With the kids out of school and two months to fill, summer in Toronto always meant a lot of driving to me, as I sought out fun ways to keep them entertained. There are different splash pads and parks and farmer's markets to explore. Plus, the big attractions like the Zoo and CNE to enjoy.
And while I'm grateful that I've never had to spend the summer commuting to work, as any urbanite knows, sitting in traffic and construction are sure things in the city, no matter the time of day.
Another sure thing about city summers is smog and heat alerts.
By 11 am some days, it's simply too hot and hazy to stay outdoors, and I'd pack the kids up to head home before breathing became uncomfortable. As I drove home in the stop-and-go traffic, watching the heat seem to radiate visibly off the asphalt, I was aware that our daily outings were contributing to the problem.
Driving really adds up. Did you know:
- On average, households spend 15 percent of their budget on personal transportation
- Transportation in Canada accounts for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions
- Average commute times in major urban centres are increasing
- If you own a car, it’s likely that almost half of your greenhouse gas emissions come from driving.
One of the ways, urban moms can help to improve air quality for our kids (and the planet) is to take the Smart Drive Challenge. It's good for the environment and our pocketbooks.
Efficient driving is one of the most cost-effective methods to achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
The Challenge, launched by Scout Environmental, encourages drivers to change their driving habits by learning how to reduce fuel use, related greenhouse gas emissions and costs. Drivers will use a telematics device, like a Fitbit for cars (so neat!!), to track their individual driving habits and be encouraged to make simple corrections and adjustments to their driving behaviour.
After all, you can't improve what you don't track.
Earlier this year, our contributor, Emma, found this to be true when she test-drove a hybrid for a week. She made significant improvements in her driving habits when it was tracked and learned how to drive smarter.
Sign up for the Smart Drive Challenge
The Smart Drive Challenge will help you do the same. This is the final week for people in Toronto, GTA, and Hamilton to register at SmartDriveChallenge.ca. Participants receive a $50 Visa card.
Sign up to take the Smart Drive Challenge. Learn how to improve your driving habits and contribute to changes that will help your children breathe easier while enjoying summer in the city.