The Road to Green Transportation
By Kat Sarmiento
At an early age, children are already introduced to the concept of vehicles and transportation. Beginning with the nursery rhymes they get to listen to, to the books that are read to them, and the videos they see on TV or the internet, kids get excited to see cars, boats, airplanes, trains, and even big yellow buses. However, as these kids get older, they eventually lose the excitement of trying out these different modes of transportation and often stick to what is more accessible or convenient for them, which nowadays means cars. In the U.S., teenagers are often gifted cars by their parents on their 16th birthday or high school graduation. However, is this sustainable transportation that is helpful to the environment?
The transportation sector is responsible for 28% of global emissions, and cars are responsible for an average of 9,377 pounds of greenhouse gases released every year. This is why we must do something to address this problem, and one of the good ways to do so is to see things with the eyes and innocence of children. From the perspective of children, all modes of transport are equally exciting and important. As long as the wheels go around and move, it is always an adventure. While for adults using public transportation can be tedious, doing so can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37 million metric tons annually. Of course, this number could be even higher if we considered a more consolidated use of other green means of transportation such as biking and walking. On top of that, any given “alternative” means of transport like those mentioned has accompanying positive effects on one’s health. Sustainable school transportation is therefore advisable; if such a practice is started young, it may bear fruit in the long run.
Here are two ways to ensure that children will not outgrow their excitement to use different vehicles and keep using sustainable transportation:
- For starters, it can be explained to them that riding public transport, like the big yellow school bus with wheels that go round and round and doors that go open and shut, is a way to help Mother Earth because it is an example of public transport, which means less cars on the road. Not only that, but they get to meet their friends and ride with them to school, which makes the experience way more fun.
- Another way to get kids on board is to show them how cycling, another example of green transportation, can be a fun, healthy and exciting way to get to school. It also promotes and instills an early sense of responsibility and independence.
It is both the parents’ and teachers’ role to ensure that the children are highly encouraged to follow these suggestions:
- Reward systems could be in place for the kids to motivate them further. Not only are they helping Mother Earth but it also gives them something to look forward to. Ideas include star stickers, or classroom points from their teachers.
- As adults, parents and even teachers can also accompany the kids whether it be riding the bus together, biking, or simply walking with them. Having someone they look up to join them would help.
- However, if a child does not want to try something foreign to them and the excitement and natural sense of curiosity is not a good starting point, then turn it into a game. Challenge them to try something new and promise them that it is fun and enjoyable.
After all these ways stated above, the most important of them all is still the first point, which is to help Mother Earth because children naturally have good sense and if they are raised and taught well, they will do good things. As has been said, the transportation sector consisting of land, water, and air travel contributes 28% of global greenhouse emissions which directly contributes to global warming. If this is explained to children and instills sustainable practices at an early age, they may in turn be a more environmentally responsible generation and carry these practices on as they grow older.
What is riding a car comfortably when climate change has taken on full swing and more diseases have surfaced? Sadly, this is what human beings have done over the years. However, it is not too late to start taking action.
Sometimes, adults need to stay in tune with their inner child and goodness to help spark and bring forth necessary change. There is no undoing what has already been done, there is only changing for the better, and even small steps like pushing forth and promoting sustainable school transportation is a great way to begin. As the song goes; “children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way”. Sometimes it takes a small child to bring forth positive change.
It would not be so bad for adults to learn from children and the way they see things. As well as to have their natural sense of curiosity and excitement. It is never hurtful to keep in touch with one’s inner child. See things from their perspective because a child may be the answer to fulfilling the road to green transportation. Starting with sustainable school transportation that would soon enough lead to bigger efforts as we navigate to get to a low-carbon future, for everyone but most importantly for the kids we need their help as we begin to promote sustainable school transportation for a greener future.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AJH Education Comics & Cartoons and belong solely to the author of the post.