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June 01, 2008  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

We give a hoot

by Thomas McMahon, Executive Editor


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It’s hard to go anywhere or do anything these days without coming across some sort of “go green” message.

On TV, you might see a Good Morning America segment on which light bulb or refrigerator you should buy to reduce power usage.

At your local grocery store, maybe you’ve seen a display offering reusable canvas shopping totes to replace paper and plastic bags.

And on the road, you’ve certainly followed a car whose bumper sticker politely asked that you “Save the Planet!” or, better yet, “Give a Hoot — Don’t Pollute!”

SCHOOL BUS FLEET hasn’t shied away from this topic. As you may have already noticed, we have coverage in this issue of alternative fuels that are increasingly being embraced by the school bus industry — including biodiesel, propane, CNG and hybrid-electric technology.

The green crusade appears to be more widespread than ever, and the school bus industry is in a good position to benefit from it.

Yellow and green
Earlier this spring, industry officials took an interesting angle in the ongoing quest to promote pupil transportation.

In conjunction with Earth Week, the American School Bus Council (ASBC) distributed a press release that touted the green benefits of using school buses.

The council pointed out that model year 2007 school buses are 60 times cleaner than those built before 1990. Also, school bus operators have retrofitted more than 12,000 school buses with emissions-reduction technology since 2003 through the EPA’s Clean School Bus USA grant program.

NAPT and the ASBC also issued three public service announcements (PSAs) to be aired by radio stations during Earth Week. The spots target high school students who drive themselves to school.

“If you’re concerned about the environment and you’re in high school, listen up,” one of the PSAs urges. “Want to make a real difference? Leave your car at home and take the school bus. You’ll save gas, reduce pollution and traffic congestion, and save money, too.”

Teen appeal
School buses haven’t traditionally been associated with environmentalism. Nor have most teens considered the school bus a “cool” way to get to and from school. But those perspectives could change, and the ASBC has identified a promising approach.

Concern for the environment seems to be growing among youths today. Celebrity-fueled campaigns such as last year’s Live Earth, which staged worldwide concerts that were as much calls to action as they were entertainment, have surely won many young converts to the green movement.

That’s not to say that teens just do whatever their favorite pop stars tell them to do. Young people can recognize an important cause. But it does show how much is being invested in reaching out to the next generation.

After all, today’s children will be tomorrow’s leaders. Let’s do what we can to ensure that, a few decades from now, they’ll start putting their own children on the school bus. And that when those kids are old enough to drive themselves, they’ll choose to go green by going yellow.

 


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