Ann Mack talked to students in the library conference room on April 24 at 7 p.m. about the importance of transportation and how it’s affecting our health and the environment. Mack has always been in the field of education and has raised awareness of the environment.
Since 2006, Mack has been the executive director of Trailnet. She joined the organization in 2000 and held the position of director of programs from 2004-06. Mack is a Webster University alumna and has developed and taught environmental and sustainability courses for Webster’s graduate school for more than 20 years. She teaches the Foundations course for Webster’s Education for Global Sustainability certificate program.
“Design for cars, you get more cars. Design for people, you get more people,” Mack said.
According to statistics, the more time you spend in a car, the higher your chance of being obese or having diseases related to obesity, such as heart disease or diabetes.
“Just being active is better for you,” Mack said. “Activity is actually more important than your weight. It’s a higher indicator of health.”
Mack said data shows that both young and old alike tend to be less excited about driving than in the past.
“Statistically, people are waiting longer to get their driver’s license,” Mack said. “A year and a half longer. That’s significant in terms of data.”
While Mack says that is good news for the environment, she said roads are still being built as if there are more and more drivers.
Mack showed a picture of a road that had virtually no sidewalks for pedestrians to use. As time progressed, the road began to have sidewalks and trees, which was important because it helped drivers to drive slower.
“Trees are one of the most important elements you can add to a road to build a community,” Mack said. “The reason, scientifically, is that you see things passing in your peripheral and your subconscious says, ‘Slow down.’”
Matt Shepard, a graduate education major came to the event as part of his Foundations of Global Citizenship class.
“The reason I don’t walk is because my street is not really walking friendly,” said Shepard.
Shepard said he would like to own a bike one day and is close enough to Webster to ride to classes.