborhood, I have to drive 35 miles to the office. There is no public transportation, and no way I can work any closer to home. Also, in the "rural" south, there aren't stores, schools or churches within walking distance for us. If there was affordable safe housing with a good school system, heck even a SAFE school system with in walking distance of where I work, sure, I'd toss the car. If I lived in a city with public transportation, or distances short enough to ride a bike, you bet, I'd be first in line to give my car up. But I don't. So until we figure out away to answer the issues that keep me driving...well, I have to keep driving. I do what I can, limit trips, do all errands at once, but I wish I could do more.
Posted By Anonymous Vicki, Rural Rankin County, MS : 2:06 PM ET
No, but we can reduce our automobile use. I live within a 15-minute walk of work at a local community college. Public transportation is not widely available here and in rural communities. Occasional trips to Boise require an automobile. We can, however, cut down on the number of miles driven and try to do so as much as possible. Helps the environment, saves money, provides exercise, and cuts down on U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Goodness I'm starting to sound like a liberal!
Posted By Anonymous Frank Ellis, Twin Falls, Idaho : 2:08 PM ET
I appreciate the fact that the Dunnings are trying to save our planet. They are a role model family.

Going carless may be an option for some but for many others it's not a possibility, no matter how much they wish to slow down the global warming. Most cities in America aren't prepared to offer public transportation for the masses and even if they were many people wouldn't take it. We purposely separate our work from home by many miles whether it's for safer neighborhoods, better schools for our children or simply for serenity and peace from the sounds of the city.

It's a simple fact, we chose to live away from where we work, we chose to pay high gas prices and we chose to kill our planet. We are all contributors to global warming and are the reason there are CAT-5 hurricanes, tsunami�s and other natural disasters that affect us each and every day.
Posted By Anonymous Gretchen Schneider, New Orleans LA : 2:10 PM ET
In an ever more hedonistic world: no. Only if one can resist the impulse of desire; very unlikely. We are selfish; egoism rules our lives. I tip my hat to one courageous American family, but laugh at a miracle so unlikely to happen. Unless of course, America gets punched where it hurts the most, that is, its wallet.
Posted By Anonymous Sy, Sunnyvale, California : 2:19 PM ET
I don't think I could live without a car for a year unless I dramatically changed the way I lived. Living in a 1st tier suburb, we walk or ride our bikes as much as we can. But there is simply not bus service to many places we regularly visit, especially at night. Walking two miles to the library is fun in the summer, but not on a cold winter day.
Posted By Anonymous Cathy, Minnneapolis, MInnesota : 2:19 PM ET
Hi Randi,

It would depend on where I'm living. Living without a car is easy if you live in a place where public transportation is abundant and most things are within walking distance, like NYC. But I think that's much less realistic option for those living in more rural areas where the nearest grocery store is several miles away. Not to mention places up north that get lots of wintry weather and need protection from it as they travel.

I am quite impressed with this family, though!
Posted By Anonymous AM, Piscataway, NJ : 2:22 PM ET
I would love to do the same thing as the Durnings but it's not very practical when my work is 10 miles away from my house. Taking public transportation is too time consuming. I think it is a great idea, but frankly, I like my comfort but I do drive a Prius though.
Posted By Anonymous Derek, Santa Monica, California : 2:44 PM ET
Congratulations to this family for going carless. I, as an Earth-honoring evolution biologist, have done the same for the past 15 years and love it. Less tension, more friends met through occasional rides, more healthy walking and all that. Have to choose where I live to be sure of access on foot and public transport, but that challenge offsets the downsides of driving.

Anderson: Instead of saying "the earth", would you consider switching to a simpe but honoring proper name of our platent Earth? We never say "the venus" or "the mars", right? Publishers may squawk, but you will be correct and help others to celebrate and care for our precious Earth!
Posted By Anonymous Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris, Santa Barbara, CA : 2:45 PM ET
Yes, I would able to live for a year without a car. I would likely take the bus alot, especially in the summer. It is often 100F or more during that time of the year. Of course, it would require planning on my part in regards to running errands.

I think this is possible for anyone who either live in the suburbs or in an area that has a mass transit system of some sort.

