After 10 months of not wearing high heels to work, my feet have stopped hurting. The aches and pains I associated with growing older or sports injuries were in fact the result of wearing terrible (but cute) shoes.
In some ways the same premise applies to our choice of vehicles. We see the smog, witness the chronic asthma rates, and get the air quality alerts, but we always associate that pollution as something outside of our own personal choices. We witnessed what it could be like when people stopped driving cars during quarantine. The thick veil of air pollution lifted over cities around the world and suddenly we could breathe easier and we felt better.
According to many sources, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, vehicles are a leading source of air pollution that contribute to health problems such as, “aggravated asthma, reduced lung capacity, and increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia and bronchitis.” Studies also link air pollution to lung disease and heart attacks.
We know the solutions to foot pain and air quality. Stop wearing high heels AND stop driving cars that use gas. Often when we are faced with facts that we don’t like, we end up talking ourselves into a compromise solution. For example, instead of buying the full electric car, we go for the hybrid model because it doesn’t use as much gas. But that compromise gets you about as far as switching from a 4″ stiletto to a 3″ wedge – the pain isn’t as bad, but it still hurts.
Real and meaningful solutions depend on resisting social pressure to be ‘normal’ and being willing to be a pioneer. Buying a cleaner car, such as an electric vehicle, also means making a large financial investment that benefits more than just yourself, but also your community and the generations that follow us.
It feels strange to be the first one starting a trend when all of our lives we are taught to fit in. But, when you are bold and make smart choices with positive benefits, other women will follow.
Educate yourself and be an ambassador for change. Throw away the feet torture devices, say goodbye to the gas pump, and say hello to the future!