Thursday, November 23, 2006

C100 and 92 CJCH Radio set to help clear the air for kids in Halifax

November 23, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (To hear the radio spots, click on the video below)

C100FM, 92 CJCH and The Children’s Clean Air Network (CCAN) are joining forces to help clear the air for kids across Halifax. The CHUM radio stations have a strong track record in supporting children’s causes, including the C100 IWK Radiothon, the C100 Annual Toy Drive, and the 92 CJCH Hats and Mitts for Kids campaign.

“The leading reason for hospital visits by kids in Nova Scotia is asthma. Motorists need to know that if they stop idling whenever they can, it’ll have a dramatic effect in cleaning up our air and reducing asthma attacks for kids across Halifax,” says Terry Williams, Program Director for C100 and 92 CJCH.

“Our listeners are a natural fit for The Children’s Clean Air Network public service campaign. Many of them are mothers with children. When they hear the voice of the young girl in these spots asking her mother to stop her engine, to clear the air, save money and resources, we’re confident they’ll respond,” says Williams.

“C100 and 92 CJCH are in a unique position to have a huge impact on this issue,” says Ron Zima of The Children’s Clean Air Network. “Many folks often idle their vehicles while listening to the radio. It’s the ideal medium for the message and the radio stations’ reach is wide, particularly with women who have children,” Zima says.

A campaign of pre-produced public service announcements will begin airing on C100 and 92 CJCH in January after the busy Christmas season. Other cross-promotional activity with the radio stations is planned as well.

(To hear the radio spots, click on the video below)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mothers, the media and The Children’s Clean Air Network

How would mothers would react if they saw a group of other adults smoking outside an elementary school? What if mothers were reminded of the fact that their car exhaust can be far worse on little lungs? What would they do?

The challenge is in reaching as many mothers as possible.

Mothers and the media are very important to The Children’s Clean Air Network. That’s why I’ll be pleased to appear on an upcoming installment of “Just Between Us” on CJCH radio.

Protecting their children’s welfare and air is a hot issue for moms everywhere. The challenge is getting them (like the rest of us) to remember to shut off their cars whenever possible.

HRM has had surveys done in which people said that poor air quality was a key concern and that 80 per cent of people would stop idling if they were reminded. That’s why print and broadcast media is so important. It’s part of the mix to reach as many people as possible to remind them about turning off their car or truck whenever parked.

That simple act alone, done together as citizens—mothers and fathers across Halifax, would save 5 million litres of fuel and avoid pumping 10,000 tonnes of CO2 and other bad elements into our kids’ air. And that’s if everyone avoided idling when parked for just 10 minutes per day. You’ll see lots of people and business fleets idling for much longer than that.

The Children’s Clean Air Network has received media exposure in The Chronicle Herald, The Halifax Daily News, The Bedford Sackville Weekly News, CBC Radio’s Mainstreet, and Live at Five on CTV.

Constant reminders in the media are critically important. Soon, The Children’s Clean Air Network will begin airing a series of compelling public service announcements featuring kids, on participating radio stations. It’s intended to reach idling moms and dads on their
car radios.

We’re pleased to report that 920 CJCH radio will soon talk about the issue for mothers. It’s hosted by three moms who relate to women on many hot topics. Click on their photo below to see upcoming program details.

Another great example of a mother in action, a mother who won’t rest, a mother who’s thinking about her kids’ future all of the time, is Anna-Maria Galante…who’s captured media attention of her own. Visit her blog here.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Filtres for dirty buses

School bus and large diesel vehicle exhaust can be a toxic source of bad air, particularly for young kids. The effect of these emissions on small lungs (never mind adults) can be catastrophic. They’re blamed for a host of children’s illnesses, from asthma to cancer.

The good news is that the school bus fleet operated by Stock Transportation across Halifax Regional Municipality has just been replaced with many newer buses with cleaner exhaust.

The bad news: look at all the older "smoking" diesel trucks and buses still out there. You'll want to avoid following one in traffic, if you can help it. Especially if your child in the back seat is asthmatic.

To look into the future of where Halifax may be headed in eventually addressing this problem, read how one school district in Massachusetts is retrofitting its’ school bus fleet with filters. The impact on kids’ health and the environment is expected to be dramatic. Read the story here.

To read more about the filtering technology available, visit here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The garage test

The STOP YOUR ENGINES campaign for me really started in earnest when I started talking to the kids at the elementary school in our subdivision.

I had done some basic research on idling and had simplified the presentation for the grade fours, fives and sixes. Kids love imagining pictures in their heads, so I used statistics that would easily create images for them.

That’s when the size of the problem really hit home for me. I’ll never forget the statistic from the federal government that states: “the average motorist traveling 20,000 km a year puts out 4 ½ tons carbon dioxide a year…or, about 3 x the weight of your car!”

I created the slide to provide the picture for the kids’ imaginations. I still didn’t really quite believe it myself. Until almost a year later.

I was backing my car into my garage, when I left the engine on for just a few extra seconds. When I got out and around my vehicle, I was overcome by the heaviness and sour taste of the air. The garage door was still open. And I was driving a new, highly efficient subcompact.

I now believe that statistic.

Try it yourself. If you have a garage, check to see what the air’s like in that confined space after only a few seconds. It’s unbelievable. For me, it reinforced the urge to turn my car off every chance I get.

