What You Can Do


  •  Week 3: Monday, April 14- Sunday, April 20

    Why It’s Important

    The modern world is built on fossil fuels with the transportation sector one of the largest consumers. Transportation produces almost 30% of all U.S. global warming emissions (i). As the availability of easily accessible fossil fuels declines, the problem we face is not a lack of alternative technology.

    The problem in the U.S. is that for over 60 years we have built our transportation infrastructure and designed our communities to function almost exclusively with privately-owned gasoline-powered cars and diesel-powered trucks. This has made the American culture addicted to the convenience of a private car. This trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure would take many decades to retrofit for a world without cheap oil — decades we do not have.


    There are 4 sections below. See each section for specific instructions.
    Act – 10 possible points
    Learn – 15 possible points
    Advocate – 10 possible points
    Share – 5 possible points 

    Act - 10 possible points

    Instructions: The Act weekly challenges are designed to be attainable. You decide how you want to achieve the challenge based on your values and what you want to try. You need to try something that will be new for you. Pick 1 of the following 4 challenges this week to earn 10 points. No additional points will be awarded for doing more because we want you to do one thing well.

    1. Reduce your transportation-related emissions
    Actions you can take:  

    • For one day this week, make a list of everywhere you go and how you usually get there. If 'drive alone' shows up, what alternative modes of transportation could you use instead next time? 
    • Bike or walk to run errands within 1 mile of home, school or work. If you already do this, try extending your range to 2 miles.
    • Cut average weekly mileage 25% by focusing on essential car trips.
    • Instead of driving to the gym, get to the gym by foot, bike or transit.
    • Stop idling your car; turn it off when it is not moving. Stop warming up your car in the morning. This infographic explains why.
    • Instead of traveling for a meeting, do a video conference using Skype. OIT checks out microphones and videocameras.
    • Work from home 1 day this week.
    • Minimize car trips by “chaining” together errands or by running errands on the way to/from work/school instead of making a separate trip.

    2. Learn to drive like a Hypermiler, when you do drive.
    Hypermilers tune up their vehicles and use  driving techniques to maximize fuel economy. Changing your  driving style can yield significant dollar savings at the pump.  Go to to learn how and start making changes the next time you drive.

    3. Learn how to ride transit. 
    If the thought of taking transit sounds intimidating, challenge yourself this week to just do it. Here are some helpful resources: 

    4. Learn how to commute to campus, work or run errands by bike. 
    If the thought of riding your bike to run errands or get to campus/work intimidates you, challenge yourself this week to just do it. Here are some helpful resources:  

    • The Biking at SU web site has information on how to register and secure your bike, sign up for secure covered bike parking, where to shower on campus and links to web sites to safely plan your route in Seattle.
    • Googlemaps provides bicycle directions.
    • King County has an online bike map, a video on how to put your bike on a bus, where to park your bike at a transit center, and tips on how to ride safely.
    • Cascade Bicycle Club has information on the 10 essentials for bike commuters, 6 tips for riding in the rain, offers riding and maintenance classes, provides a list of bike shops, lists their group rides and much more. 

    Learn - 15 possible points

    Instructions: Attend 1 event to earn 10 points.
    Go to the event page to see what's happening this week. (Not all events will match this week's theme, but over the course of the month-long EcoChallenge, events will be offered related to each theme.)

    Instructions: Do one of the following to earn 5 points.

    • Read thisArticle - Snake Oil: How Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future. During the past decade, many people learned about peak oil, took the information seriously, and made extraordinary efforts to reduce their personal petroleum dependency to prepare for the end of cheap oil. Then the oil industry convinced the public that fracking would give us abundant natural gas. This article will explain why the current received wisdom about US fossil fuel abundance is dangerously wrong. Author Richard Heinberg, is a Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost peak oil educators. 
    • Web Site- Seattle U’s Transportation Services. Did you know SU offers a Zipcar discount, has secure, covered bike parking and pays for a cab ride home in case of an emergency for employees who do not drive their car to work? Learn about all the transportation incentives offered by SU. Go to Commuting and read these 4 web pages: Biking at SU, ORCA Transit Pass, Rideshare, Other Commuting Options. 

    Advocate - 10 possible points

    Instructions: Pick 1 of the issues below and spend a few minutes this week learning about it and making your voice heard to earn 10 points.

    • Vote YES on Proposition 1 by April 22. At 400,000 rides each weekday, King County Metro is essential to our economy, our environment, and our communities. If we don't pass Proposition 1, the agency will be forced to make drastic cuts. These cuts will affect 80% of King County bus riders, who will have to walk farther and wait longer to get on more crowded buses. Some of our neighbors will be left completely stranded. Learn more

    • Support a revenue-neutral carbon tax campaign in Washington. A carbon tax is a tax on fossil fuels based on the amount of carbon dioxide released when those fuels are burned. This proposed environmental tax reform would improve Washington’s economy and reduce Washington’s air pollution. The goal is to get an initiative on the November 2016 ballot, which requires voter signatures between March and December of 2015. Sign up to receive periodic campaign email updates from Carbon Washington.

    Share - 5 possible points

    Instructions: Pick 1 of the following actions to earn 5 points.
    • Get together with your teammates for lunch, coffee, happy hour, a short walk around the block, etc., to share what you’ve learned with each other. Ideally it’s all 4 of you. Since your schedules may not align, you can still get 5 points if just 2 or 3 of you can get together.
    • Share one thing you’ve learned with a friend, family member or co-worker (cannot be a team member).
    • Share a photo of you and/or your team taking an action; or post something you’ve learned on the EcoChallenge Facebook page

    Submit Your Scorecard

    Submit your Transportation scorecard by noon on Monday, April 21.