The School Bus and Carbon Emissions

An article today in Conservation Minnesota details some ways that Minnesota schools can make their school a more environmentally friendly place WHILE freeing up money for education.  The article brought to mind two things that have surprised me as the parent of a kindergartner just starting public school this year.

1.  Paper!

Before our daughter started kindergarten we attended several meetings at the school, met with her teacher and received at least 3 mailings.  The result of these various meetings and mailings was close to a quarter of a ream of paper, much of which contained replications.  I realize that often it takes this many times for a parent to respond, but an alternate delivery method, or a prioritizing of what truly needs to be printed seems in order.  Put it all up on a website, but have some copies available for those who don’t have access to the internet or ask parents on their kindergarten registartion forms if they would prefer to use email or post mail.cleanschoolbus_sm

2.  Bus vs. Ride 

We are lucky in our city to have free busing available to all public school children within the district that are more than a mile from school.  Because we live outside of a mile our daughter will be taking the bus.  There is a long list of reasons I could go into why we made this decision, but I will stick to the one most relevant this blog.  Carbon emissions.  A bus could be described as the largest carpool option that exists and regardless of if I choose to use it or not, it will be running.  Therefore if I choose to drive to school I double the emissions.  On top of this, our school district has been involved with a great program called Project Green Fleet.  “Project Green Fleet is a collaborative effort among business, government agencies and non-profit organizations to improve air quality and protect health by reducing emissions from Minnesota’s school buses and other diesel vehicles. Project Green Fleet helps school districts, privately owned school bus fleets, heavy-duty fleets and other diesel fleet owners reduce emissions through retrofits, repowers, and idle-reduction technologies.”

When we toured the school my daughter will be attending last year we were able to go on a school bus ride.  During the ride the driver explained how his bus was retrofited under this program to all of the kids and parents on the bus.  His explanation turned the district’s involvement in Project Green Fleet into not only a good environmental decision, but a teachable moment for children and parents alike.  By using the bus system available to my child, I show my support for our district thinking about the importance of reducing carbon emissions and air pollution and providing a teachable moment for all of us about the changes that can be made system wide.

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