Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day. Every year, Earth Day reminds me of all the things I have not done to help save the planet. This year, I am proud to report, is different — although I cannot say that my intentions are purely altruistic.

I haven’t always been as environmentally conscious as I probably should be. I’m not proud to admit it, but I can recall several occasions on which I have driven my car three or four blocks simply to avoid walking in the cold.

A few blocks might not seem like much, but the cumulative effect over several years represents not only a large environmental impact, but also a waste of resources.

The more the price of gas creeps up in Missoula and across the country, the more I cringe at the thought of ever having wasted a single drop. If there is one positive thing that has come from this year’s unprecedented rise in the cost of filling up, it is that people are paying more attention to their driving habits.

A few years ago, I would not have thought twice about making a run to the grocery store for an item or two. Now, unless it is absolutely imperative that I have a certain product, I will improvise or go without. The more my car sits in the driveway, the more money I am saving — and, as a bonus, the more I am contributing to the reduction of emissions.

On a side note, I was surprised to read a recent report saying that high gas prices won’t stop tourists from visiting Montana this summer. That may be true, but the rising cost of fuel will definitely affect my travel plans for the summer, and likely beyond.

Even if I’m just traveling to the store for a bottle of mustard powder.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.