Walk to School Month
October 20, 2014
Organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America, Walk to School Day began in the United States in 1997. Aimed at building awareness and the need for walkable communities, this event now includes 40 countries around the world. With an increase in participation each passing year, this year’s walk to school day included over 4,700 events in the United States alone! Although Walk to School Day was on October 8th, Walk to School Month goes on for the entire month of October so there’s still time to participate!
Walk to School Month is important because it provides an opportunity for students, parents, and teachers to experience the benefits of an alternative form of transportation. Choosing to walk or bike to school benefits the individual, the community, and the surrounding environment. Walking or biking, is not simply an alternative way to travel, but is an opportunity to incorporate physical activity into each day. Regular physical activity helps children develop strong bones, muscles, and joints along with decreasing the risk of obesity. Opting out of driving also decreases traffic congestion, air pollution, and noise pollution which can be disturbing to the community. Choosing to walk also creates a cleaner, greener, healthier environment! Motor vehicles emit a variety of pollutants which are harmful to the community such as hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. The more people walk, the better the air quality will become. Furthermore, cars are currently accounting for one-fifth of the United States’ global warming pollution. By replacing car trips with walking or biking trips, we can reduce our carbon footprint.
Not only is walking good for your health, your community, and the environment, it’s fun! Walking as a form of transportation allows you to appreciate things you might not normally notice while driving. You can experience a bit of nature, hear the birds tweet, feel the breeze in your face, greet neighbors and friends, and talk without the normal distractions of driving. Lastly, walking also brings a sense of joy, independence, and adventure as you travel from destination to destination without the dependence on rising gas prices or a car. So save up on gas money, put the keys down, and choose to walk.