As for the savings, it would save me at least $2,500 a year on gas, insurance, and up-keep on my car. I own a sedan-type car, so I think someone who a bigger car would save even more!
Posted By Anonymous Genevieve Matthews, El Paso, TX : 3:11 PM ET
Hi! Could I live without a car? Yes, I have no problem with that, been there, done that. As a matter of fact I lived without a car, steady electricity, running water, in house telephone and whatever other utilities we in North America take for granted, and I did it for 4 full years. Yes, I lived in the Carribbean and even though it was an adjustment at first I got used to it fairly quickly. I can even say that now that I'm back in my hometown in Canada, I continue to take my showers with cold water, walk to do most of my errands and live with very little lights on at night. Even though the Dominican Republic and other Carribbean countries are considered behind we could learn a lot from them especially not taking things for granted so much and learn to do our part in conserving energy.
Posted By Anonymous Lyne, Ottawa, Canada : 3:15 PM ET
I'm not surprised by some writers who say it's impractical or unrealistic. But, try it! I live 25 miles from work, walk 1/2 mile every morning to my first bus, transfer onto another which deposits me a mile from work, and I walk that also. Same for going home. I'm 53 yrs old and have medical problems which make it harder for me to walk. If I can do it you can also. Unless your work requires you to drive throughout the day, mass-transit is the only way to go.
Posted By Anonymous Norman Seattle Washington : 3:19 PM ET
Of course I could live without a car for a year! There isn't one of us that couldn't find a way. I could live without runnning water for a year or without fast food takeaways too. Imagine that.

The average American is so unbelievably spoiled.
Posted By Anonymous Tikka, Seattle, Wa : 3:35 PM ET
Here in Chicago we're spread out, and massive suburban sprawl surrounds the city. Some office commuters and people living downtown use public trans, but traffic is bumper-to-bumper anyway. There's a saying in Chicago - "we have two seasons, winter and construction season!"
Posted By Anonymous Tina - Chicago IL : 3:36 PM ET
If we had better public transportation, not only would it reduce emmissions, it would prevent the chaos that erupted when everyone tried to flee the path of the gulf coast huirricanes.
Posted By Anonymous Ramya, Austin Texas : 3:55 PM ET
Yes, I could. Actually, I gave up my car a couple years ago and it's been great! But, I'm fortunate to live in a metropolitan area that has three good mass transit systems to get me where I need to go.
Posted By Anonymous Heather, Washington, DC : 4:01 PM ET
I am living without a car. Since I moved back home to the Bay Area from Seattle, I have given up my car and now strictly use public transit such as B.A.R.T. and A.C. Transit. It's saving me about $300 per month just in gas and insurance alone.
Posted By Anonymous Kolean Burke Fremont, CA : 4:02 PM ET
With the poor planning of residential areas, and no mass transit system in the suburbs, not having a car is not really an option here. My kids live by 'think globally, act locally', and have given up driving when they can bike or walk. Of course, soaring gas prices and low wages are additional incentive.
Posted By Anonymous Deb, Richmond VA : 4:06 PM ET
I wish I had the will power to give up my gas guzzler! Helping the environment would be nice, but losing some extra pounds would be really nice.
Posted By Anonymous Jessica, Paris, KY : 4:12 PM ET
I could not live without my car! I drive an average of 500 miles a week for work, school, and basic shopping. My community is going under, so all the stores are moving away. It's 15 miles to the nearest grocery store- I could not walk that distance & carry a week's worth of grocery's at the same time. I did, however, buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Posted By Anonymous Lin, St. Louis, MO : 4:12 PM ET
In a perfect world, yes, it would be great to give up the car. But I live in reality and like most Amercians need a means of transportation to commute many miles to work. What happened to recommending mass transit or car pools as an option. There are many more suggestions to help out the environment before we start getting rash and ask people to give up their cars.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly, San Francisco : 4:22 PM ET
Absolutely. It would take a little getting used to but I could make it work. There would be a few 'minor' adjustments.
Posted By Anonymous FB, Del Rio, Texas : 4:25 PM ET
I could live without a car if I planned my life more carefully. My aunt in St. Louis never had a driver's license or a car. I have wonderful memories of walking to church and other places with her. I admire what this family is doing. I think one problem with many things is that people think one family or one person doesn't matter, doesn't influence or change things, ect but one straw broke the camel's back and one kingdom was lost for the want of one nail. I admire what this family is doing.
Posted By Anonymous Shirley Wolf Point, Montana : 4:31 PM ET
I think when living in and working in a big city, living without a car is a lot easier. I was born and raised in Toronto and I don't even have a driver's license! I never needed to have a car. However, with many people coming into the city from the suburbs and congesting the downtown core, the consequences are staggering on the elderly and those with asthma. As the earth continues to heat up by our polluting ways, we're going to get more smog alerts and a lot more people are going to be negatively affected.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Toronto CANADA : 4:35 PM ET
I have a dream. My dream is that I can one day move back to a place that actually has public transportation.

