Big yellow buses - they're practically a symbol of school.
Maybe you remember these buses from back when you went to school - the low thrum of the engine as it came down the street, the screech of the braking, or the warm chemical stink of the exhaust on cold mornings as you waited your turn to get on. Or maybe you put your own kids on one of these big yellow diesel school bus in the morning.
Of course these buses have changed some over the years, but not that much. What has changed is that we know much more about the impact of diesel school buses on our children's health and our climate - and that we now have better alternatives.
Electric school buses are better for our kids' health
Diesel exhaust contains toxic compounds and particulate matter including benzene, nitrous oxides, ozone and PM2.5s. Exposure to many of these compounds is known to cause short and long term health impacts such as headaches, worsening of asthma, and an increased risk of cancer. Children are especially vulnerable because of their developing lungs and higher breathing rates.
Diesel school buses increase our children's exposure to diesel exhaust in a number of ways. Studies have shown that pollutant levels inside the school bus can be higher than outside, as exhaust is sucked directly into the bus. Pollutant levels can also be higher in schoolyards and even inside schools when buses are arriving, leaving, or idling. Diesel buses also contribute to air pollution in communities.
Electric buses do not have an internal combustion engine - that means no tailpipe and no toxic fumes. Switching to electric buses improves air quality for kids and communities.
Electric school buses are better for our climate
Unlike diesel buses, electric buses do not run on fossil fuel or emit greenhouse gases when running.
With the effects of climate change becoming more apparent every year, we know we need to reduce our GHG emissions as fast as we can. Switching to electric vehicles - including electric school buses - is an essential step. Each electric school bus saves from 17 to 20 tons of CO2e a year.
We want to see electric school buses in every school district in Canada, at every school, and in every community. And we want you to join us to make this happen.
The good news is change is already afoot. Electric school buses are being trialed in many parts of Canada. Some provinces (like PEI and Quebec) have committed to the electrification of sizeable portions of their school bus fleets. But all across the country we need that switch to happen as quickly as possible. We need decision makers - from school board members to our MLAs and MPPs - to know that this issue is important to us.
Because school bus policies and funding differs provincially, tactics will change across Canada.
Charging ahead - with Our Electric School Bus Campaign
From BC? Find BC specific information here,
Looking for resources? Find infographics, colouring sheets, and more on our resource page.
Detailed health, climate and finance information? See backgrounder here.
For information on actions to take in other parts of Canada, check back here soon or drop us a line at [email protected]forourkids.ca.