With back-to-school chaos a few weeks behind us and a petrol crisis gripping the nation, what better time to reflect upon the environmental impact of the school run.
We all know the personal implications and impacts the school run has on people’s personal lives. Overcrowding at the gates, bad parking, angry residents, but when you look at the school run on a national scale, the numbers may well surprise you.
Did you know that, despite spending only 40% of their day at school, children will take in 60% of their delay consumption of air pollution during this time? The problem is particularly prevalent in cities, with children in London exposed to 5 times more air pollution on the school run than children across the rest of England.
We’re not here to guilt trip and lecture parents about why they shouldn’t drive, but the fact remains that nearly a quarter of schools are currently in areas of unsafe levels of air pollution. Aside from impact on young lungs, scientists are now linking air pollution with increasing cognitive issues such as ADHD.
What can we do to help?
1. Alternative transport options such as cycling or walking is not only good for the environment but also your health. Using a car every day to ferry kids to and from school has a large impact on the environment, particularly when engines are left running at the school gates whilst parents wait for their children.
2. You may feel that jumping on a bike or dragging reluctant children along the road to school is not something that you are prepared to do five times a week. If, cycling every day is an unreasonable request, just swapping out the drive a couple of times per week can have a positive positive environmental impact. With an average car emitted 280g of CO2 per mile, two fewer school runs would mean your household would be emitting over 1,700g of CO2 less per week than it had been - that's nearly 70,000g per year!
3. Car shares can also make a difference - not simply to the environment. Your daily juggle could be greatly eased by asking another parent to collect your child on a couple of days a week. Of course, you can return the favour on the days when you are making the trip to the school gate. You can use the
Fetching app for this, as it automatically tells the school about who will be collecting that day. It goes without saying that one parent collecting two households worth of children from school cuts their combined emissions by nearly half. That's without easing the inevitable congestion that the school run creates.
A great example of where reducing school run congestion has been a success is in Copenhagen. Their government prioritised greener ways for commuting within the city by increasing bike lanes and implementing traffic lights that prioritise bikes, making them the faster option to commute within the city. Maybe you already travel to school on a cycle lane. How do you find it?
The importance of making the school run a greener journey for this generation and future ones to come is immense. Swapping out the car for a walk, or getting help from a friend who can pick up several kids if they need to drive because of distance, all contribute greatly. Don't forget that the Fetching app can be there to help out with ride shares, but now is the time to dig out the old bikes from the back of the shed, dust off your cycling helmet and try to make our school run a greener route for everyone.
For the simplest way share the school run with your friends, download the Fetching app today!