Sebastian Gonzalez

Commuting for a Greener Future

Climate justice has always been important to me, so I when Teen-JUST-US assigned me to Bikes Not Bombs for my internship I was ecstatic. I had ridden in one of their Bike-A-Thon fundraiser events years before, and I was very excited to see how their internal operations worked.

I was going to be editing promotional videos to attract riders for their next Bike-A-Thon, which was very cool because I already knew how to use editing software, and I was going to be doing it in their Hub in Jamaica Plain, which was not so cool because to get there, I would have to commute on Boston’s public transit system for about an hour and fifteen minutes each day.

I’ve always been interested in trains; ever since I was a kid and watching Thomas the Train Engine or Dinosaur Train. When my parents took me to the Science Museum, I wanted us to take the commuter rail, and my dad wanted to just drive. He was motivated by the ticket price/gas price ratio, and I was motivated by the Rule of Cool.

Recently (2020 general election) I was doing research about climate change causes, effects, and fixes. Apparently, trains were way better than cars for the environment. Who knew? My family was already a one car household, and I didn’t have a driver’s license, so we decided that the best way for me to get to work was via the MBTA (Boston’s rail network).

Taking the train every day is far less glamorous than I expected it to be, probably because I was taking it during rush hour when all the trains were packed. During the course of my internship, trains were delayed, late, broken in one way or another, or catching fire. Every single day, I saw local news stories about how bad the trains were.

With my dual experience of working at Bikes Not Bombs and actually taking the T, I realized that the problem wasn’t the fault of the MBTA, but the fault of everyone who made it worse by not giving it a big enough budget. The T is only taken by people who have no other option. If we made it better, then everything would be awesome.

Sebastian Gonzalez
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