Based on City of Calgary Statistics it appears that most people are making an effort to recycle to help the environment. However, if we take a closer look at our daily life, we begin to realize that we still need to put more effort in to polluting less. As an example, we drive our kids to school in the morning; we then drive to work, where we sit the whole day. In the afternoon, we drive back to the kids’ school to pick them up and take them home. Then in the evening, we drive them to their extracurricular activities, sport, music, etc. We might then drive to the gym feeling guilty for not having exercised for the whole day ourselves. We realize that while doing these things we contribute to pollution as we drive the car back and forth between home, kids activities, and work. “On and off the freeway, off and on all day, all night” to quote Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Moreover, while at the gym we know consume electricity needed to run the gym equipment and to cool the indoor air. Then of course we complain about traffic, about not having quality time with the family, etc.
At the end of the day, what are we teaching our kids? Kids who spend all their time in the car become accustomed to that. We should educate our kids to take the bus, walk or bike, the same way that we teach them about environment. If school is close to home, then we should put effort in to walking or biking our kids to school for at least a couple of days each week. This is a healthy activity and can create quality time together that both kids and parents need. We have to get them used to walking or cycling as part of their daily commute.
If we integrate walking or biking into our daily life, we would benefit our cities and ourselves. If we walk or bike to and from work, we get fitter and improve our health. At the same time we will be putting life into our streets, since quality of life in a street improves when more people walk and cycle, and of course there will be fewer cars on the roads. However, this is easy to say but not so easy to do, especially if we live in a suburban environment. Obviously, to be able to walk or bike to work, to school, or to the grocery shop, these destinations should be close by. This is why we need to change the way our communities and cities are built. We should be ready to accept that our communities be more densely constructed, so that they can offer more transit options and more shops or services within a reasonable walking / cycling commute. This environment will require fewer inhospitable parking lots, and of course fewer cars!