Green minds ride a bike

Posted in: Dear Mabel, ELNews | 0

Hi Mabel,

This year we have been part of the Homeschool Natural Leader’s Project at Helen Schuler Nature Centre.  During our time there, we have learned so much on waste, resources, and technology. As part of our class, our family was asked to write to a leader or someone about a local environmental issue.  We have decided to write to you as we were looking through the Environment Lethbridge website. We have decided as a family to try and cut down on our contribution of pollution by biking more instead of driving.  In Lethbridge it is so easy to get around, it just takes allowing more time to get to wherever we are going. We can even go grocery shopping by pulling a small trailer behind us. More people should get on board with this concept, get on their bikes and keep our city of Lethbridge air clean and pure.

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Hi there!

Thank you for your wonderful letter. It is fantastic you have learned so much at the Helen Schuler Centre, it an important local facility.

You are right, driving is an important environmental issue and biking is a great green alternative! Biking is beneficial in so many ways, it’s good for the environment, but it’s also great for your health, for the community, and for saving money.

My colleague entered her car details into this calculator http://www.carbonzero.ca/calculate. Driving 100 kilometres in her car can release 30 kgs of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere. These gases trap heat and warm the earth in a process called the greenhouse effect. When we think about how many cars are on our road every day we can imagine just how polluting driving can be! The emissions from cars also contribute to air pollution, which can cause respiratory issues, irritate eyes, nose, and throat, and make conditions like asthma worse for sufferers. By cycling as much as possible you can reduce the emissions driving emits and its impact on climate heating.

Cycling rather than driving is also good for our health as it’s a low impact activity that helps people stay fit and healthy. It’s easy on joints, can be a great workout for your heart, lungs, and muscles, and helps with our mental health. It’s a great preventative health activity – it can help you stay healthy, and not get sick later in life. It’s also fun! Getting out into the fresh air on the many trails in Lethbridge is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors, it’s also fun to explore our neighbourhoods as we make our way to school, work or our other activities. Time spent cycling while getting from A to B means you are exercising instead of just sitting in your car, just like your family going grocery shopping with a small trailer, I love that idea!

Cycling infrastructure, like bike paths and bike racks, is also much cheaper and takes up less space than the infrastructure needed for cars, like car parking and additional driving lanes. Bikes have much less impact on our roads and bike paths and lanes typically need less maintenance. For these reasons, bikes are great for the community as the ongoing maintenance costs of car infrastructure ultimately come back to community members. If more people switch to cycling we don’t need as much public space for parking which could be used for other things like green spaces or other community facilities.

Plus, bikes are much cheaper than cars. They’re much more affordable to buy initially, they don’t need fuel (which contributes to our greenhouse gas emissions), expensive maintenance, insurance, registration and no need to pay for parking. Great news for your parents, and more reasons people should get on their bikes.

Thank you for your letter and congratulations on deciding to cycle more, it’s a great choice for you and the environment. If you have any more questions or comments for me, keep them coming!

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