According to Sustainable UF’s transportation website, more than a quarter of the trips made by car in the U.S. are a mile or less. If more Americans made the effort to go this distance by foot (or by bicycle), it would help decrease greenhouse gas emissions, as well as improve those individuals’ overall health.

Walking and biking aren’t the only ways people can get around without driving. Gainesville offers an array of transportation options that are more eco-friendly than driving a car.

Being aware of transportation options is the first step to sustainability, said Ashley Pennington, the outreach coordinator for Sustainable UF.

Sustainability doesn’t have to be a chore. “Figure out what resonates with you,” Pennington said.

The goal of Sustainable UF, and many other environmental organizations, is to inspire individuals to become involved in environmental consciousness in a way that makes sense to them, Pennington said.

Calin Wilson, a sophomore advertising major at UF, makes his 15-minute commute from his apartment complex to class the good, old-fashioned way.

“I enjoy my walks in the morning,” Wilson said.

Another of Gainesville’s many options is Zipcar. This car-sharing program provides the public with a rental car that is parked at multiple locations around UF. Once registered, individuals receive a Zipcard that becomes a key for any of the cars.

Since individuals can rent a car on an as-needed basis, they can enjoy the benefits of a car without the monthly costs of car upkeep. According to Zipcar’s green benefits web page, every Zipcar takes at least 15 personally-owned cars off the road. This saves an estimated 32 million gallons of crude oil per year.

Gainesville’s bus system is another alternative to driving. Many of the buses are specifically routed to student apartment complexes and the UF and Santa Fe campuses to encourage students to use the system more. Plus, both Santa Fe College and UF students ride for free with a student ID.

Working toward a more sustainable world is rooted at an individual level. So this year, find a sustainable new year’s resolution that works for your life. And collectively, “a small behavior can have a tremendous impact,” Pennington said.

Wondering what effect the food you eat has on greenhouse gas emissions? Check out this story for more info.