Peace and Environment News — Insider, April–June 2012
by Mike Buckthought
On June 3–9, thousands of people across Canada will join the 2012 Commuter Challenge. The annual event encourages people to get to work using sustainable modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, public transit, car pooling and telecommuting.
To participate in the Challenge, commuters register online at www.commuterchallenge.ca and keep track of the distance they travel using environment-friendly modes of transportation. The website uses the distances you record to calculate your reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.
If your workplace is not mentioned on the website, you can add it to the list. You don’t have to be working to join the Challenge — individuals may also register.
In 2011, over 29,000 Canadians joined the Commuter Challenge during Environment Week.
The program includes an environment-friendly competition between communities across the country, to see which towns and cities have the highest participation rates during the week.
Last year, the winning cities included Calgary (cities with a population over 1,000,000), Winnipeg (population greater than 500,000), Halifax (population over 250,000), and Guelph (population over 100,000).
Ottawa’s motor vehicles produce 1.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. Emissions from the transportation sector have increased, thanks to the presence of large numbers of SUVs. Exposure to traffic-related air pollution increases rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases.
When we walk or cycle to work instead of using a car, we can help reduce levels of toxic air pollutants and get some exercise along the way. During Environment Week, don’t pollute when you commute — join the Commuter Challenge.
For more information about participating in the Commuter Challenge, visit www.commuterchallenge.ca. Help spread the word in your community. Posters and flyers may be downloaded from the website.
Mike Buckthought is a car-free commuter, and he is the founder of the Commuter Challenge.
Published in the Peace and Environment News — Insider, Volume 27, Number 2, April–June 2012, page 4.