Bicycle Diaries: California traffic taming

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California traffic taming

high school bikers
tackle climate change

From the BBC, 11 July 07:
While the federal government has refused to impose nationwide targets, local communities are taking action themselves. Sonoma's Climate Protection Campaign (CPC) is aware that to reach its objective, the county has to act on every level - not least in schools.

"It's young people that have to take on the burden of this issue," says Jessica Kellett, co-ordinator of the CPC's Cool Schools
programme. "We need to have young people to be leaders today - not just to be educated but to understand how to start engaging with elected officials, with their parents, because we need to be taking action now."

Analy High School challenged students to reduce their emissions, primarily by changing the way they got to school. By promoting walking, biking and car-pooling, they reduced single-passenger car journeys by 21%.

"When you're at school you get your licence, so you want to hop in the car and drive everywhere," says 17-year-old Christine Byrne, who does her best to resist the temptation and cycle whenever possible. "Through the educational programmes that we've begun, like
Cool Schools, people are becoming more aware. It's slowly beginning to grab more people."

Nicole Caughell, 18, helped implement a similar programme at
Windsor High School. "It's pretty cool, it seems really revolutionary - we're the ones spearheading this issue, while still in high school," she says. "There's a lot of people out there who are listening to us and trying to make a change because of what we're doing. We're really being the example."

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