Schools districts play a role in pollution

Happy belated Earth Day! We hope you got outside this weekend and enjoyed the world around you. Today we’re going to share some important stats and stories from the Environmental Protection Agency and ask you to celebrate Earth Day (or week) with us by considering how schools play a role in greenhouse gas emissions.

Did you know that in 2016 the EPA reported that 28.5% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions came from transportation, making it the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions? It’s true, and maybe you’re thinking 28%? Is that a lot? How does this compare to previous years?

Good question - The number of vehicle miles traveled by light-duty motor vehicles (passenger cars and light-duty trucks) has increased by approximately 45% from 1990 to 2016, and the EPA cites urban sprawl as one of the major contributors to this increase.

But not only is the EPA concerned, as we are, about urban sprawl, but the organization holds schools and school districts responsible for playing a role in increasing pollution. In the EPA funded-research, “From Neighborhood Cornerstone to Engine of Sprawl,” researchers describe the problem this way:

“… A new school on a distant site can act as a growth magnet, helping draw people out of older urban neighborhoods and into new subdivisions on the metropolitan fringe. It is well understood that school quality determines where many families will choose to locate within a region. If new schools are being built on the edge of town and they are perceived to be superior, as new schools often are, then families who can afford the move will often relocate.

Similarly, underperforming schools in older neighborhoods can push families to leave. Even families without school-age children are impacted as school quality has a significant influence on residential property values. Thus, school quality can influence population shifts within a region from the urban core to the periphery, precisely the pattern of urban disinvestment and suburban expansion that troubles smart growth advocates (EPA-specific organization) the most.”

Let’s reverse the cause of the population shifts in our cities by keeping families in urban neighborhoods. How? Learn more here.

{Photography by Rock Tower Photography}