Let the kids walk, bike or take a ‘walking school bus’

A great cartoon makes us chuckle even as it points out an uncomfortable truth – as does this one, by Ian Lockwood, an expert in sustainable transportation by day and a cartoonist by night.

Carpool

Transportation is a huge part of most people’s footprint.  When it comes to driving our kids to school, another uncomfortable truth is that the favour we’re trying to do for them pales in comparison to the environmental damage we’re inflicting upon their generation.  Plus distracted parents can be downright hazardous as they hurry in and out of the school parking lot.

So what to do?

  • If there’s a school bus, let the kids take it
  • Do a rational assessment of risks, and let kids walk or bike whenever possible; outfit them with the clothes they need for inclement weather
  • Consider organizing a ‘walking school bus’ in your neighbourhood, where a group of students accompanied by one adult (or an older student living near the origin of the route) walk to school and are joined by more and more students as they near the school; it could be as simple as making one phone call
  • Consider public transportation where it is available; safe, with well-trained operators
  • If driving is unavoidable, carpool: every shared ride is one less car on the road or congesting the schoolyard
  • In all cases, help your kids develop solid safety habits – habits that will serve them well far beyond school years.
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Help eliminate trash at school

September 18, 2013

Reduce packaging waste with reusable containers

September 18, 2013

Food packaging is a big part of school waste streams:
• Many materials used in food packaging are not very recyclable: foil wrappers; waxed liners, papers and cardboard; plastic/paper blends that are impossible to separate; and more
• Even packaging materials that are recyclable (like plastic sandwich bags) are rarely actually recycled, due to lack of sorting facilities or recycling programs, or because of issues of cleanliness
• Individually packaged single portions are especially trash-intensive

So what to do?  You can reduce lunch trash AND lunch costs by investing in:
• A few reusable plastic containers (it’s wise to forego the cheap ones and invest in top quality)
• A spork, a reusable utensil that is a combination spoon-fork (widely available at sporting and department stores)
• A reusable lunch box

The trash reduction is obvious; and you can save money when you buy larger portions and split them at home (for example, yogurt).

For many more tips for a better, greener back-to-school, visit the blog of Tovah Paglaro, the David Suzuki Foundation’s Queen of Green.