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How Can You Help Your Child's School Go Green?

One of the easiest ways to improve your school's impact on the environment, even if you don't have support within the school system, is to promote eco-friendly transportation practices. Begin by encouraging your children and others to use either public transportation or their own legs.

Organize a carpool system — not just a single carpool. Do some research to determine the major neighborhoods where the school's children live. Organize a car pool from a central location in each of those neighborhoods. The more parents who are willing to help out, the fewer trips any individual parent will have to make.

If your city provides bus transportation for students, make sure the school asks the bus drivers to minimize idling time, to limit auto emissions while not en route.

If you want kids to walk, work with teachers to limit the number of books and supplies children have to carry home. When buying school clothes or designing school uniforms, keep in mind that children should be able to walk or ride a bike to school in them. For small children who live within walking distance of their school, organize walking carpools. A walking carpool is just like a regular carpool, except that instead of piling kids into one car, one parent walks a group of neighborhood children to school each day. Older kids can probably walk or bike to school on their own, but you should teach travel safety to all children. If even older students can't safely walk to school, work with city authorities to develop safer walking/cycling routes to and from schools.

It's also important that students who bike to school have a secure place to store their bicycles, so that they won't have to worry about theft during the school day. To facilitate this, encourage the school to build a bicycle shed, or volunteer to build one with other parents.



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