Letter: Individuals can contribute to a huge climate difference

Slow down to the speed limit on your commutes

To the Expositor:

Recently, world leaders gathered to try to achieve some consensus regarding an approach to address issues related to the real and present danger of the destruction of our world due to climate change. They focused on actually doing something so we don’t all perish in a flood, forest fire, typhoon or hurricane.

So my wife and I decided to brainstorm possible actions for millions of humans to reduce their carbon footprint that would have huge impact with little effort. Our solution? For drivers of gas powered vehicles to simply make a sincere commitment to not driving over the speed limit.

To show the positive impact of such a decision, we compared our gas consumption at a speed of 100 kms per hour on the road into Sudbury and at the speed limits on the island (80, 40, 50, and 60 kms hour).

Traveling at 100 km per hour, we got only 9.5 km per litre/100kms. Traveling the speed limit on the island gave us 11.5 km per litre/100 kms, thus using at least 10 litres less to go the same distance. With gas selling for $1.50 a litre, that represents a saving close to $15.00, with the added benefit to the planet of a substantial reduction in pollution of the air. If millions of drivers of gas powered cars took this simple step to reduce their carbon footprint, we are confident the positive impact on the environment would be huge.

The sacrifice, of course, is in the amount of extra time it takes to get to your destination, traveling more slowly than you otherwise would. Realistically, this is a very small price to pay for protecting the future of the many young people who are looking to responsible adults to take the lead in at least trying to solve this climate change dilemma.

To illustrate how feeble the argument is that speeding gets you to your destination sooner, one need only look at the section of highway from Espanola to Manitoulin that gives drivers only about 5 places to pass safely. Many drivers get impatient and pass in dangerous places, putting safe drivers at risk, and for what? To get to the bridge first?

It is our experience that, more often than not, the people who were in such a rush to get by us, end up stopped at the bridge in front of us, leaving us to wonder what they were thinking.

Not only are they not helping to save the planet, but by being in such a hurry, they are, like so many people who break speed limits,  missing out on so many of the spectacular sights along the road that can be so much more appreciated just by slowing down to enjoy the view.

John Hawke

Honora Bay