When I lived in Naples, Italy I could get almost anywhere by walking or taking the bus/train. Even in Washington DC, I could get around quite well.

Where I live now, most of the neighborhoods have little or no sidewalks. It's very pedestrian un-friendly. You really have no safe alternative to driving.

We will finance wars, but not public transport. It's a sad commentary on where our priorities are in this country.
Posted By Anonymous liz, Montgomery, AL : 4:55 PM ET
I believe that no matter where you live, if there's a will there's a way. You'd be amazed at how well you can adapt to what may seem like an impossible situation. For rural areas like mine, we
could take a tip from the Amish community
and get a horse and buggy.
I think today's society is confusing necessity with luxury items. Food is necessary, car is luxury. Water is necessary, electricity ( hard to believe, I know) is a luxury. Saving the earth that we call our home...mmmm
necessary. "Can't " give up the car?
To quote my grandmother " Can't never could."
Posted By Anonymous Jen from Fayetteville, W.V. : 5:01 PM ET
My husband and I tried living without a car when we first moved to Seattle from the East Coast. It worked until I got a job at Microsoft and had to start commuting across the 520 bridge. My husband still takes the bus to his office downtown and I vanpool & carpool often. At least we share one car!
Posted By Anonymous Monica, Seattle, WA : 5:03 PM ET
I could live without a car because I live in New York. But if I DID live in the burbs, I would say yes because I think I would fashion myself a makeshift covered wagon or something. Although there is some romance to the "late night drive," there is little to no romance in drowning in polar ice cap water.
Posted By Anonymous Molly, New York, NY : 5:04 PM ET
I lived in Evanston and worked in Chicago for about 2 years, and I never had a car. It was great, not just environmentally (which I admit I thought little about), but also because I didn't have to babysit a huge machine all the time. Now I live in LA where there is no public transit to speak of (save for a bus system that only works if you live and work in specific places), and I'm constantly worried that my car is getting scratched or ticketed or does not have enough gas in it to make the 45-minute trip home. The problem is that right now, in LA no one lives downtown. I'd love to ditch my car and walk to work, especially since now that doesn't mean skating across the sidewalk on patches of inch-thick ice. I hear they are working on making downtown more liveable, which would be great. As soon as that new retail complex is completed, I'm moving!
Posted By Anonymous Kay from LA : 5:14 PM ET
Living carless really is only an option if you live in a city with reliable public transportation or live close enough to work and shopping to make a go of it on foot without it taking up half your day to get somewhere. I live in a mid-size town in Texas that offers neither. I do ride my bike around town quite a bit. While going completely carless is admirable, and when I eventually make the move to Dallas, I could give it a go, but for my stage in life now, it's just impractical.
Posted By Anonymous Jamie, Paris TX : 5:20 PM ET
I commend this family (especially the kids!) for makng a difference in the world. My son (16) does not want a car because of gas prices. I will not give up my car. I don't live in an area where walking or busing is an option. I telecommute 100% of the time. I believe telecommuting should be offered as an option by more employers. My husband drives 24 miles a day to work in an office at his computer all day. He could do is job from his office at home but they will not allow it.

I am offended by the number of SUVs, trucks and minivans on the road. I believe these vehicles outnumber cars. And there is often only one person in the vehicle!

