DonutTree Calculator - Frequently Asked Questions
What is this, and why?
DonutTree calculator is a project we put together for Earth Day 2018. We hear all the time that being more active is good for your health and the environment, and we wanted to get a better idea of just "how good" it can be.
Sometimes, "how good" is a number we can't see or touch. It's hard to understand what that number means, and hard to get excited about it. (You can't hold a pound of CO2, which makes it hard to get excited about reducing your carbon footprint.) We thought it'd be helpful and interesting to learn to say "how good" in a way that's easy to understand.
We think it's really cool that you don't have to be extreme -- using the calculator, you can see that replacing just one short drive with a walk or a ride has real benefits, which add up over time!
We also think there's something magical about taking a walk or ride before eating a donut.
Where did you get these numbers?
Here's a list of our sources and assumptions. Keep in mind that these calculations are estimates - they're meant to give you a general (and fun!) idea of what active transportation can do for you.
- Calorie burn rates were calculated using "Metabolic Equivalent of Task" (MET) values for various activities (Captain Calculator)
- The calorie burn rates assume that you're walking on level ground. They'll be higher if you're going uphill, and lower if you're going downhill. If you're making a round trip, we assume it averages out, but this may not be accurate. Particularly if your trip is uphill both ways.
- A medium-sized donut is about 250 kcal (Nutritionix)
- The amount of CO2 released by burning 1 gallon of E-10 gas is 18.9 lbs (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
- "A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs/year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings." (McAliney, Mike. Arguments for Land Conservation: Documentation and Information Sources for Land Resources Protection, Trust for Public Land, Sacramento, CA, December, 1993, as quoted by Tree for All)
I want to walk or bike more, but it's really hard for me to get anywhere from my home. What can I do?
We feel you! Try some of these ideas:
- Do you work outside of your home, or often visit a particular destination? Check around that area to see if you can transfer any of your errands to a walkable or bikeable location near there.
- Is one of your destinations close to a Metro station? Consider walking, biking, or driving and parking at a Metro station facility near you. From there, take the Metro to complete your trip.
- Do you have several errands in a small area? Instead of driving between each one, consider parking your car at one location, and walking to some of the others.
- Tired of waiting for an empty parking space? Park a little further away and enjoy the walk.
Who are you people?
We're the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition (Pasadena CSC). We're a bunch of folks from Pasadena who got tired of seeing our friends die in traffic crashes. We want Pasadena's streets to be as safe and comfortable as possible, and we're doing everything we can to move our city in that direction.
We're all volunteers and we come from a range of backgrounds. But we love working creatively together, and we all think that Complete Streets would make our city a better place.
What are "Complete Streets"?
Complete Streets are streets that are designed holistically -- so that people of all ages and abilities have a variety of safe and efficient travel options and the local neighborhood is a comfortable place to live. Complete Streets is also a state and national policy that calls for all streets to be designed this way. Some of the guiding principles are:
- Shape the environment so that health is natural by including walking paths, sidewalks, bike lanes, parks, and placing stores and transit where people can easily access them;
- Give everyone a place by integrating sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, islands turn lanes, transit stops, and signage;
- Design with, not against nature by including trees, planters, and water-collecting gardens with native plants;
- Create comfortable neighborhood destinations by including trees, benches, ADA facilities, street art, and parklets; and
- Adapt to local needs by designing sidewalks, signage, and parking to strengthen local businesses; using shade trees to protect people from heat waves; building affordable homes near stores and transit; and making space for urban gardens and gathering spaces.
What kinds of things does Pasadena CSC do?
Lots of things! And you're welcome to join us.
I found a problem with the calculator!
Oops! Please send your bug report to donuts[at]pasadenacsc[dot]org, and we'll take a look. If you're right, we'll be happy to send you a donut.