From: Kara A. DiCamillo, Sierra Club Green Home, More from this Affiliate
Published April 29, 2012 10:08 AM

Take a Walk, its good for you AND for the Environment!

It seems like everyone is in a hurry these days. Look around while doing your daily errands. All of us have some place to be with not a minute to spare. Due to the pressure to keep a fast-paced lifestyle and the lack of reliable public transit, most Americans drive everywhere. Even if it is just to the store down the road, cars equal convenience.

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The U.S. is home to the largest number of cars in the world, and the number of motor vehicles has been rising by an estimated 3.69 million each year since 1960. As we know, this increase in cars leads to an increase in carbon emissions and pollution. While driving efficiently, participating in a carshare, and investing in fuel-efficient vehicles are all important ways to help, much of the problem is how dependent we are on driving itself.

In a recent NPR article, writer Tom Vanderbilt explores pedestrian life in America and says that many parts of the U.S. are now designed specifically for cars, not pedestrians. He has been looking at the way towns are built, how Americans view walking and, most importantly, how to get them moving. Nonprofit organization America Walks says that 41 percent of all trips made in the United States are one mile or less, fewer than 10% of all trips are made by walking and biking.

There are many benefits to incorporating walking into our lives. Take the example of walking kids to school. It is a great way to get kids moving, and makes kids and adults alike feel more connected to their surroundings. According to America Walks, parents driving children to school comprises 20-30 percent of morning traffic congestion in urban areas. So organizing a "walk your kids to school" program would improve morning traffic, ensure that kids get their exercise for the day, and help people get to know their neighborhoods better.

Walking is indisputably the most environmentally-friendly mode of transportation. It does not produce any pollution, and it requires no supplies or maintenance (except shoes). In fact, walking contributes to your maintenance of you.

Family taking a walk via Shutterstock.

Article continues at ENN Affiliate Sierra Club Green Home.

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