I am fascinated by the concept of geothermal heating for homes. I would love for my next home to be heated using this method.
Posted By Anonymous Anne, Upstate New York : 5:53 PM ET
maybe US needs more metropolitan, like NYC, Chicago where it's so convenient to go anywhere and live in a comdo so the mass translations are more likely offered cause the dense population!
Posted By Anonymous xin, chicago, IL : 3:01 AM ET
I can't do with out my car. I have crippling arthritis and live in a rural part of the county. I do try to plan my trips carefully to avoid driving a lot.
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Wentzville, Missouri : 7:16 AM ET
I think what this family has done is to be highly commended. My husband and I recently downsized to moved into downtown, doing away with my need for a car. I have been seriously condsidering giving up my car (I ride my bike everyday to work) but seeing this article made me realize that if they can do it, I can do it too!
Posted By Anonymous Christen, Charleston, SC : 8:24 AM ET
I lived without a car in Baltimore for about two years. My old honda kicked it and I had to decide if I wanted to have a car payment or keep my young daughter in private school. Living in Baltimore City I chose the private school. It was difficult at first because this city does not have the greatest mass transit, but I adapted and learned the best ways to get here and there with walking and then a little later with a bike. It saved me a lot of money and I lost weight. My main consideration at the time was personal, but I am pleased that my choice was an enviromentally sound one.
Posted By Anonymous Dana Baltimore, Maryland : 10:08 AM ET
I think it's great that people are living without a car. I don't have one. I carpool to work and use public transportation to get around.
Posted By Anonymous Crystal, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada : 10:46 AM ET
I am fortunate enough to live in an area where one doesn't require a vehicle, and so, I don't have one. I got a decent bike, a big hiking backpack for transporting groceries and the like, and a little cart-wagon thing that goes on the back for my toddler. It's a win-win situation, one in which I must admit I never even pondered the environment: the savings in fuel, insurance, car payments and emissions tests were more than enough to keep me car-free. If actual wheels are required, there's always taxicabs, Greyhound buses and cross-country trains. The ticket cost is expensive at times, but the once-in-a-while expense is still far less than that of a car's upkeep.
Posted By Anonymous Misty, Toronto Canada : 10:54 AM ET
Kudos to this family! I personally couldn't live without a car as I am in a rural area without public transportation. However, I am careful to plan my trips so as to go out only once during the day ("town" is about 13 miles away). It sickens me that so many in my neighborhood are driving up and down the street all day long, with no thought as to how much pollution they are putting in the air and how much of our natural resources they are wasting. What amuses me, however, is that the majority of these people have children (I don't). Shouldn't they be MOST concerned with pollution and preserving our resources? I'd like to add they all drive SUVs, too.
Posted By Anonymous Lila Perilloux, Harwood, MD : 10:57 AM ET
Actually, Tina, there are three seasons in Chicagoland, "winter", "road construction", and "you can't get there from here". I live 2 miles from my office and this morning's commute was 35 minutes because all the roads except one are under construction for sewer repairs. This includes my street. Add an accident and traffic stalls. I actually questioned the need to be in my car today.
My job, however, requires a car. We have equipment in the Chicagoland area which we service on a daily basis. We examined the use of public transportation, but suburb to suburb is not available. If you want to go into the city, fine but going from Joliet to Arlington Heights can't be done without a long trip.
I walk to work if I have to be in on weekends. I combine all errands into one day trip. I recycle and compost and buy organic.
The Durnings are to be commended but, realistically, it's not practical for everyone.
Posted By Anonymous Debb, Wheaton, IL : 11:23 AM ET
I could live one year without my car. I know this because I am 27 adn I just bought a car 3 months ago. Before that I took the bus and walked. Of course I live in a city were busses are actually an option. Though I have to admit, having a car has made my life so much easier I can see how someone who has owned a car for years may feel that they couldn't give it up. It is possible to live without a car, you just have to sacrifice a lot of you time waiting for busses, as well as their indirect ways of getting from point A to B.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada : 11:41 AM ET
I would be more than happy to live without a car! In two weeks, I will be doing just that so I can do my part to help the Earth. I'm fortunate that I'll have the option of walking, biking, or taking the bus or metro. I think it definitely makes it easier when one lives in an area with good mass transit, but we can all start by simply reducing our amount of driving. Combine multiple errands in one trip. Walk to places that are under a mile away.

