Alternative Fuel and Transportation Bike route

Published on April 9th, 2012 | by Vivian Nelson Melle

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How Exercise Helps the Environment

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Exercise is a foundation helping pave the way to great environmental change. It starts small and quietly, but quickly, builds into monumental differences in our lives. While walking, jogging and cycling are wonderful for heart health and overall fitness, they also have a lasting impact on green living.

Here are a few ways exercise helps the Environment.

bike routes

More bicyclists mean better bike paths.

Better Bike Paths Mean Cleaner Air

In most of the world bikes are a common transport. In smaller towns across Europe carpool lanes are less common than seeing a handful of locals cycling. Some cities are trying to follow this example and in a world where cars are king, cyclists need a safety revamp to take the lead. Many cyclists report they would ride to work and around town more if they had better bike paths. KPBS reported on this issue in La Jolla, Ca where one of the city’s council members admitted, “Many of my friends are afraid of riding in high-speed traffic.” In downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row in Arizona a petition voices the need for bike paths and has the support of several local businesses, their workers and customers. People want to bike to work and to their favorite local eateries but they need to feel safe doing so. When more people bike, the demand for change is greater and more likely to occur. Give them the paths and we’re put on a road to cleaner air.

{cc photo courtesy of sfgamchick on Flickr}

two pedestrians walking

Two pedestrians walking.

If You Build Paths, They Will Come

It’s just like the baseball diamond in the corn field, if you create pedestrian paths in busy areas, they will get used. When safe and well-maintained paths are available, people are more willing to take a walk to their local grocer, restaurant or event. Any time you get people walking over taking their car is a major dent in carbon emissions. Since shorter car trips have the most negative impact on the environment, it’s the perfect place to start.  Setting up clean and accessible pedestrian paths can lead to more walkers versus drivers. Even well maintained, safe residential sidewalks are enough to make a difference. Trees, sustainable greenery and art are just a few ways to entice walkers.

{cc photo courtesy of cabbit  on Flickr}

downtown farmer's market at public square

Downtown farmer's market at Public Square in Cleveland

Increased Fitness Can Lead to Support for Local Farms

Anyone who’s been on a diet knows that a cookie looks much less attractive after workout. People living a healthier lifestyle find themselves less likely to buy processed  or fast foods. Instead, they go for homemade meals with a higher content of grains, vegetables and fruits. Enter the farmer’s market and Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA). After documentaries like Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives people are looking for good wholesome foods and the farmer’s market is a great place to get start. This creates a positive cycle of healthy eating and fitness. Farmer’s markets and CSAs use local farms to fill consumers need for produce, dairy and bakery items. Buying local means less transportation than the carbon waste of traditional supermarkets which can receive produce shipped across the country. It’s better for the environment, better for local economies and it helps people stay on their fitness trek.

{cc photo courtesy of Edsel L on Flickr}

family bicycling

Family bicycling

Model Fitness for Children and They’ll Continue

While parenting books are big business for publishers and they needn’t be. Children learn so much from watching and taking in their environments and the people in their lives. Children with parents who read become readers themselves. Likewise, children with active parents are more willing to stay active. Seeing parents use alternative transportation may increase their desire to bike or walk to their own destinations. Make the changes and children will follow.

Is helping the environment an issue that has helped you become more fit? What other forms or fitness can help Mother Earth?

 



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About the Author

Vivian Nelson Melle is a former educator and community counselor who decided to follow her dream of writing. She balances work to home school her daughter and enjoy crafting, photography, gardening, natural healing, cooking and anything that helps heal the earth and its inhabitants. She also writes for Green Living Ideas, Ecolocalizer, Mamita’s Creations and Phoenix Neighborhood Blogger. She is a writer for hire with a soft spot in her heart for non-profits and indie businesses.



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