A community program that promotes safety, physical activity and environmentally sustainable
transportation to and from school.

ISSUE 4 – APRIL 2003

Welcome to our first e-bulletin of 2003.

Please feel free to distribute this email to schools and to your colleagues that have an interest in the
ASRTS program. If you do not wish to receive future emails about ASRTS, just let us know and we‟ll
take you off the list. Alternatively, if you know of anyone else who would like to receive this email, we
can add them to our distribution list.

INTERNATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL DAY, Wednesday, October 8, 2003.

The international organizing committee for Walk to School Day voted to expand the IWALK activities
for 2003 to a whole week. The UK has celebrated Walk to School Week for several years now, with much
success, and many countries are unable to participate on Wednesdays as schools are closed!

Greenest City will be preparing a package of suggested ideas and activities for celebrating both IWALK
Day and Week. This package will be included in the Ontario IWALK kit sent to registered schools in
early September 2003. Whether your school or community plans to celebrate for the whole week or just
IWALK day, don‟t forget to register TODAY at http://www.greenestcity.org. Details of last years
successful Ontario event have been sent to you all and can also be viewed on our Web site. As well, we
recently submitted more photos and quotes from the 2002 event to the international site – visit it at
http://www.iwalktoschool.org. You can submit photos and quotes from your school or community
directly to the site.

This year Earth Week is right after Easter, April 20-26, so you could feature bunnies in your celebrations!
Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22.

Schools can hold Walk to School days during Earth Week or even encourage students to walk for the
entire week. This is also a great time to encourage more families to try a Walking School Bus - contact us
for a copy of our new Walking School Bus resource and family kit. The family kit features organizing
materials, safety tips, reflective armbands, name tags, pencils and stickers for the children.

 Last fall, Jan Eisenhardt from Dorval, Quebec, completed the 13.5 kilometre Eremitage run in his
  native Denmark. Only 13.5 kilometres you say? Mr. Eisenhardt is 97 years old! He has also devoted
  most of his life to promoting physical fitness for youth and was reported as saying “If you want a
  healthy nation, you have to start with healthy, active children.”

    Your school can “Walk with Jan” May 27th and 28th in Toronto and Ottawa! The 2003 Cross Canada
    Walk for Health will be lead by Jan next month in cities across Canada. The purpose of the walk is to
    promote increased physical activity, good nutrition and healthy lifestyles for Canada's youth. If you
    represent a school, an organization, or you are an individual who is interested in supporting this event
    by walking with 97 year old Major Eisenhardt please contact (514) 726-9580,
    mila@walkforhealth.net or visit the website: http://www.walkforhealth.net.

   “For the growing child, there is no substitution for being physically active as it promotes a positive
    attitude to the self, others and the environment.” Opiyo Oloya, Principal, St.Vincent de Paul C.S.,
    Markham. To motivate his students Principal Oloya jogged 30 kilometres to school on IWALK day

   Maurice Cody P.S. in Toronto continues to lead the way with their successful Walking Challenge.
    Cody students are currently walking across Mexico by walking to school on Wednesdays and have
    clocked 3,505 kilometres as of the end of March. Participation rates have been consistently over 80%
    this year, with March recording a whooping 91%! Healthy hearts continue to be a motivating factor
    with students being encouraged to check their pulse as they arrive at school on Wednesday mornings.
    Kindergarten classes have been completing paper shoes with their teachers – here‟s one student‟s
    response to “We Walk to School Because ….”. “It’s good for you – it’s good exercise – it makes your
    bones grow bigger – it’s good for the environment – you see your friends along the way.”

We have recently translated our resource for Walking Challenges. This resource accompanies our Cross
Canada Walking Challenge map and explains how to organize a Walking Wednesday and Kilometre
Club. For a copy of this French resource contact us at asrts@greenestcity.org. Other ASRTS resources
available in French are: Climate Change flyer; No Idling at School kit; IWALK materials; and Blazing
Trails through the Urban Jungle.

 „Kids on the Move in Halton-Peel‟ is a project of the Centre for Sustainable Transportation, funded by
the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The project takes its name from a remarkable European Union
publication, Kids on the Move (env-pubs@cec.eu.int, ISBN 92-894-1887-7). This is a superbly executed
manual for European local government officials, teachers, and others who want to create better ways of
making children‟s mobility more environmentally sound, safer, healthier, more helpful, and more
enriching. The goals of the project are to determine whether Kids on the Move should be adapted for use
in North America. This will involve consulting with a wide range of people in Halton-Peel, including
children. A second and more important goal is to use the consultations about Kids on the Move to identify
actions that could be undertaken in Halton-Peel to improve children‟s mobility. The Centre for
Sustainable Transportation is working collaboratively with Greenest City's Active and Safe Routes to
School program.

