In Bicycling, Climate Change, Public Health, Safe Routes, Safe Routes to School, Transportation & Land Use, Walking

Every year on April 22 we celebrate Earth Day. The event is getting bigger every year, including a significant youth movement. Who hasn’t heard of Greta Thunberg and her pleas for climate action? Many more young people have joined her to urge for climate change action. Taking civic action can include taking the pledge to support climate change action, committing to use less plastic, adopting a plant-based diet, planting a tree, becoming a citizen scientist, or trying any other simple green act.  

And here is one simple Earth friendly act that can help reduce CO2—walking. Encourage walking while engaging youngsters in a little science experiment by comparing how much CO2 they saved and how many miles they walked– using the New Jersey Walking School Bus App to organize walks. You can organize walks to or from school with neighborhood children or friends, organize bike rides to or from school, or use any type of non-motorized transportation.  The app calculates the CO2 saved for each individual and the whole group. By using the Greater Mercer TMA Walking School Bus App to organize walks to or from school during the “Step into Spring. Ready, Set, Win!” campaign, you can also win prizes. 

Download the app, create an account, and organize walks, it is that simple. And yes, you and your team will get rewarded for your efforts. For each completed walk (or bike ride) to or from school from April to June 1st, 2021 each parent and /or student will automatically receive one contest entry. One walking school bus will be drawn at the end of the contest and receive for the group, a $100 gift card to share (think pizza/ice cream party!), reflective umbrellas for the parents and reflective drawstring backpacks for students. Additionally, the school of the winning walking school bus will receive $250 to be used for safe walking and biking programs. 

You can learn more about participation rules here.  

To recap, you can validate young people’s interest for climate action and help them take steps to be green by skipping the drive to school and organizing a walking school bus, bike train, or any other non-motorized option. You can measure your impact by using the Walking School Bus app which shows you how many miles you walked and how much CO2 you saved. Learn how to download and use the app here. 

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