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Cool School Commutes for Earth Day

Original post made by going green with kids, Evergreen Park, on Apr 19, 2008

Found this item on "Cool School Commutes" in Frank's Weekly Memo. Anyone have any more information on what's going on at your kids' schools? I'm a parent worried about the future of our planet, especially when I see all the big SUVs idling around our schools at drop off and pick up time.

Next week at PAUSD elementary and middle schools, Earth Day celebrations
will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of vehicles used to drive students to and from school each day. Students and families will have the opportunity to pledge to choose alternative modes of transportation like walking, biking, riding the bus or carpooling for their school commute at least once a week.

At many schools, large black balloons will illustrate the volume of greenhouse gases emitted in a typical daily roundtrip school commute. The purpose is to encourage creative family and school community discussions about how to leave the car at home or share the ride more often.

Comments (6)

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2008 at 7:01 pm

We have bike to school days in the fall. Our family walks or bikes to school every day, that is almost 6 miles round trip for my high schooler.

This is a very busy time of year for school volunteers. Do we really need another effort at our schools?

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Posted by happy earth day
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2008 at 12:29 am

It's great that for some Palo Alto families every day is Earth Day. But far too many parents drive their kids not only to school but everywhere. And they're in a big hurry, impatient at all the other drivers in front of them. Cutting in line, dropping off their kids in unsafe places, doing u-turns in front of the school with kids in the bike lane.

Some folks just don't get that for the survival of our planet, we each have to make some major changes in our overly-affluent lives. One of them is realizing the cost of driving -- not just the cost of fueling the automobile, but the senseless belching of CO2 caused by round trip commutes of 2 (or max 6) miles. Just thinking outside the car more often is a big step that helps people get it.

If you haven't calculated your family's carbon footprint yet, why not take a few minutes in honor of Earth Day and see which of your activities generate the most CO2?
Web Link

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Posted by give it a rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2008 at 8:58 am

happy earth day - do you work for a living. Its easy to fault drivers for driving when you don't have to drive somewhere.

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Posted by Tom
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2008 at 9:22 am

Can't wait till this day is over.

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Posted by happy earth day
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2008 at 10:45 am

Why is it that "give it a rest" and Tom feel so threatened by a suggestion to consider options and calculate their household's carbon footprint (and the amount that driving cars everywhere contributes to that footprint)?

My comments were all about encouraging parents to make conscious choices and to choose other alternatives ("think outside the car") when possible.

And yes, I do work for a living. But when we started walking and biking with our children, we discovered that it actually took less time to walk 3/4 of a mile to the elementary school than it did to drive and sit in the backup. And it was a great way to connect with other families in the neighborhood. We are not alone in this "aha!" experience.

Of course, for some families walking and biking to school is not viable, for a variety of reasons. Maybe "give it a rest" feels that he/she has considered the options and still concludes that they have "no choice" but to drive. So be it.

My negative comments were not about the decision to drive but about the impatience and downright unsafe driving behavior that's evident right before the bell rings in the morning.

Please, even if you scoff at global warming or at the idea that incorporating physical activity into everyday activity builds a healthy lifestyle for our young people, just remember, every child walking or biking to school means one less car in your way. Please drive friendly.

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Posted by give it a rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2008 at 11:18 am

Well my kids are walked to school 5 days a week, and the older one rides her bike five days a week. Additionally, at considerable expense to my family I just installed new energy efficient windows, doors, insulation, roof, water heater, furnace, flourescent lighting, dimmers, motion sensors, (etcetcetc). So happy earth day - perhaps you should consider that its your smug self riteous holier than thou tone that is the issue here, and not others ability to make good (and difficult) decisions about their 'carbon footprint' and conservation. People are doing what they can, and they don't need you to preach and scold (like they've never heard it before.) Next time you worry about other people's 'overly affluent' lives, maybe you should worry more about getting the whole story before you jump to conclusions.

And driving etiquette is a diffent issue. Start a new thread if you want to talk about unsafe and congested driving around our schools. But besides rude and stupid driving behaviors,

The school district and the city bear a good deal of responsibility here for failing to consider traffic impacts when they create 'choice' schools - which are commuter schools - rather than neighborhood schools. And did the city collect developer fees to fund the building of a new elementary school anywhere near any of these fabulous dense housing projects??? Where?

By the way Happy - where does your kid go school? Ohlone? Hoover? SI? MI? Its about a 25% or more chance that he/she does, since about 25% or more of the kids in PAUSD are part of one of the 'choice' programs, and not in neighborhood schools, which would reduce traffic across our city.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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