Today, for Enviro-Mama Thursday, I’m going to be lightening things up a bit. Let’s all take a deep breath in and out, and get ready for a little more ease, as we take a walk.
Walking to School
A little more than two years ago, when my daughter Hannah started kindergarten, I committed to walking to school and back every day. The ability to do this was one of the big reasons we chose our local public school. While there are a handful of cases when we’ve driven instead of walking, I’ve stuck with my commitment. Every morning and afternoon I make the walk up the hill to the neighbourhood school. I continue to do this for three reasons:
- It’s better for the planet.
- It’s better for us.
- The parking situation at school is a nightmare, so walking is just easier.
Pausing to watch the recycling truck on the way to school
While I predicted all of those benefits to walking, there are a number of benefits I didn’t predict. For example, I feel a greater connection to my neighbourhood, as I walk through it every day. I recognize (and greet) more of my neigbhours – and their pets. I chat with other parents and kids as we happen to walk in the same direction on the way to school and back. I notice right away when a house goes up for sale, or someone does some landscaping work. I’m out walking all the time, and as a result I’m more in the loop when it comes to what’s going on around me.
Another benefit that I actually viewed as a drawback before I started is spending more time out in the elements. I’m not going to pretend that it’s super-fun to head out for a walk in the driving rain. It’s not. But on the whole, I enjoy getting to spend a whole lot more time outside. Breathing fresh air, feeling the change of seasons, and seeing the world from the sidewalk are all good things. I think they’re good for my kids, too. They’re experiencing what our suburban environment is like first-hand.
Playing on a barrier on the walk home
Alternatives to Walking to School
I know that not everyone can walk to school. For one thing, not every child goes to school. For another, not every school is within walking distance, and not every parent’s schedule allows for it. But there’s no reason why you can’t get out and walk on a regular basis. Spending 15 or 20 minutes out walking around your neighbourhood a few times a week would give you the same sort of experience my family gets with the walk to school and back. If you live in an urban setting, or you don’t have the option of driving everywhere, you’re probably doing it already. If your family spends a lot of time in the car like mine does, you can just think of it as replicating the experience that’s a daily reality for others. It may even make you healthier.
Do you get out and walk with your kids on a regular basis, whether to school or someplace else? And how do you build outdoor time into your daily life? I’d love to hear!
PS – You can start a better back-to-school year by entering to win a $200 waste-free lunch giveaway – here’s the prize! Leave a comment and tell us how you’re making our back-to-school greener to win!