For further information about this work, please contact Al Cormier at 905 858 9242 or at

Check out this Web site: http://www.zoom-europe/org for some exciting projects that have been inspired
by the European Union‟s Kids on the Move project. “Kids on the Move to Milan” is encouraging as many
European children and their families as possible to travel using sustainable forms of transportation for one
week during 2003. The goal is to collect GREEN FOOTPRINTS that represent a symbolic journey to
Milan, Italy, where the United Nations Climate Change Conference is taking place in December 2003.
ZOOM requires 28,029 Green Footprints to be able to travel from Brussels via Kyoto to Milan. At the
beginning of December 2003 the European Commissioner for the Environment, Margot Wallström, will
hand over all collected Green Footprints to the participants of the Ninth United Nations Conference on
Climate Change. This is to show the politicians and decision-makers that children in Europe are keen to
contribute to the Kyoto Protocol.

                       This project is financially supported by The Ontario Trillium Foundation. The Foundation is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Culture. It
                       receives annually $100 million of government funding generated through Ontario’s charity casino initiative. The Foundation provides
                       grants to eligible charitable and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, culture, sports, recreation, environment and social service sectors.
Southern Ontario experienced its first smog alert day for 2003 on Monday, March 17th! For several hours
around noon much of southern Ontario was in the grip of particulate-laden air, enough to register “poor”
readings on the Ontario Ministry of the Environment‟s air-quality index. In 2001 Ontario experienced 23
smog alert days. In 2002 there were 27.

This earlier than usual air quality alert is a result of a change in monitoring at the Ontario Ministry of
Environment. Last August the Ministry began measuring for fine particulate matter, rather than just high
levels of ozone. This expands the number of months when air quality is considered poor. The particulates
being measured are microscopic fragments of dust, fumes and chemicals and they are smaller than 2.5
microns – about 1/28 the width of a human hair! When these tiny particles invade our lungs they
contribute to a host of health problems from asthma to cancer to heart attacks.

Today‟s gas guzzling vehicles aren‟t doing much to help our air quality. SUVs and mini-vans, a popular
vehicle choice for young families, consume between 14.9 and 19.5 litres per 100 kilometres. Back in 1987
the average fuel efficiency of vehicles was 10.5 liters per 100 km. The really sad news is that the
technology exists today to reduce fuel consumption to around 6 litres per 100 kms – using conventional
engines. When you factor in alternative technologies and fuels, the fuel consumption levels get even

And, not only do those SUVs guzzle more gas which creates more air pollution, they also create more
greenhouse gas emissions, leading to climate change. In 1990, SUVs and minivans accounted for 21.7
megatonnes of greenhouse gases but by 2000 this had risen to 36.4 megatonnes. This means that
Canadians are now emitting more greenhouse gases per person per vehicle than ever – 23.6 tonnes in
2000 compared to 21.9 tonnes in 1990.

Visit these Web sites for more information:
 Ontario Clean Air Alliance: http://www.cleanair.web.ca
 Environment Canada: http://www.ec.gc.ca/climate/action-e.html for information on climate change
    and what you can do about it
 Ontario government‟s Air Quality site: http://www.airqualityontario.com/index.cfm
 Environment Canada: http://www.msc-smc.ec.gc.ca/aq_smog/index_e.cfm for information on air
    quality and links to Provincial sites

One way to combat poor air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is through a No Idling project.
Our No Idling at School resource is still available to Ontario schools at no charge and includes posters,
stickers and information cards. Idle free days can be a great activity for schools and our resource gives
you ideas on how to quickly and easily implement a campaign. Check out these four good reasons to
reduce vehicle idling (taken from the Idle-Free Zone Newsletter from NRCan):

1. Save Money: idling a vehicle for 30 minutes a day burns more than 100 litres of gasoline per year.
2. Breathe Easier: drivers and others around them won‟t have to breathe in unhealthy exhaust fumes
   from vehicles that are going nowhere.
3. Spare the Air: reduced idling helps combat problem such as smog and climate change.
4. Reduce Engine Wear and Tear: excessive idling can actually damage a vehicle‟s engine components,
   including the cylinders, spark plus and exhaust system.
Visit the Natural Resources Canada Web site for information on idle-free campaigns:
http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/idling. Contact us at asrts@greenestcity.org for a copy of our No Idling at School
kit. Let us know about your No Idling at School projects.

