Going back to school is a hot topic this year, and it feels like everyone could use a moment to breathe. Especially our kids. When they do take a breath, we want to make sure that they are breathing healthy, clean air. As routines start to form for this new school year, here are three ways to #ShowUCAIR and keep the air around schools a little cleaner.
Cut the Commute
Parents know that school drop off and pick up can be chaotic and hard to maneuver. There are a lot of moving cars and people, and it can be dangerous if not everyone is paying attention. Plus, we know all about waiting in long lines and limited parking spots. An ideal way to decrease the danger, the stress and emissions are by walking or biking with your kids to school. This means zero emissions going to and from school. There are also huge benefits for children who walk and bike to school, like increased participation in school and better social skills. Our favorite benefit is the clean air they will benefit from now and in the future.
Idle Free Zone
If it isn’t possible to walk or bike to school, there are still simple ways to contribute to cleaner air during drop off and pick up. Many cars migrate to schools twice a day, causing small inversions over the schools. In 2006, Utah Clean Cities launched the first Idle Free campaign. Since then, being idle free has become a statewide declaration adopted by 71 Utah cities and is practiced by schools throughout the state. An idle free zone means that no vehicle idles for more than 10 seconds. As September approaches, it’s the perfect time to be mindful of idling. September is designated as Idle Free Awareness Month in Utah. Best practices to keep the air clean around schools, are to turn off the car while waiting in line or park and walk to meet your child.
Making changes or creating new routines can be hard, but Utah has many great resources. If walking and biking to reduce emissions sound appealing, check out Safe Routes Utah. Safe Routes helps families find the safest routes to school and even offers prizes with their Walk and Roll challenge just for walking and biking to school. Click here to find out more or follow them on social media. Another great tool for biking and walking is Move Utah. A program dedicated to connecting cities through active transit. You can find trails and paths that make active transportation safe and easy. Other great resources include our Partner, Utah Clean Cities. Find out about initiatives and ways to get involved as well as learning tools. So, take that deep breath. With simple changes, our air has a future and so do our children.