On Wednesday morning, October 2, 2019, fewer Brookline students will be jumping out of private cars at Brookline public schools. To celebrate “Car-Free School Day,” hundreds of children will be walking, riding their bikes, skateboarding, or taking public transportation to school.

Kids will “Walk, Bike, Bus or Roll” to raise awareness about the impact fuel emissions have on the environment and to encourage physical activity among Brookline families. Parent volunteers will greet students to stamp their hands with the event logo, a green footprint.  Dr. Swannie Jett, Health Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services, said, “We want youth to participate in outdoor activities while reducing air pollution from people driving vehicles and idling on school campuses.“

Replacing driving to school with walking, biking, or other modes of travel achieves two goals: 1) It encourages physical activity, and 2) It reduces our carbon footprint.  According to the Center for Disease Control, childhood obesity rates in the country have tripled in the last three decades. Biking or walking as a form of physical activity can help slow this trend and prevent chronic conditions, such as diabetes. Similarly, when families decide to use other modes of transportation rather than driving a car, they help reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles.

Car-Free School Day is Brookline’s unique way to link with “International Walk to School Day,” which involves more than 4 million children from 44 different countries.  This year, Brookline will also be partnering with the Massachusetts’ Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.

Along with the Public Schools of Brookline and the School Green Teams, Car-Free School Day is sponsored by the Brookline Departments of Public Health and Recreation, Brookline’s CAB (Climate Action Brookline) and the Select Board’s Climate Action Committee.   

For further information, please contact Lynne Karsten, lkarsten@brooklinema.gov or 617-730-2336. Also, please join us on Twitter discussion: @BrooklineHealth, Facebook: Brookline Department of Public Health, or Instagram: Brooklinehealth.