Climate gets young people interested in transport

Bicycle Network Tasmania staff have put themselves forward as mentors for young people wanting to cut their school’s transport emissions at this year’s Climate Youth Leaders Conference.

This is the second year the conference has been held in Hobart and Bicycle Network was invited along to present a session on how schools can reduce their transport emissions.

Around a dozen secondary schools and colleges were involved in the conference, which encourages students to choose an area of climate action and develop a project which leads to change in their school. 

This year’s most popular project themes were plastic waste reduction and school gardens, although New Town High School decided it wanted to get its students out of cars and get them walking and riding.

Our Ride2School program already calculates average carbon emissions saved when schools enter the data from their Hands Up counts. These counts involve asking students how they got to school that day and lodging the result in the Ride2School database.

We’ll be working with New Town to help the students design, implement and evaluate their project. With traffic congestion around the school at the start and end of the day, the project may end up solving multiple problems.

The school is well situated on the Intercity Cycleway so a concerted effort to encourage walking and riding through the Ride2School program, walking and riding ‘buses’, Ride2School Day and mapping rideable and walkable routes to schools should produce results.

Our Ride2School program currently only operates in primary schools but there is a lot of potential in working with secondary schools.

Secondary school students are more likely to have the road safety smarts and bike skills to ride to school, so safety concerns are less likely to be a barrier for parents. They are also bigger and stronger so can ride longer distances.

The students get six months to deliver their project before returning to the larger group of schools to report back on the outcomes in September this year.

The conference was also held in Launceston and Burnie and is run by Greening Australia’s Education for Sustainability Tasmania with support from the Department of Education.