ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Pedaling away from the health care crisis

March 31st, 2011 by Dave · 2 Comments

A friend just sent me this article in Grist about how cycling can help in America’s health care crisis. One paragraph in particular caught my attention:

A recent analysis of the health savings resulting from the bicycle infrastructure in Portland, Ore, came up with stunning results. If the city builds out only the infrastructure it currently plans, the researcher found, it will break even by 2015. By 2030, Portland will have saved $800 million — partly in fuel costs but primarily in health care and the value of reduced mortality. For every $1 we spend, $5 is saved.

It’s interesting to me how frequently right actions have this kind of synergy. Biking is not only cheaper than driving a car, it’s better for your health and better for the environment — just like drinking water, eating plants, and shopping less. This would be a great addition to a unit on health as it might introduce an angle that students have not thought of. To deepen the critical thinking aspect, you could ask them to talk or write about why these types of positive behaviors are not more encouraged by the media or made more convenient by the government.

Thanks Jane

Tags: blog · climate change · global issues activities · health · reading · statistics · the environment

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Khalid // Mar 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Perhaps also have students reflect on the role of different forms of transportation in their lives, any changes they have experienced or witnessed, and how they have perceived these changes? The thought is a little specific – I just think of my transition from a bicycle-commuter to a car-commuter and how that changed me physically and mentally (and how I was always in a rush!).

    Working on getting back to the bike…

  • 2 Dave // Mar 31, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    A car-commuter? Say it ain’t so! 🙂

    Good luck getting back on the bike. Some days, my bike-commute is the one saving grace of my job.

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