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Idling and kids

Climate change is an issue that everyone is aware of. Left unchecked, our children and grandchildren face a bleak future, so for their sake we need to do everything in our power to help. One of the easiest actions we can take is to avoid idling.

Did you know that 10 minutes of idling produces one pound of CO2, the principal greenhouse gas linked to climate change? And if drivers of light duty vehicles in Canada collectively avoided idling by only three minutes a day, 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions would be prevented? But those aren’t the only reasons to say no to idling. Vehicle emissions produce other contaminants, like volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen. These critical air contaminants contribute to air pollution and smog, which can have a negative effect on people’s health, especially those with respiratory problems, the elderly, and children.

Children are particularly vulnerable to idling emissions:

  • They breathe more rapidly, so their lungs absorb more of the contaminates

  • They are closer to the ground, where emissions are more concentrated (think car and bus tailpipes);

  • Their brains and bodies are still developing, so their cognitive abilities can be adversely affected.

Now picture the scene at a typical school just before the final bell: row upon row of vehicles and school buses, all waiting for their children, and all idling. And when these children exit the school and run to their waiting parents, they run straight into a toxic cloud of exhaust. Not a healthy environment.

Idling poses a double threat to children – it has a negative effect on their health now, and on their future due to climate change, which vehicle emissions contribute to. Therefore, the next time you are tempted to idle, I urge you to think about the welfare of our children, and remember everyone has a right to clean air.

Kelly Eydt is a concerned grandparent and volunteer with Climate Network Lanark – a grassroots organization that brings people together to take action on climate in Lanark County and Smiths Falls. If you have an idea that you want to get off the ground or would like to join their volunteer team, contact info@climatenetworklanark.ca. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram

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