Eco-Living Magazine

So Many Ways to Go on Wheels…

Posted on the 04 August 2014 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev
Walking Horse

At night my wife and I read books to our two kids. We often read the same ones for a weeks at a time. Our younger one has been into a Sesame Street book titled, “I Can Do It” that features a section that starts, “So many ways to go on wheels, on four, or three, or two.” All of the modes of transportation represented on the page are “self-propelled.” From roller skates to a skateboard and bikes to inline skates, there isn’t a single motorized vehicle present in the lot. Obviously with the theme of “I can do it” at its core, it wouldn’t make sense for motorized transport to be highlighted. However, the message that children get from their parents – and society – is that gas-powered (and electrical, though not as often) vehicles are the main way to get from point A to point B.

Yesterday we took our boys to the playground in the bike trailer. While it was a slow, difficult ride (largely because I’m sedentary most of the time and not in shape to do it), the 10-mile round trip excursion demonstrated that we don’t have to take the car to go places around town. I’ve touched on these theme many times in the past, especially when talking about an “appropriate use policy” and more recently with my post on children and safe routes to school. Setting the example, and the expectation, that we can get places by walking, biking, or taking public transportation demonstrates to our kids that it’s possible to get around town without having to jump in the car.

This morning on the radio there was a story about researchers who have determined (though it’s not hard to see for one’s self) that Americans are much less active now than in times past and that they burn fewer calories at work, “140 fewer calories burned a day for men and 120 fewer calories burned a day for women.” One way to combat this would be more walking or biking to and from work, the store, or closer errands that don’t require a car. It starts by showing our children that there are other ways. For instance, this morning I planned on driving my kids to school since I was sore from yesterday’s bike ride. However, we switched car seats into our Prius to run errands yesterday (some places are just too far to bike, especially with kids), but forgot to put them back before my wife took it to work. Not feeling up to biking, we walked. Now, it helps to have employers that can make allowances for “slower” modes of transport. After all, inconvenience is the biggest impediment to sustainability.


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