Reducing our most glaring environmental transgression

September 4, 2012

Choose a better way to get the kids to school

For most of us, driving is one of the biggest parts of our carbon footprint.  And until we have electric vehicles charged by wind or solar power, it’s pretty much impossible to make driving ‘green’ or sustainable.  Every tank of gas equals another 100 KG or more of greenhouse gases emitted.

School’s in this week, and that means many parents will likely fall back into the routine of driving the kids to school – even though most live near enough to walk or bike, or there’s a school bus to collect them.  The US National Highway Traffic Administration estimates that 20-30% of morning rush hour traffic is people driving their kids to school.  At my son’s elementary school last year, the principal counted over 100 vehicles on an average morning – and the school has just 300 students.

Unfortunately, by driving our kids to school, we contribute to inactivity and obesity; we make the streets more dangerous by adding traffic; we waste a fortune in fuel; and we produce tonnes and tonnes of unnecessary greenhouse gases.

As a parent myself, I can appreciate that some parents may be uneasy about letting their little ones walk or bike.  But there are many creative ways – such as a ‘walking school bus’ – to make the trip safe, healthy, fun and eco-friendly.  Check out http://www.saferoutestoschool.ca/ for lots of ideas and resources.

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One Response to “Reducing our most glaring environmental transgression”

  1. It’s a retired grade school teacher writing this.
    Why do school buses have to pull up to the front door of the school building– imagine how the main hall smells! or park, motor idling, by the school yard – where the kids rush the fence to say Hi to their buddies and inhale the fumes.
    Parents who are concerned about air quality for their children and who live too far for children to walk to school can ask that bus drivers park 2 blocks from the school building, turn off their motors and observe that all children form ‘walking buses’ to the school yard.
    Better for the people in the school yard, better for the children walking from the bus, better for costs like fuel consumption and asthma.

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