Thursday, July 31, 2008

Going Back to School in Green Style Part 4: Transportation

We're walkers. We live about three blocks from my kids' elementary school, and anyone on our side of town does not get bused to school. So everyone on our side of town is labeled a "walker" by our school system. But just because we're walkers doesn't mean we always walk. 

Last spring I made a decision that we were going to walk to and from school as often as possible. I probably had a 70% success rate. I'm hoping to improve my stats this upcoming school year. 

The transporting to and from school of our children every year creates massive amounts of pollution from buses and cars. Older buses inefficiently burn diesel fuel, and when they idle while they are waiting for kids to get on or off, they pollute the air around the school building and waste fuel. Parents who drive their students to school often drive short, walkable distances. They can wait in long drop off and pick up lines with their cars idling. 

So how do we make this better? We've got to get our kids to school, right? (I know, I know I could home school, but I'm not gonna). Here are some suggestions.
  • If you're kids are walkers like mine - let them walk. If they are not old enough to walk along, walk with them. You may need to be better at time management. Have the kids backpacks ready the night before. Have their (trashless?) lunches ready the night before, too. Wake everyone up ten minutes earlier.
  • If your kids can ride their bikes to school and you think they are responsible enough to do so, let them do it. Tell them they are going to start doing it.
  • If you do drive them to school, don't idle if you have to wait in line. Turn the car off.
  • Carpool with the neighbors. You take their kids one week, they take yours the next. One less car on the roads.
  • If your kids take the bus, find out if the buses idle outside of the school during drop off or pick up. If they do, talk to the administration about getting them to stop.
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