As a parent, guardian, or mentor, your unwavering mission is to make sure your children are, and always will be, safe. As difficult as it is to admit, climate change poses very harsh and worrisome obstacles to that pursuit.
I know, climate change is never a fun issue to discuss. It’s a problem that creates so much uncertainty about the future and threatens much of normalcy we expect from our daily lives. Much like COVID-19, climate change will cause systematic breakdowns across all communities and force us to relearn what it looks like to participate in society. Again, not a fun issue to discuss.
Still, it is incredibly important. We recognize the reality of climate change — not only for our own sake, but for the sake of following generations including your children.
But climate change isn’t inevitable.
There is action you can take! One necessary change that we can all adopt is reducing our demand for fossil fuels. Let’s get a little scientific for a moment. Bear with me. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) currently make up 81% of the United States energy consumption. This alarming statistic is important (could use meaningful) considering that all fossil fuels releases the potent greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. This is the same process that occurs in gasoline-powered vehicles. Thus, the less cars on the roads and the reduced distance each of those cars travel, the slower we contribute to creating a better world and climate change.
This is especially true since, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation account for about 29 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest contributor of U.S. GHG emissions.” This means, among other things, that our collective decisions to drive our children to school with extra vehicles actually have a direct and significant impact on their futures!
Innovative Initiatives within Net Zero Strategies
But this effort doesn’t just fall upon families. Impact organizations and agencies around the country also recognize the crucial importance of this reduced demand on fossil fuels and are supporting the cause with their own initiatives. For example, Burlington Electric Department in Vermont has developed a Net Zero Energy goal “to reduce and eventually eliminate fossil fuel usage in heating and ground transportation.” Along with promoting a transition to electric vehicles, Burlington Electric Department has also recognized the importance of reducing fossil fuel consumption and vehicle trips using carpooling. Go Together’s CarpooltoSchool was selected by Burlington Electric Department to expand carpooling options for students and staff in the Burlington School District.
What can we collectively do?
Battling the impending threats of climate change is a collective effort by all levels of society, each supporting one another. Though, possibly none have more stake in the issue than the parents, guardians raising children. Reducing our demand for fossil fuels proves to be a pivotal step to securing a prosperous and healthier future for everyone especially children and one where climate change does not dictate our livelihoods. What can we collectively do? We see how open we are to carpooling and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and maybe your children making new friends. You just might get a few extra hours of work in or make a stop before heading home to meet your family. Your valiant pursuit to ensure your child’s education prepares them for a great future they can depend on could actually start with how they get to and from school.