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On Oct. 7, Oregon schoolchildren joined their U.S., Canadian and British peers in the international Walk + Bike to School Day, an event designed to promote activity, healthy habits and awareness about safe routes for kids to and from school.


Many communities celebrated the event, local papers and Facebook posts featured photos of neighborhood walking groups (see “Rolling and hoofing it to class” in the Oct. 15 issue of The Review), PTOs gave out free cups of hot chocolate and prizes were awarded.

That same day, the online version of Inc. magazine published a widely posted and tweeted article about the 17 bad habits that make millennials look unprofessional.  In the article, author Bill Murray Jr. spoke with hundreds of business leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs of all generations to find out how they thought millennials are doing at work. Bad habit number 12? Expecting too many perks.

The intrinsic value of walking or biking to school is in the trip itself — the opportunity to begin a healthy habit and develop community around the experience. On Oct. 7, parents incented their kids with a block party waiting for them at the end. Change the “Walk + Bike to School Day” banner to “Mission Accomplished,” but first regularly walk or bike to school with your children this month and see how many of your neighbors you can get to join you.

“Think globally, act locally” urges people to consider the health of the entire planet and to take action in their own communities and cities. Greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and global warming are directly tied to combustion engines.

Neighbors who banded together to create walking groups can continue the healthy habit. It starts with walking one bus stop closer to the school each day of the week.  A single neighborhood parent can walk or bike with the kids to their neighbors’ bus stop, and another take it from there. Have the school celebrate the number of combustion-engine-free miles and log them with Jenny Slepian, Lake Oswego’s management and sustainability fellow.

During the recently concluded “LO Commute Challenge,” the total estimated CO2 saved by replacing car trips during the challenge was 4,759 pounds.

Let’s celebrate the sustained effort, not the “one and done.” The environmentalists and our kids’ future employers would agree.

Carolyn J. Heymann is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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