Earth Day Canada has launched its 2024 campaign spotlighting active and public transport. The campaign, created by Sid Lee, features an animated character promoting an active lifestyle, inspiring Canadians to opt for active and public transport solutions beyond Earth Day. Accessible on digital platforms, radio, and TV, the campaign runs until April 22 with the aim to reduce the environmental impact of daily commutes.

“Transform your commute into an opportunity to cultivate healthy habits and embrace sustainable lifestyle,” said Valérie Mallamo, executive director of Earth Day Canada. “If you find the infrastructure in your area less than ideal, fear not—there’s a wealth of alternatives at your disposal. From leveraging public transport to joining a carpool, every choice you make contributes to a healthier planet. Remember, celebrating Earth Day isn’t just a once-a-year commitment; it’s a daily dedication to our planet’s well-being!”

Moreover, Earth Day Canada hopes that employers and municipalities will help facilitate and endorse active and public transportation, advocating for a sustainable shift not just on Earth Day, but all year round.

recent survey by Ipsos, commissioned by Earth Day Canada, reveals that while many Canadians are behind the wheel for their daily commute, a considerable number are open to more sustainable alternatives:

● while 54 per cent of employed Canadians drive to work, there’s a strong inclination towards eco-friendlier commuting methods;
● 76 per cent of employed Canadians express a preference for walking or biking;
● More than half (66 per cent) would like to use a greener way to commute;
● 67 per cent of employed respondents are willing to engage in employer organized carpooling initiatives on Earth Day, with 49 per cent open to participating in these programs if they were available year-round.

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Corporate commitment

The findings suggest a potential role for employers in addressing climate change through the promotion of sustainable commuting practices. Strategies for employers could include offering subsidies for monthly transit passes or bicycle maintenance, and encouraging carpooling, particularly in rural areas where access to active and public transportation may be restricted.

Many of these strategies are already being deployed by organizations such as at Ernst & Young Canada EY Canada.

“We believe that every organization has an obligation to foster environmental stewardship. Through a collaborative endeavor with Earth Day Canada, we’re thrilled to introduce our Sustainable Mobility Challenge,” said Laura Schlee, corporate responsibility leader at Ernst & Young Canada.

“Over the next month, we’re inviting our employees to embrace greener commuting options by leveraging Rideshark, an innovative app that facilitates ride-sharing and public transit use, while tracking their eco-friendly journeys. It’s through initiatives like these that we hope to inspire a lasting shift towards more sustainable transportation habits among our people.”

Municipal commitment

For the fourth consecutive year, Earth Day Canada’s Committed Municipalities project strengthens partnerships with municipalities across the nation. Launched in 2020, this initiative has rallied over 150 municipalities committed to enhancing environmental conservation and sustainable transportation. This enduring collaboration highlights a unified dedication to ecological stewardship and the advancement of green mobility solutions nationwide.

“Active and public transportation are the linchpins for the sustainable evolution of our urban and rural communities. Embracing these eco-friendly transportation modes transcends environmental responsibility, fostering a move towards more cohesive and healthier societies,” said Stéphane Boyer, Mayor of Laval and national spokesperson for the Earth Day 2024 campaign.

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“The commitment to public transit, as well as cycling and pedestrian transit options, represents a vital investment in enhancing the well-being of our present and future generations. The Committed Municipalities project has showcased the concrete benefits of local initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable mobility. Championing these efforts within our towns and cities marks a significant stride towards cultivating a society that prioritizes health and respects our planet.”

Nationwide activities available

Spanning from March 21 to April 22, Canadians embracing sustainable transportation methods such as biking, walking, running, using public transit, or carpooling are invited to register at https://earthday.ca/legday for a chance to win exciting prizes. Participants can also choose to engage through the Strava app by opting into the Earth Day challenge, further amplifying the campaign’s reach.

In addition to a large scale awareness campaign leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd, Earth Day Canada continues to roll out environmental programs and projects with proven positive impacts in areas such as waste management, food waste and sustainable mobility throughout the year.

Featured image credit: TransCanada Trail/Jennifer Mahon

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