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Time To Protect Kids And The Climate

Back To School - Time To Protect Kids And The Climate

Parents are being encouraged to contribute to a clean, green, sustainable New Zealand by joining or starting walking school buses as children head back to school this week.

Associate Transport Minister Judith Tizard, who is leading the Government's vehicle emissions policy, says the walking school bus concept is an essential part of the campaign to cut climate-changing vehicle emissions and protect children from congestion at the school gate.

"A walking school bus involves at least two parents collecting children from their homes and walking the 'train' of children to and from school," says Judith Tizard. "They lessen the need for car trips and fuel use and hence reduce the amount of harmful emissions that contribute to respiratory problems and climate change."

Walking school buses are currently featuring in the '4 million careful owners' campaign which is aimed at raising awareness about the effects of climate change and suggests steps all New Zealanders can take to reduce our contributions of climate changing greenhouse gases.

"Over the last year, the number of walking school buses has increased by 230 per cent, with more than 240 walking school buses now taking around 3,000 children to and from school across the country," says Judith Tizard.

Transport fuels account for around 40 per cent of New Zealand's energy consumption, and are the fastest growing consumer of energy resources. Short car trips, such as those between home and school, consume one third of transport energy (fuel) and are the least efficient with cold start engines.

"Not only are walking school buses good for our environment and our climate, but they are a lot of fun for kids. They reduce dangerous congestion at the school gate and ensure our school children arrive active, healthy and ready to embark on their day's schooling."

Judith Tizard said walking school buses were a perfect example of how taking simple steps to reduce contributions to climate change could benefit other areas of our lives.

"With the school year about to start back, we are featuring walking school buses in the '4 million careful owners' campaign. We encourage all parents and schools to look at how a walking school bus could benefit themselves, their children and their environment."


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