Students at Palo Alto schools learned about the effects of greenhouse-gas emissions and the value of walking or biking to school Wednesday as Earth Month comes to a close.
All 17 Palo Alto schools hosted programs to encourage fun and interesting alternative commutes for "Cool Your Commute Week." Students and their families had the opportunity to sign a pledge promising to walk, bike, ride the bus or carpool to school more often. Some schools — including Palo Verde — used large black balloons to help children visualize The how much carbon dioxide is emitted during a car trip to school.
Penny Ellson, the chair of the Palo Alto PTA traffic-safety committee that organized the events, has been walking with her children to school for years. A lot of parents are surprised by how much they enjoy using alternative modes of transportation for the morning commute, she said.
"Parents discover that they really like walking and biking with their kids," Ellson said. "The kids get exercise, they get their sillies out, and they come to school better prepared to learn."
"Cool Your Commute" week, Ellson hopes, will encourage students and parents to think creatively about how they get to school.
"We're going to ask kids to do the math. If all of us make the choice to drive instead of using alternative modes of transportation, we really have the potential to blot out the sky. The effect that kids and families can have is gigantic," Ellson said.