Walk to School Day Helps Kids & Our Planet Stay Healthy

October 06, 2010

Today had a wonderful start for me–and for my daughters, scores of their schoolmates and parents, teachers and administrators. School communities of over 3,200 schools participated in International Walk to School Day. On this beautiful fall day in Silver Spring, Maryland, my daughters and I met their bus mates at our usual bus stop and walked along our bus route, making “stops” to gather more walkers along the way. While I wrote that we “walked,” the kids were so excited that they ran much of the time. In the way we were adding more and more numbers to our walking bus, it felt like a mini rally for health and clean transport. International Walk to School Day is promoted in the United States by to encourage kids and parents to find safe ways to get out of their cars and walk. Their press release highlights the benefits to kids’ health, but the event also shows kids and parents how easy and fun it is to walk to get where you need to go. I heard several parents comment on how much they really enjoy walking. In the neighborhood around our school there are very narrow streets with no sidewalks, so walking can be difficult, but with all the parent chaperones, it was a safe and fun experience. Fortunately, in our neighborhood, walking for pleasure is still a pastime for many families, but it is great to be reminded of the simple pleasure of getting out of your car and walking. It is relaxing, fun and community-building, and when you’re walking, you’re lowering your carbon footprint by not doing other energy-consuming activities. So, get out and walk, and lose a few of those unwanted pounds of weight and of carbon. You will help yourself and your environment. Hats off to the Highland View Elementary School walkers and to organizers of Walk to School Day at Highland View and throughout the world. Thanks for the reminder to take care of our bodies and our climate. Lesley Carlson is co-founder of