Posts Tagged ‘alternative transportation’

Walk to School Month – October 2009

When I was a kid growing up in southern Ontario, walking to school was not a choice but a requirement. Our family did not own a car.  My mother commuted to work in the city while my siblings and I braved the elements, be it snow, rain, sleet or extreme heat. We often lived far from our school, and the long walk would be  a form of meditation, if not endurance and triumph upon our arrival at school.

We would see other kids getting rides from their parents, and the yellow school buses trucked in a few hundred other kids from far out in the country as well.  Today parents driving their children to school seems to be  the most popular option.

When my son started school seven years ago I was amazed by the line up of cars at his school. Most were idling, dropping off the kiddies, or diligently lined up at the school at 3PM to pluck up their precious kids and drive them to soccer or piano lessons.  Had they not heard that it is bad for the environment to leave the car running while waiting for little Suzie or Billy? Do they all live so far away that they needed to bring the car to get the kids? Every day?

Recent legislation has tried to combat this problem with anti-idling by-laws. This is a step in the right direction.

To go even further, many communities around the world have now adopted the walk to school week, month,  or even a permanent walking school bus.  With kids and parents walking to school together everyone gets a few minutes of fresh air and exercise before being locked up all day in buildings.

Last week in the lower mainland, was walk to school week. All public transit was free for elementary and secondary school students! This encourages students to find their way to school with no need for a ride from parents, this option lets kids find an alternative and feel some independence.

06 16 09 car free day

Public transit was my first means of transportation.  It  remains one of the main ways my family gets around, along with walking and biking.  I am  still car free today.

I encourage everyone to celebrate walk to school week any way you can. Get out and walk with your kids to school, the library or soccer field. Take public transit to the movies or art gallery. Bike to the river or corner store.  Being active and reducing our reliance on cars is the key to lowering our personal impact and carbon footprint.  Each step you take makes a difference.

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delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at