Published on Sustainable Cities

Celebrating Earth Month…One step at a time

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Happy Earth Month from the Sustainable Cities team! While Earth Day isn’t until April 22nd, we must spend some time this month to think about what this celebration of the natural environment means for us, staunch urbanites.

Like many environmental initiatives, Earth Day was actually proclaimed by a city – San Francisco, California - and the occasion was celebrated with other US cities in 1970. Earth Day went international in 1990, and now it’s celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.

What can you do? It doesn’t have to be grand and it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Just take a small step every day... literally.  As sustainable city-philes, one thing we can do is commit to leaving our cars at home this month (or week) and walk, bike, or take public transportation to work (taxis don’t count!).

Here’s my resolution: Since I’m fortunate enough to already walk to work every day, I’m resolving to take no trips by car or taxi this month – I’ll stick with the Metro and the bus.

What’s the big deal with walking? Walking offers benefits not only for the environment, but also for our communities, our bottom lines, and our…bottoms. According to

  • A study by the University of Utah found that the average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs 6-10 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood.
  • Cities with good public transit and access to amenities promote happiness.
  • Cars are the second largest household expense in the United States.
  • Studies show that for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10%.

Now it’s your turn: This challenge to walk more for Earth Month/Week/Day may not be doable for everybody, depending on where you live. But it’s not the only option. What simple change can you make? Add your comment and give us all some good ideas for making our cities – and our planet – more sustainable!


Artessa Saldivar-Sali

Senior Infrastructure Specialist, World Bank

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