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An active body makes for an active mind. And whilst we have been confined to our homes, finding ways to stay active has been a challenge in itself. But green initiatives up and down the country are hoping to change this. The return of Sustrans annual campaign The Big Pedal is encouraging school pupils, staff and parents to get up and get moving. The competition challenges schools to take up cycling to and from school, rather than driving.

Some concerns have been raised as to whether campaigns such as The Big Pedal are a good idea whilst there are still partial Covid-19 restrictions. But the organisers have assured parents, staff and pupils that there are many ways to be active, whilst also being Covid safe.

What is The Big Pedal?

The Big Pedal has been running for 11 years, and continues to grow each year. So far this year 2219 schools have registered and 9,561,337 pupils are taking part in the two-week competition.

Current Covid-19 restrictions have meant that this year’s organisers have chosen a more flexible approach to the competition. To be suitable for situations where pupils are learning remotely, a 30 minute journey or session of physical activity done at home will count as one journey.

This year, Sustran are encouraging pupils to see their surroundings from a different perspective. They are also inviting schools to join a fundraising event on the last day of the competition. Named the ‘Amazing Me’ fundraising day, pupils and staff are encouraged to raise money by dressing in non-school uniform to help The Big Pedal continue each year.

What are the incentives?

To further motivate staff, teachers and pupils, there will be a range of prizes up for grabs. To keep it fair, the winning groups of the 5-day challenges will be based on percentages rather than numbers. There will also be daily winners that will be chosen at random from all participating groups who have recorded over 15% of their students cycling or walking.

To win prizes, schools or class groups must log what percentage of school runs were cycled or scooted each day. The prizes that encourage environmentally friendly behaviour range from  scooters to air quality measurement systems.

What are the wider benefits?

To move towards a sustainable future, we must all work together to identify areas that can be improved. Transport is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the UK. It is for this reason that environmentally friendly travel should be encouraged in all areas of the country.

During national lockdowns carbon emissions were at an all time low. But since we have started easing back into normality, emissions are now surpassing pre-lockdown levels. To tackle these numbers, we must consciously shift towards more sustainable ways to live day-to-day.

Championing green transport comes with many benefits for the world around us. Eco-systems are responsible for the quality of our food, air and water. So, maintaining their health is vital. And, greener travel boosts bio-diversity through less noise and air pollution as well as the reduction of emissions. Choosing to walk, cycle, carpool or catch public transport could make a huge impact on your carbon footprint and the world around us.

What can Monarch do to help?

As we strive towards net zero, it is essential that we all lower our carbon emissions. And we are here to help.

At Monarch, we focus on helping clients become as sustainable as possible. Drawing on our years of experience, our expert team are on hand to find ways of cutting your consumption, and in turn your impact on the environment.

Get in touch to hear how we can help you start your journey to sustainability.

Sophie Wyatt

Author Sophie Wyatt

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