Sustainable Transportation Week - September 16-22 2013

Sustainable Transportation Week - September 16-22 2013

What is the connection between sports, children with separated parents, and saving the environment?

Over the past several decades, study after study has demonstrated that children with separated parents participate in sports much less than their peers. One of the primary reasons is because their parenting plans (the schedule and rules around living at each of their parent’s homes) clash with the schedules of the local sports team. For instance, if a child is living on a week to week schedule (one week at mom’s house and one week at dad’s house), then both the child’s house holds have to be accommodating to a soccer practice on any given day. Unfortunately, with busy lives, perhaps other step-siblings and half-siblings at one or both of the houses, things get complicated and what day works for one house may not work for the other.

To address this scheduling problem with an aim to get more children with separated parents involved with sports, and also reduce conflict between households, a group of five lawyers in Carleton Place, Ontario launched an experiment. They all promoted the same parenting plan to their separating and divorcing clients with children. The schedule is based upon a split week schedule whereby one parent has every Monday and Tuesday with a child, the other parent has every Wednesday and Thursday with a child, and the parents alternate Friday from the end of school through Monday morning at the beginning of school. Each household has autonomy to schedule their own activities on their own days.

After two years, what has become the Fair Parenting Project (http://fairparenting.com) a substantial number of children in the region on the same parenting schedule. This now allows daycares, school bus services and children’s activities – especially sports – to include the common parenting schedule into their own policies and schedules. For instance, the school bus service in Carleton Place will pick-up and deliver a child on the Fair Parenting schedule at each of their homes.

There are benefits to sports teams as well. Coaches and volunteers do not have to act as mini-mediators resolving scheduling issues between separated parents. Time and stress is avoided by having only one household to contact. This is one of the reasons that sports teams have been so receptive to the Fair Parenting Project’s initiative.

Families who switched to the Fair Parenting Plan have all of the parenting exchanges done at school (with one parent getting the child to school and the other parent picking the child up after school). This removes any need for an evening or weekend exchange as is done in most other parenting plans. Parents and children save wasted time, children avoid being exposed to conflict, and there is less driving being done in our communities.

For Sustainable Transportation Week, we have done a calculation based on a sample of Ottawa parents that have switched the Fair Parenting schedule and saved driving time.

The chart below demonstrates the annual savings in money and carbon. Even taking into account a child’s new activities (based upon community ‘house league’ activities) there is a notable savings for each family. Compound that hundreds time over, the savings for a community is fantastic!

 

 

Weekly Driving

             
 

Exchange Driving KM

Activity KMs

Total

Average L/100 km

Total L

Cost per L

Total Cost per Year

Carbon / Liter

Grammes of Carbon / Year

                   

Usual Parenting Plan

22.3

 

22.3

11

2.45

1.31

$167.10

2392

305114

Fair Parenting Plan no Extra Sports

   

0

11

0.00

1.31

$0.00

2392

0

                   

Fair Parenting Plan 1 New Sport / 1 Child

 

2

2

11

0.22

1.31

$14.99

2392

27364

Fair Parenting Plan 1 New Sport / 2 Children

3.1

3.1

11

0.34

1.31

$23.23

2392

42415

Fair Parenting Plan 1 New Sport / 3 Children

4.5

4.5

11

0.50

1.31

$33.72

2392

61570

Fair Parenting Plan 1 New Sport / 4 Children

5.7

5.7

11

0.63

1.31

$42.71

2392

77989

                   

Implications for 2 Sports/Activities for Each Child

               

Fair Parenting Plan 2 New Sports / 1 Child

 

4.1

4.1

11

0.45

1.31

$30.72

2392

56097

Fair Parenting Plan 2 New Sports / 2 Children

6.2

6.2

11

0.68

1.31

$46.46

2392

84830

Fair Parenting Plan 2 New Sports / 3 Children

9.3

9.3

11

1.02

1.31

$69.69

2392

127245

Fair Parenting Plan 2 New Sports / 4 Children

12.3

12.3

11

1.12

1.31

$76.17

2392

139084

                   
                   

* Average Sample Driving savings - Measured with Google Maps

             

** Carbon data and average North American Car fuel economy from Wikipedia

         

 

We are excited to explore this environmental aspect of the Fair Parenting Project further. Any students, environmentalists or groups that would like to help with the research are invited to contact Eric Letts at eric@fairparenting.com.

 

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