When we asked the high school students in our Gulf of Maine Field Studies class to stop “Boomer blaming” and tell us what they could do right now, today to impact climate change, they came up with an easy answer. Ride the bus. Why? There are plenty of reasons, but here’s just a few…
- Every school bus on the road does the work of 36 cars, while doing far less harm to the environment than those 36 cars would on their own.
- In a single year, US school buses prevent 62 million miles of unnecessary driving. That’s 2.6 billion gallons of gasoline saved, as well as more than 56 billion pounds of carbon dioxide not sent into the atmosphere.
- Each school bus carries an average of 54 students, whereas the average number of students transported per car if a bus is not available is only 1.5. School buses save the US over 3 billion gallons of fuel each year.
- Without buses, the average family car would drive an extra 3,900 miles annually to drop off students at school.
What #ridetoslowtherise means…
Ride the bus to slow the rise of carbon emissions in your state! The campaign centers around a one-day event where all the students in a district try to take the bus in hopes of it sparking a movement to ride the bus more regularly. More bus riding means less carbon emissions in your community.
How our #ridetoslowtherise program was structured…
We engaged a classroom of high school students to spend their semester creating the #ridetoslowtherise campaign. They met 2-3 times a week with the end goal of promoting and launching a statewide day to ride the bus.
Note: Our class was on track to launch their Ride to Slow the Rise day on 4/15/20, one week before the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. However, due to COVID-19 we had to cancel the campaign.
How to get started…
1. Challenge your classroom, climate change or environmental student group to start their own #ridetoslowtherise initiative and choose a day to work towards promoting and launching a ride the bus takeover! To make it unique to you, add a state abbreviation or other community nod to the hashtag. E.g. @ridetoslowtheriseNH | #ridetoslowtheriseNH
2. Have the students self-identify and group themselves into working teams, such as:
- Communications (social media platforms, website, powerpoint slides for presentations)
- Outreach Team (school and school district/superintendent outreach, local politicians, media & news outlets)
- Swag (stickers and signage to help promote the campaign)
- Creative (logo for your initiative, content creation)
- Analytics team (come up with a measurement of success for the campaign)
Note: it’s helpful to have adult mentors that are skilled in similar areas of the above groups as the kids run into questions.
3. Assign regular tasks, check-ins and presentations with students to review their progress.
4. All hands on deck for launch day!
Best Ways For Integrating the Campaign into Your Community…
- Secure support from your principal and superintendent
- Schedule a meeting to present to the school board
- Reach out to local politicians for them to share the campaign via their email lists and social media platforms
- Get middle school students and parents involved by having high school students contact middle school principals and schedule presentation dates
Gulf of Maine Field Studies Classroom #RidetoSlowtheRise Case Study Links for Download…
The students worked incredibly hard to produce the following assets. We hope these help activate your own #RidetoSlowtheRise movement at your school or school district!