The Case for Hot Girl Walks To Save the Planet
Swapping even some of our short drives for a self-care stroll could majorly cut down on carbon emissions.
In the court of public opinion (aka the internet), if I had to plead my case for hot girl walks being good for not just you, but the environment, I’d feel as confident doing so as Gwyneth Paltrow sitting in front of a jury of her peers.
For starters, there are the many physical benefits associated with the practice, like helping you live longer and reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases, NBD. But did you know that swapping your short commutes in the car for these self-care strolls could not just help save your sanity, but also help save the planet? Let’s just say that all the pretty* girls walk like this.
Despite the name, you do not, in fact, need to identify as any particular gender in order to enjoy walking like a hot girl. All you need is to embody the energy as described by hot girl walk creator Mia Lind: “The hot girl walk is a four-mile, outdoor walk that builds confidence through movement, serving as a dedicated time for you,” she says, emphasizing the you. “During a hot girl walk, you focus on three things: gratitude, goals, and confidence.”
During a hot girl walk, you focus on three things: gratitude, goals, and confidence.—Mia Lind
It may seem hyperbolic to declare that these TikTok trendy hot girl walks could “save the planet.” But when you consider that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) names transportation as the number-one generator of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., I don’t sound like I’m so full of hot, carbon-dioxide-filled air, do I?
Right now, Americans take an average of four car trips daily, totaling a whopping collective 1.1 billion rides every 24 hours. But here’s the thing: According to the Federal Highway Administration, almost a quarter of those trips are less than a mile long, and 45 percent are under three miles, putting them in prime hot girl walking territory.
Opting to hoof it more and drive less can reduce your carbon footprint significantly. Sure, you will burn calories that need to be replaced by eating more food, which itself takes greenhouse gasses to produce and transport. But a study conducted by the environmental research organization Pacific Institute found that walking 1.5 miles created less than a quarter of the carbon emissions as driving the same distance—and that’s taking into account your post-walk snack.
Researchers found that driving that far would generate 1,000 grams of CO2, while walking the same distance generates 230 grams. To put that into perspective, the average cup of coffee has a carbon footprint of about 50 grams of CO2, so you could theoretically consume about 17 more cups for the same amount of carbon if you opted to walk that mile and a half instead of take a car.
What’s more, the EPA says Americans could collectively save $900 million in car costs (including $575 million in fuel alone)—and the CO2 equivalent of taking 400,000 cars off the road—by swapping just half of our short drives (the ones that are less than a mile) for walks.
Even though she wasn’t initially considering the environmental impact when she created the hot girl walk, Lind, who lives in Los Angeles (arguably one of the least walkable cities in the country) says she’s noticed her own car usage has dropped for little errands she’d normally drive for. Another unexpected side effect? “Spending more time outside also made me more aware of the effects of carbon emissions on our planet,” she says. Lind recently teamed up with the fitness app Strava to start turning hot girl walks into a global challenge to raise money for charity; she hopes to do more to support climate activism in the future, and this April Strava is collectively asking its community to divert enough vehicle trips to circle the globe 100 times by walking, running, or cycling instead.
I realize that there are some limits to the argument I’m making here that would certainly come up in a cross examination. Walking isn’t an option for everyone (though you could reap the same environmental benefits from riding a bike, or making the trip in a wheelchair, if those are options available to you). Not all places even have sidewalks or streetscapes that are conducive to walking. And unless you are a member of the postal service, you’re unlikely to hoof it in inclement weather—understandable.
These are all valid, but I would conjecture that the reason most people who are able to walk don’t is because they think taking a car will be faster. Fight me. A lot of times, though, driving isn’t all that much faster. How often have you hopped in the car to head to the pharmacy because Google Maps tells you it’ll only take six minutes to get there, compared to 12 minutes walking, only to spend another 10 minutes driving around looking for a parking spot? You do the math. I rest my case.
* Read: eco-conscious