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You can shrink your carbon footprint by driving less

Of all the choices we make, how we get around has the biggest impact on climate change.

Every mile you drive creates about one pound of green house gases - the cause of global warming.

But kids can make a difference.

Here are ten things that you and your parents can do to help the planet.

  1. Walk to a park, library or school

Check out these neighborhood walking maps to find the best routes and some neighborhood treasures.

How walkable is your neighborhood? Find out at walkscore.com.

  1. Start a walking school bus

A walking school bus is like a regular school bus – but without the bus! A group of parents take turns each day picking up kids at “bus stops” along the route to school. Kids get exercise, parents save time, and there are fewer cars burning gas in the school parking lot during drop off time.

  1. Bike to your favorite places

Our area has some great place to bike. Check out the Seattle bike map and the King County bike map to find the best routes for biking.

  1. Help organize a bicycle rodeo

You could help put together a bike rodeo to learn about bike safety. You could do it in your neighborhood or at your school.

  1. Plan a bus trip on METRO transit

King County METRO transit has a great internet site where you can plan trips on METRO and other transit agencies. Tell it where you’re coming from, where you’re going, and when, and you’ll instantly get a list of buses or trains to take.

  1. Go by train

Use the streetcar or LINK light rail to get around Seattle. By the end of 2009 you’ll be able to take the train to the airport!

Check out these animated videos of light rail trains going to the current and future light rail stations.

We also have Sounder commuter trains to and from Everett, Tacoma and cities in between.

  1. Take AMTRAK to Oregon or Canada.

AMTRAK is a great way to go for trips of a couple hours or more. You’ve got room to stretch out, space to walk around, and even a dining car for snacks or meals. You’re not strapped into a car seat for hours, and your parents get to relax instead of driving. Everybody’s happy. Plan a trip anywhere in the country at Amtrak.com.

  1. Help your parents create a carpool for practices or rehearsals

Pass out a signup sheet at practice or rehearsal to collect addresses and phone numbers. Bring a map for families to mark their home so you can see who lives close to you.

For events and carpools to work your parents can find carpool partners at rideshareonline.com.

  1. Combine car trips

    Plan ahead so you can do two errands in one car trip instead of two. If your family needs to drive to the grocery store and the hardware store this week, link the trips into one round trip. That’s less time sitting in the car and in traffic, and more time doing something else.
  1. Skip a trip

    Hey, you can use the internet to help save the earth! If you can do shopping or other errands on the internet (or on the phone) instead of hopping in the car, you’ve saved a car trip!

Bonus : Join a Way to Go incentive program

If your family joins one of Seattle DOT’s Way to Go incentive programs you could earn hundreds of dollars in free Zipcar use, REI gear, bus passes and bike club memberships. You can also earn cash or win prizes. Plus, you’ll save a pile of money and reduce your carbon footprint.


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