Everyone’s heard the same old adage, ‘take the stairs instead of the escalator to feel better and live healthier.’ Although most of us probably fail to take advantage of this, earlier this month, researchers in Stockholm experimented with something they have dubbed as the “fun theory.” By changing out a set of stairs in a subway in Odenplan, Stockholm to one that looked and sounded like a piano when stepped on, researchers found that 66% of subway goers were more likely to take the stairs than the adjacent escalator. By embedding a fun and attractive format encouraging people to use the stairs, researchers were able to alter people’s behavior for the better without them even knowing it. This concept and others like it can be implemented to help save money, the environment, and most importantly, improve the health of participating individuals all while preserving an enjoyable and entertaining format.
Take for example the bike-sharing program that already exists in major worldwide markets like Beijing and Paris, with similar programs currently under development in both India and Pakistan. The concept is simple; a citywide bike sharing initiative in which users can join a club and rent bicycles at various drop off locations available throughout the city. With the swipe of a card even non-club members can purchase a one-day pass for a couple of bucks and be on their way to roam the city in leisure and comfort. Affordable and easy transportation at a time when it seems people are most conscious about our negative impact on the environment. Seems like a no brainer right? Well, not so fast. Numerous complaints about vandalism, inexperienced bicyclers, and ease and availability of bike stations have raised important questions. The good news is, with the advancement of technology, public bike sharing systems are becoming more attractive to consumers who have to travel short distances to and from work. Some new and innovative solutions include a web service that allows users to see how many bikes and parking spots are available at a given location at any time, a stolen bike alert system that keeps track of the bike via GPS, and the integration of online social media websites to create and maintain an individual’s bicycle club membership. By promoting a plan such as bicycle sharing, a city or municipality can provide a platform in which alternative and environmentally friendly transportation is available, thus supporting the underlying premise of the “fun theory.” If a successful bike-sharing program can be implemented within our cities, what does that say about us as a society, that we’ve finally learned to share our toys?
As always, here are your Green Tips for the Week:
Green Tip #1: Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle! Reduce the amount we consume, Reuse waste materials by finding its constructive use, and then toss it in the blue bin to Recycle!
Green Tip #2: Use public transportation! If you live in an area where it’s readily available, use public transportation with your children as much as possible. We know…easier said than done, right? But demonstrating a commitment to mass transit by taking buses and trains not only shows your kids your diligence to living green, it’ll save you some green as well!
Green Tip #3: Replace your inefficient light bulbs with energy efficient CFL Bulbs! Lowering wattage involves replacing bulbs or entire fixtures with alternatives that provide the same or greater amounts of light but with reduced electricity usage. Today, this can be accomplished most easily by replacing that inefficient 60w incandescent bulb with a 13w compact fluorescent bulb!
Sohail Hassan is President & CEO of www.InergySolutions.com