Eco reasons to walk to school
According to the Office for National Statistics, the proportion of children taking a car to school went from 27% to 43% between 1991 and 2008. That might not seem like a lot, but it has a significant impact on our lives and that of our planet. So what can walking to school do for you?
- It saves money
- It’s less harmful for the environment
- It’s better for your health
- You get to spend quality time with your child
Driving means petrol, and petrol means that money comes out of your pocket. The average cost, according to the AA, is 132.18p per litre of petrol and 137.26p for diesel, which can mean a hefty price tag every time you need to fill up at the pump.
To cut costs, driving only when absolutely necessary is the answer, and this includes the school run. Walking doesn’t cost a thing, and walking to school can save you £400 per year on fuel costs.
Almost everything, from growing food to watching a DVD, has a carbon footprint, and one of the biggest footprints is held by road transport. 22% of the UK’s CO2 emissions come from road transport, and the oil industry that fuels those vehicles accounts for 40% of the planet’s global warming emissions (along with coal). Oil is also a finite resource, drilling has many dangers such as pipe leakage, and transporting oil is extremely risky as an oil spill, like the one BP had in 2010, has staggering consequences on the environment. Avoiding using petroleum and petroleum-based products is the best way to help lessen our dependence on oil, and walking is a great step.
Walking has a carbon footprint of zero, and if one person switches road travel of less than 2km to walking, five times a week, they can reduce their carbon footprint by 86kg per year.
Obesity is one of our primary health concerns, as it can lead to other problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. According to the NHS, 1 out of 7 children can be classified as obese, and according to the organization Living Streets, children who generally travel to school by motorized transport are more likely to be overweight by age five than those who walk or ride a bike.
On average we require 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and walking to school can help both you and your child achieve this goal. Walking to school also instills good habits in your children, which will make them more inclined to be active as adults.
Safety is a huge issue for parents, and it is a major reason why many choose to drive their children to school. Walking to school with your child ensures that they are safe, and allows for more parent-child bonding. It gives you a chance to chat about their classes, allows you to teach your child road safety skills which will help them to walk securely on their own and develop their independence, as well as improving their social skills.
84% of children who walk to school meet up with friends along the way, which allows them to learn to socialize in settings outside school and the home. It also gives them a greater appreciation of their neighbourhood and of being outdoors, which will hopefully lead to them spending more time in nature and less time in front of the TV!
Photography: Ivy Dawned @Flickr