Excerpts from great articles about International Walk to School Day 2002 and other related topics. We
have selected bits and pieces from articles, not necessarily the whole article:

   Walk to school and get a real education; written by Barbara Sellers, Guelph Mercury, October 19,
    2002. Our thanks to Barbara for allowing us to reprint portions of her article here. See the entire
    article on Greenest City‟s Web site.

    “What do the current policy debates on education, the environment, and health care have in common?
    Many things: the future of our children, the legacy we may leave them, and their quality of life, for
    One small symbolic gesture serves to bring these things together in a very tangible way: on October 2
    several schools in our community participated in something called "International Walk to School
    Behind this community walk-to-school initiative, are some very important ideas: education, health,
    and the environment.
    Maybe this walking to school stuff is relatively small potatoes compared to bigger fish like hydro-
    electric power generation, literacy programmes and medical research. But we have to start
    somewhere. Think globally, act locally, we are encouraged.
    Although "International Walk to School Day" is over for this fall, the hope is that raising awareness
    will encourage more people to walk or cycle daily. Some of the children are pledging to try to do so
    So let's do what we can to make it possible for the children who participated in "International Walk to
    School Day" to make good on their pledges. Let's make it both possible and safe for them to do so.
    Let's maintain schools within neighbourhood communities that will encourage more children to make
    and keep the pledge. For their own good, for the good of the environment and for the good of society
    in the long run.”

   Global Warning: Excerpted from Today‟s Parent Web site at

    “Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere, which - like the clear glass
    walls of a greenhouse - traps heat next to the Earth. It has especially dire consequences for kids. Last
    May, the United Nations Environment Programme, UNICEF and the World Health Organization
    (WHO) put out a report pleading for world leaders to take this into account. "People are most
    vulnerable in their youngest years," said Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO director-general. "This means
    that children must be at the centre of our response to unhealthy environments."

    The good news is there are things we can do to stem the tide of climate change and help turn this
    situation around for generations to come. With a little imagination and a good, hard look at our habits
    and assumptions, we can all do our part to make sure that by the time today's toddlers leave high
    school, the planet is a much safer place to live (see "What You Can Do," p. 132). We'll have to tackle
    it with the same creativity that we fight for good public education and a sound health-care system for
    our kids. Acting now and over the next several years will make a huge difference.”
    Also Read:
    Web-exclusive interview with David Suzuki
    Mad About Climate Change Petition to the government

   Published in the City of Vaughan Weekly from a Grade 6 student, St. Catherine Siena CS,
    Woodbridge, Ontario.
     "I think Walk to School Day was very fun. It reminds me of how much fun it is to walk or ride a bike
    to school instead of polluting the earth with cars and buses. If everybody walked to school, imagine
    how the pollution would drop, creating a cleaner environment for everyone. My favourite part was
    when we walked around the field with all our teachers and friends. I hope we have Walk to School
    Day every year!"

 As reported in the Globe & Mail on October 19, 2002, Statistics Canada data, taken from the National
   Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, show that more than one third of Canadian children aged
   2 to 11 are considered overweight and half that number are obese. Canada now has more overweight
   children than adults. The situation is just as depressing in the US. But what can be done about it?

    According to Katrina Hedbert, MD, MPH, Deputy State Epidemiologist for the State of Oregon
    Health Division “Part of what we‟ve done is to engineer an epidemic of obesity. I would hope that we
    could engineer ourselves out of this as well.” Dr. Hedbert is referring to how we have designed our
    communities for car travel, which essentially has ignored the needs of physically active communities.
    Dr. Hedbert‟s quote was taken from “Increasing Physical Activity Through Community Design; A
    Guide for Public Health Practitioners”, produced in May 2002 by the National Center for Bicycling &
    Walking in Washington, DC. This well written and informative document can be downloaded from
    http://www.bikewalk.org and is must reading for anyone trying to create safer routes for pedestrians
    and cyclists to get around communities.

We hope you enjoyed reading this ASRTS bulletin and that it will prove to be a useful tool to help
promote the program in your community. Please send us your feedback and let us know of any local
initiatives that we can share with others. If you would prefer to receive this bulletin as an attachment (in
Microsoft Word) then contact us.

Jacky Kennedy
Program Coordinator
Greenest City
Active & Safe Routes to School
57 Douglas Avenue
Toronto, ON M5M 1G4
Ph: (416) 488-7263
Toll Free: 1-866-588-0788
Fax: (416) 488-2296
Email: asrts@greenestcity.org
Web: http://www.greenestcity.org

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