Viridorari is an environmentally focused blog. The mission of Viridorari is to help you incorporate healthier, "greener" habits into your life, to benefit you, the people around you, and the environment.

Viridorari is on Twitter! Follow this blog with a mission to be up to date with what's new on Viridorari and the world of environmental activists @viridorari

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Weekly Green Challenge: Ride Your Bike

For Green Challenge #10, I asked viewers to plant a tree, whether they went out and bought one or transplanted a sapling to a more hospitable area (i.e., from a garden to the edge of a forest). Well, Viridorari viewer Bruno sent in a picture of the tree he and his family planted! Together, they went out and selected a Colorado spruce to commemorate his graduation from high school, and now the tree has a permanent home in their front yard.
Picture courtesy of Bruno

If you have planted a tree recently, email me a photo of your tree at and I will feature it on the next Green Challenge!

In last week’s Harsh Facts about car dependence, one of the facts was:

Americans now use motor vehicles for more than ninety percent of their daily trips. Keep in mind that a quarter of all car journeys are less than two miles.

This week, I want you to change that. Think of all the places you drive to that are two miles away or less. For me, that would be the gas station down the road from my house. We visit there frequently for things like toilet paper and dog food and soda when we’re not ready to go for a full grocery shopping trip.

So, throughout this week, instead of driving to these nearby locations (two miles away or less), ride your bike. If you really want to challenge yourself, increase the distance to four or five miles. Not only will riding your bike instead of driving your car be gentler on the environment; it’s healthier for you too. If you’re falling behind on your exercise, incorporating some bike rides into your schedule is an easy and fun way to make up for it. Hopefully at the conclusion of this week you’ll decide to continue replacing your car with your bike for short distance trips.

If after this week you decide to get serious about your bike riding, consider investing in a basket for your bike, if you haven’t already. Having a basket will allow you to carry items back and forth on your trips and even make small grocery trips. Also, if you want to purchase a new bike, whether it’s because you don’t have one or you want one that suits you better, consider buying a used bicycle. Not only will it be cheaper than a new one, but reusing items, whether it be clothing, books, or modes of transportation, is always good for the environment.

When sharing the road with cars, be sure to follow these simple safety tips to reduce your chances of a collision:

  • Do not wear headphones while riding so you can listen for cars.
  • Except when signaling, keep both hands on the bars to maximize your control.
  • Keep both feet on the pedals.
  • Always ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against traffic.
  • When riding in a group, stay in a single file line.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing and install reflectors or lights on your bike. Make sure that cars can see you.
  • Use correct hand signals.
  • Before entering a roadway, look left, look right, and then left again.
  • Avoid riding at twilight or in the dark, especially on narrow roads with speed limits higher than thirty five miles an hour.

Also, check out these five reasons for why you should be riding your bike more often.

If you live in a city, check and see if your city supports a bike share program. While these are common in Europe, they are just starting to become more popular in the United States. New York City recently implemented a bike share program which is taking off with tremendous and unexpected success. To learn more about New York City’s new program, read this brief article. Chicago will also be implementing a bike share program, hoping to learn from NYC’s mistakes (check out this article). If your city doesn’t have a bike share program and you think it would benefit from one, write to or meet with your mayor and ask for one. Be sure to discuss all the many benefits of bicycling, both for the health of people and the environment. Quote the unexpected success of New York City’s program, and the revenue that memberships bring in. As always, encourage your family and friends to send a letter as well (power in numbers). If you want help writing a business letter, email me at

A NYC Citibike station.

I hope you enjoy riding your bike this week! Consider keeping a journal. Write down all the trips you take and their length, and at the end of the week you can calculate your gas savings. Also, write about how your bike rides make you feel. Are they fulfilling? Does the exercise make you happy? Do you feel good about yourself? I already took one ride today, and it was wonderful to get outside and enjoy the summer weather. I plan on bringing my bike to college with me and using it as my main mode of transportation.

As always, good luck, and please share your Green Challenge experiences with Viridorari. Email me at

Animal of the Month Update
Today is the Ganges shark’s last day as Viridorari’s Animal of the Month. I will be announcing a new animal on Monday.
Pollution in the Ganges River, home of our Animal of the Month.

    In yesterday’s post, I introduced the Shark Research Institute as a potential organization to support to promote shark conservation. I’d like to provide information about one more organization before the month of June is out. I hope you will consider donating in some way to one of these organizations for the sake of shark conservation.

Picture courtesy of: 

    The Shark Trust, based in the United Kingdom, was founded in 1997. Since then, The Shark Trust has made a significant impact on shark conversation, particularly by fighting the shark fin trade. Such actions include the adoption of a ban on shark finning in European waters, the removal of shark fin products from Tesco stores in Thailand, and several domestic policy decisions, including the protection of the Basking shark and the Angelshark. Click here to see the Shark Trust’s numerous future conservation goals. As part of their commitment to provide public education about sharks, the organization provides ample information about sharks on their website, which you can view here.

    The Shark Trust works to further shark conservation using scientific and pragmatic approaches. Their projects raise awareness about threats to sharks and allows the gathering of vital data that helps them to better understand, manage, and protect these key ocean predators. Their work also directly impacts the overall health of Earth’s oceans. The trust currently has several ongoing projects, all of which you can view here. An example of one is the Whale Shark Project. The Shark Trust is working together with Project Aware to encourage “water users” (divers, swimmers, boaters, etc.) around the world to submit pictures of their whale shark encounters and sightings. All whale sharks have unique markings on their skin, both genetic and acquired, that can allow scientists to identify an individual from a single photo. Photo submissions will help scientists to re-identify individuals, make inferences on geographic movements over time, learn more about migration, population, behaviors, and maturation, and potentially identify new individuals.

    Along with their projects, the Shark Trust is also undertaking three campaigns, which involve lobbying European and international governments and becoming directly involved with stakeholders, divers, yachtsmen, and the general public. These campaigns include Stop Shark Finning to halt the cruel practice of killing sharks only for their fins, European Shark Week to raise awareness for shark conservation, and Shark Alliance to improve European fishing policies for the benefit of sharks. You can read about these three campaigns here.

    There are several ways that you can support the Shark Trust, the first being a direct donation, which can be done here. The organization also offers a range of annual membership options, which you can view here. For the Shark Trust’s adoption program, you can pick from three shark species: the basking shark, the white shark, or the whale shark. The money from your adoption will support a shark research group. The adoption pack you will receive will include a personalized certificate, factsheets on your chosen research project, a picture of your chosen shark, a poster, a bumper sticker, and a set of eight post cards. Like many organizations, the Shark Trust encourages you to conduct fundraising. Learn more about fundraising opportunities here. The Shark Trust is also in need of volunteers: they have in-house positions available, they need help with outreach events, and if you tell them why you love sharks, they may post your article online. These are only a few of the various volunteering opportunities. View them all here. To view all of the ways you can support the Shark Trust, click here.

    Thank you for reading about the Ganges shark this month. Little is known about this rare river shark, and much research is needed in the near future in order to understand it better and to help conserve it. Along with donating to organizations like the Shark Research Institute and the Shark Trust, please consider writing to them and expressing the need for greater research of the Ganges shark and other rare river shark species.

    Is there an endangered animal that you are passionate about? Email me at or tweet @Viridorari to give me suggestions for Animals of the Month. Also, consider being a Guest Writer, and write about your animal for Viridorari.     


No comments:

Post a Comment