I aspire to be like the Durnings because forgoing a car for an entire family is not without its many hardships, but they've shown that it can be done.
Posted By Anonymous Hina, Arlington VA : 11:46 AM ET
OMG, I hope my husband doesn't hear about this... He would have myself and two teenagers (three car family)give up our cars just to save on the gas ($), insurance and upkeep... He would say it was because of the enviroment but we all know better...
That aside, the first two things that come to mind are "Florida has alot of lightning storms, wouldn't want to be on a bike or walking during one, and walkers and bikers are not safe after dark here, muggers, drinkers and careless drivers, to name three... I do not want my teenage daughter walking or biking after dark, for whatever reason... I will find another way to help the enviroment...
Posted By Anonymous Sherry, Sarasota, Florida : 11:47 AM ET
Traveling by bike in Southern California would be like posting a "KILL ME PLEASE" sign on my back. The drivers out here are getting more and more hostile as the temperatures start to soar. I would panic at the thought of kissing my husband goodbye and watching he and my children pedal away because of the irresponsible, raging drivers out here. If I lived in some small litte town with no traffic, I would definetely do it. But it isn't practical in big cities such as Los Angeles.
Posted By Anonymous Katherine, Woodland Hills, CA : 12:29 PM ET
Yes, it's possible. It's about lifestyle choices. I've never had a car. I've lived in Paris, Montreal and Singapore so I always had access to public transportation. Now, I make a conscious choice to find a job and a place to live that are near public transportation and shops/services so I don't have to use a car to get around.
Posted By Anonymous VT, Brighton, UK : 12:37 PM ET
Try doing this in the Northeast where temps get to below zero and snow. Where I am now in June, the temps get above 100 until September. Wanna come out here and bike?????
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Las Vegas Nevada : 12:43 PM ET
You don't have to give up your car for a year, you just have to go from a gas guzzling SUV to a more economical car. If we all did that, the last thing we would have to do is stop driving. I saw a woman this morning driving what had to be the biggest, ugliest Dodge Truck supercab I have ever seen. To infuriate me even more, it had a spoiler because I guess its a sports car too and it needs to have its airflow dampened. She was the only person in the truck and it was pretty clear this thing was never going to be used for actual work purposes. If this woman had any brains, she could be driving a smaller car, saving money on gas that might help her live a lot more comfortably when she retires. I guess the status of driving a big stupid truck is more important than being able to retire with more money or having extra money that a person could donate to charity or something "hippiesh" like that. Who cares about community anyway when you drive a big, stupid truck. You're your own community.
Posted By Anonymous Yeaple, Beacon, NY : 12:46 PM ET
Aren't feel good articles grand? But life isn't that simple - we all know that we must make choices. I live in a small lakeside community, have no air conditioning, hang my clothes on the line, have a programmable thermastat, flouresncent light bulbs, turn off the tv/lights when not in use, pray mother nature waters my gardens,and don't smoke - but I drive a SUV to work (shame, shame on me) because we have deer around here and my life is worth something to me. I try to make good choices but I know what I'm doing isn't worth a hill of beans but it makes me feel good. P.S. I hate bicylists, they hog the road (picture is example - not riding at curb) are erractic and scare the hell out of me especially the one's with child-wagons. Egads, I'm trembling just thinking about it - one death and that family will be back inside a automobile . But we all must make choices.
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth Hudson Port Stanley ON : 12:53 PM ET
"Here's my question for you: Do you think you could live without a car for a year?"

There's not a single person that could realistically say no to this question. People lived- and flourished- for how many millenia on naught but their own two legs?

The combustible engine is wonderful, true, but no, a vehicle is not a necessity of life.
Posted By Anonymous Holly, Liverpool Canada : 12:56 PM ET
I am a teenager and dont even drive yet. My city doesnt have a subway just a bus and i dont think i would ever take it just because its not really safe. I live far away from my friends, too far to walk or ride a bike, meaning that i depend on my parents to give me a ride to and from places, some times causing an inconvience. So to answer your question, could i live without a car for a year? My answer is no and i think that most people would agree.
Posted By Anonymous Laura, Windsor, Ontario ( Canada) : 9:23 PM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

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