America is a country that has forgotten how to walk; The United States walks the least of any industrialized nation. Since the US has an uncommon commitment to the car, walking has become a lost mode and engineered out of existence. As reported in the Atlantic in January, the numbers starkly illustrate America's paucity of walking experience:
In 1973, sixty percent of American kids walked to school; by 2006, that portion had dropped to a paltry 13 percent. As a sign that times have changed, a story surfaced a few years ago that a mom and her 12-year-old son in Saratoga Springs, New York, were actually forbidden to ride bikes together to the son's school, even on a bike path separated from car traffic. On the other side of the country, Laguna Beach refused to join over 400 California communities participating in International Walk to School Day, a supervised event, because "there are few sidewalks, winding roads with blind corners and a considerable distance for our students to travel and we cannot endorse walking or biking to school."
And this lack of walking can't just be seen as the march of progress. In fact, it undergirds a larger, more sinister trend: the increasing numbers of obesity and heart disease. Read more about how we can possibly address this worrying trend here.