For the past 5 years the BC Ministry of Environment and its partners have generously provided funding for the development and operation of HASTe BC. That funding ended on March 31, 2013 and as of October 8th, 2013, further funding for continued provision of HASTe core operations has yet not been approved. Unfortunately, we do not have the internal resources to continue to provide support to your Active School Travel programs beyond the continued operation of the website and existing contracts. For further information contact us at email@example.com, or contact the Ministry directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Passion for Action and HASTe created a special International Walk to School Month (iWalk) edition for the iSchoolTravel Calculator. The calculator is an easy and fun way to explore the impacts of your travel choices to and from school and is a perfect activity to celebrate iWalk Month.
Here are some ideas on how you can use the ischooltravel calculator.
For more details and information on how to collect data using this tool for your community, school or classroom please visit the ischooltravel website.
Last week, HASTe staff attended the 2nd Annual Cycling Action Forum, hosted by TransLink in New Westminster, BC.
The theme for this year's forum was "Cycling – Prescription for a Healthy Mind, Body and Region." Cycling proponents - planners, advocates, researchers, health specialists, etc. - from communities across Metro Vancouver came together for an afternoon of ideas and discussions. The goal: to understand the many health benefits that can be gained from cycling - both by individuals and their communities - and forge partnerships between transportation and health sectors to better communicate these benefits.
Learn more about the forum and what transpired after the break.
The Forum was moderated by Gordon Price and kicked of by Dr. Meghan Winters, who provided and overview of the health impacts - both positive and negative - of cycling. A panel of experts, representing government, academia and public health, weighed in with different perspectives on the issue, leaving the bulk of the afternoon for facilitated discussion on a number of key themes and topics that emerged from the presentations.
Towards the end of the forum it became clear that virtually everyone was in agreement on the links between cycling and positive health outcomes. But there was little agreement and few ideas on how to leverage this connection to strengthen efforts to improve health or encourage cycling. Finally, a decision was made to "strike a committee to further examine the issue and make recommendations on how to move forward." Hopefully, the committee makes progress on the matter in time for next year's event to live up to its billing as a Cycling Action Forum.
The connection between health and transportation has long been overlooked, and Deanna Tan-Francoeur, a Community Health Specialist with Fraser Health, is out to change that.
With so many of our health problems resulting from a lack of activity, the choice to walk or cycle can bring us back to the basics. By teaching healthy active travel habits to our kids, we can help them prevent possible health problems later in life.
Learn more about Deanna's work making the connection between active travel and health after the break.
While education is important in bringing change, Tan-Francoeur notes that it is just one piece of the puzzle. Lasting change requires a supportive environment, supportive policy, and partnerships with the community in addition to education. As the Community Health Specialist in New Westminster, Tan-Francoeur holds a unique place in that her position allows her to work in all four of these pillars, as she fosters a supportive environment through education programs and policy recommendations aimed at creating a healthy city.
“A city designed for pedestrians and cyclists,” says Tan-Francoeur, “makes for a healthier community than one designed for cars.” Knowing that a city based on active transportation can be a difficult concept to grasp in our car-driven, North American culture, she recommends that everyone take the opportunity to travel and see how thing can be. She points out that it takes intentional planning to create a healthy city. “Encouraging more travel by walking and cycling is not something that would be ‘nice’ to do, rather it is something we need to do.”