From the City to the Suburbs, and Back

Crowds in SoHo reduce their carbon footprints as they walk along Spring Street and Broadway.

By Pooja Shah

I was born in Queens, New York and lived there for the first decade of my life. Although there are many things I have forgotten, one vivid picture remains in my mind: walking everywhere. I remember walking to school, to my friend’s house, to the grocery store, to the movies, and so on. I loved walking with my family: my brother and I always raced on the sidewalk and walking outside was an incredible joy.

Then we moved to Parsippany, New Jersey- as suburban a place as you can get. I mean, people drive everywhere. Many roads don’t even have sidewalks or some have sidewalks that just stop in the middle of grass. I had to beg my parents to drive me anywhere I wanted to go and it was a hassle. I missed being able to walk everywhere.

Last year, I started school in Washington D.C., and I loved being able to walk anywhere I wanted to again, without having to ask for permission or wait for a ride. The city is beautiful: full of people and life.

After interning at the EPA back in Manhattan for almost a month now, I’ve come to realize that there are even more benefits to walking. Aside from the great exercise, walking also significantly reduces our carbon footprint. So here’s my challenge to you: walk to at least one nearby place that you normally drive to and tell us about it below!

About the Author: Pooja Shah is a Public Affairs Summer Intern for EPA Region 2. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Economics at George Washington University.