Society today is one of convenience and speed. The less time it takes you to complete something the better. Hence if asked whether you want to drive or walk somewhere, the answer will always be to drive. Even if your destination is literally around the corner or just a couple minutes from where you are now, it’s very rare someone will want to take the extra time and effort required to get there.
If you were to go to Europe though, you’re likely to find many more people walking than traveling by car. Perhaps it’s because the roads are not the same as they are here. Or maybe they prefer wandering about the streets, coming across sights and attractions they would hardly notice if they whizzed by them. In all likelihood it’s probably because they can’t afford a vehicle. Whatever the reason may be, you walk more in these countries just in one day than many of us do in our entire lifetime here.
Now think about this, too. Doesn’t it seem like most Europeans are quite fit and trim? Do you notice how there tends to be less traffic and therefore fewer accidents on the roads? Is there much concern about pollution? Not really. This is not to say that cars are never used or that they’re not needed. However, many can do without them. It’s not quite the end of the world if they can’t drive somewhere. They simply find another way to get there.
Would it be easy to do something similar living in the US? Not really. Most neighborhoods are not equipped with a local bakery, fishery, market, etc. as is the case in Europe. Here we have ginormous shopping centers located on highways that are treacherous enough without walking along or across. Yet, could it be done? Absolutely- with limits of course. No one is expecting you to hitchhike to work if your commute by car is longer than 30 minutes. But if it only takes you 10 minutes to get to your job across town then clearly you can make the trek depending on the weather and your physical condition.
So why go the extra mile (yes, pun intended)? Why, for the same aforementioned reasons. Walking is a form of exercise which will keep you healthy and in shape. It’s easy to do and puts you in a better mood when you would normally be stuck in traffic during rush hour. If others start doing the same that means there would be fewer cars on the road which would not only cut down on traffic but would also result in fewer accidents, especially in cases where certain geniuses like to drink and drive. Finally, there would be less pollution. Even if you don’t care what happens to this chemical build up in the future, you should be concerned that you’re breathing in all those toxic emissions without realizing it.
No one is pressing you to abandon your vehicle. But it is important to use your legs for more than just pushing pedals. If you are not in a position to walk to and from places, then make it a point to walk whenever you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Go for a stroll around the neighborhood every day. Also, don’t park so close to store and business entrances (unless doing so at night in which case safety takes precedence). There are plenty of ways to get moving and leave behind today’s sedentary lifestyle. Simply put your mind to it, and you can begin to make a difference.