It’s like having a free gym pass and a healthy environment all in one, says Williams Lake Environmental Society air quality educator Tammy Keetch.
During National Environment Week, June 2 to 8, Keetch is encouraging residents in the Cariboo to lace up, oil that bike chain, carpool, take transit or work from home.
She also suggests people look for ways to share, shorten or change their commute so they can spend less time alone in a car.
“Be ‘in the know’ by carpooling with co-workers or friends,” she adds.
“Or take transit where you can finally finish that novel, clean out your inbox, or make a new friend. By walking or riding your bike to work, your commute can be your new (free) gym.”
Motor vehicles create more air pollution than any other single human activity, she adds.
“In Williams Lake the air pollutant of special concern for our health is called particulate matter (PM 2.5 & 10) of which vehicle exhaust is a contributor.”
If everyone in Canada chose an environmentally friendly form of transportation one day a week, vehicle emissions would be reduced by 20 per cent.
Using active transportation is one way to help keep our air clean.
Keetch lists several ways that workers can take part in a commuter challenge.
In many cities across Canada there are friendly competitions through the week or on Clean Air Day, June 5.
People can sign on at www.commuterchallenge.ca to record sustainable commute(s).
The website will calculate emission reduction impacts, calorie consumption, distance, and fuel cost savings.
In 2011, the Canadian Automobile Association estimated that driving 18,000 km per year costs an average of $8,441.25 or 46.9 cents per kilometre for a Cobalt LT.
It is also estimated that transportation-related emissions will cost the health care system $11 billion to $38 billion between 1997 and 2020, predicted the Transportation Association of Canada in 1998.
Keetch says it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
“Focus on how good you will feel if you do walk or ride. Find a bike buddy near you. Bike to work or ride on the weekends. Make a goal to ride to work once a week, or if that’s too far, to run easy errands by bike or foot.”