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back to school

Photo courtesy of Emma Easley Darden

Green your Way to School by brenna burke Our grandparents, and many of our parents, never would have thought about how to “green our way to school.” They likely would never have thought much about how to make any of the back to school experience more eco-friendly. As we enter the back to school season once more, it is clear we need to consider our impact and start greening our childrens’ way to school.

Get Out There and Walk Walking to school used to be the norm, but over time the number of students who walk to school has been reduced significantly. National Walk to School Day began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities and to promote the benefits of walking to school. This year we can celebrate National Walk to School Day on October 3, 2012. Why do we need a National Walk to School Day? • Currently only 13% of children K-8 walk or bike to school. • Only 35% of children who live within one mile of school walk or bike just once a week. • About 25% of morning traffic is parents taking their children to school.

The Magic School Bus Using the school bus on a regular basis is another good option for those days when walking and biking isn’t feasible. We are lucky 8 | NW Kids Magazine

to live in an area that strives to make school buses as eco-friendly as possible. Why Ride the School Bus? • Less than 50% of children ride the school bus. • Current statistics report that a child is 13 times safer in a school bus than in a car. • The total U. S. savings in fuel cost per year by students riding school buses is $6,097,028,413. Every family that sends their child to school on the bus reduces one fewer car on the road. If you have ever been near a school at the start or end time, that can be a huge difference in traffic and emissions, not to mention a reduction in exposure to traffic pollution. Walking to school promotes physical activity, a cleaner environment, community benefits, and perhaps counterintuitively to some, greater safety. The National Walk to School website has lots of resources for how to plan a great event and how to keep it going throughout the school year. Visit walkbiketoschool.org for more information. Brenna Burke is a mama of three trying to live a green life, pursue greater health and well-being for her family and the planet, and teach her children well, all while always seeking the best tips, insight, and fun for those wanting to go a little greener. Brenna blogs at almostallthetruth.com

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