Have you thought about New Year’s Resolutions? Well, here are a few suggestions:
1. Get fit and save money: no need to buy gym membership; just fit walking and maybe cycling into your daily routine. Maybe try not driving around looking for absolutely the closest parking spot to where you’re going? If you’re heading less than a mile up the road on a sunny winter’s day, why not walk? Or, if you’re going a little further, use pedal power? Consider too that cars aren’t economical for short trips: until the engine is warm, it guzzles fuel.
2. Try the bus or train: find out if it’s as bad as you thought! Use Park & Ride (pre-register online to avoid the dreaded ticket machines!) Go somewhere by train: at weekends, fares can be surprisingly cheap – even for a group. If you have a bus service, give it a go. If you have a good experience, you’ve found a useful – if only occasional – alternative to driving. If you have a bad experience, you’ll have a clearer idea of what needs improving. See resolutions 4 & 5 for what to do next.
3. Take an active interest in the mayoral elections: this time it matters. Yes, devolution is a government ruse to transfer power away from local authorities, but frankly the status quo ain’t working. A dose of benign dictatorship may be just what’s needed. So, be sure to vote on 4 May 2017, but vote for a candidate not a party. Make time to read the manifestoes and challenge candidates at hustings. Choose someone who stands a real chance of making a difference.
4. Get involved in the community: your local knowledge and effort can make a difference if it’s co-ordinated with others. Your parish council, residents association, Smarter Cambridge Transport, Camcycle, Cambridge Past, Present & Future all need volunteers and supporters. In the words of Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
5. Spread the word: one person alone rarely makes a difference. But influence ten other people to do any of the above, and you can start a chain reaction. Good habits go viral!
This article was first published in the Cambridge Independent on 28 December 2016.