Visit Natural Resources Canada's IDLE-FREE ZONE here.
Visit The David Suzuki Foundation's Drive Smart site here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The perfect way to approach people on STOPPING THEIR ENGINES.

There’s a lot of underlying support for the idea of cutting back on idling in Halifax Regional Municipality. HRM has had surveys done in which people said that poor air quality was a key concern and that 80 per cent of people would stop idling if they were reminded.

Many grown ups are uncomfortable approaching other adults to ask them to shut their car off when they’re parked. I know—I started out that way myself. Until the notion of this simple tool came along.

Try printing off your own IDLE FREE hundred dollar bills. Simply walk up to someone idling and ask them: “how would you like some free gas money?” About 98 per cent of the time their eyes light up and they say “sure!” Hand them this hundred dollar bill. Nine times out of ten, a wry smile comes across their face as they turn their car off.

Often times they say, “hey, this is a great idea. Thanks for reminding me. I keep forgetting.” The kids’ artwork on the front reinforces how important an issue poor air quality is for kids.

Click on the hundred dollar bill for your two-sided bills featuring idling myths.

If you want to see the IDLE FREE BUCKS work almost 100 per cent of the time, have your child present the bill to the person idling. You’ll be touched by the response. They’re humbled by the realization that a member of a future generation is asking them to consider their present habits.

*****ONLINE EXTRA Going green or clean isn’t just for “tree-huggers” anymore. It’s mainstream politics and business in the U.S.

Read the BusinessWeek article about how the U.S. Congress is poised to leave Canada in its dust with landmark legislation on global warming: Global Warming Heats Up Capitol Hill

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why idling??

People often ask me: "why did you pick idling as your issue?" Good question. I can speak from experience, since I used to idle a lot myself.

I started seeing the headlines and cover stories in places like National Geographic (“Global Warning”), Time magazine’s cover (“Be Worried, Be Very Worried”).

It wasn’t so much ME that I was worried about. It was my kids (below). What kind of planet will they get in 10 years? ---what about THEIR kids?

I felt I had to do something. I suspect most Canadians are bewildered right now and many of us are in a state of denial about all the bad news on climate change.

So, just as I needed something to do…mainstream Canadians need something easy to do, to make a difference on climate and the air. The hook is when they start thinking about their kids.

Look into your kids’ eyes and imagine their future if we all do nothing.

Idling is the easiest thing to do to make a big difference when you’re outside your home. It’s the equivalent of turning off a light switch. You turn a key off, whenever you’re parked.

You don't need a government grant, you don't need a refit, you don't need to make an investment.

But the numbers will grab you too: turning off the key for just 10 minutes a day, motorists would easily save the cost of several fill-ups in a year. Collectively, the numbers are staggering: annually Halifax would save 5 million litres of fuel and avoid pumping almost 12,000 tonnes of CO2 into the air.

Do you want cleaner air for your children to breathe in HRM?
Do you want to save money?
Do you actually want to protect your car investment and its engine?
Do you want an easy way to help reduce greenhouse gas?

If we can't turn a key to save gas, protect our kids lungs and their air, what WOULD we be willing to do?

What you can do:
STOP YOUR ENGINE whenever you can.

Here’s something else you can do: “if it’s not a problem, it’s not a problem.” Right now, most people forget about this issue. And if it’s not top-of-mind, it’s not a problem.

You can make it a problem though. You can contact your councilor in HRM by e-mail or phone and say you want HRM to endorse The Children’s Clean Air Network. HRM Councilors.

Our goal is to get the politicians in HRM to see the children as constituents who want cleaner air and a brighter future. We want a long-term public awareness campaign on this issue. Most of it will be paid for by donations. Much of it will be paid for by the savings HRM will realize when we get all their departments to STOP THEIR ENGINES.

Read how the City of Edmonton saved taxpayers $205,000 in the most recent effort in fleet driver training: $205,000 bucks!

What are we waiting for?

******Today's cool site..the U.S. government has a great resource here: you want fuel economy? You GOT fuel economy!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The little girl and the tail pipe: the image that haunts me

This is an image that spurs me on to keep at it. For me, it represents two key points.

  • The lack of awareness on what our habits are doing to kids
  • The exhaust is an attack on her future planet

Maybe if I didn't have two kids (ages 11 and 12), I wouldn't be so consumed by this. But then again, with all the headlines about climate change and the ticking "carbon bomb", you wonder why more people with children aren't.

Tell your friends and neighbours to stop their engines whenever they can. It's so simple to do, and it can lead to an entire shift in thinking to protect our children's future.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wasted fuel, damaged air: the numbers for Halifax

People ask: "how do you come up with those numbers...the amount of gas that's wasted and CO2 pumped into the air,"---by people idling?

Natural Resources Canada does that work for us. Simply visit here: The CO2 Calculator

You'll find an easy to use calculator where you can plug in idling time and cost-per-litre for gas, and voila, you have the damage.

HRM is broken down into several areas whereby you can actually identify the numbers for specific areas like Dartmouth, Lower Sackville, Eastern Passage, Hammonds Plains and so on.

For Lower Sackville, as an example, I used 9 minutes a day of idling at $1.00 a litre for gas. Here's the results:

If every driver of a light-duty vehicle in Lower Sackville avoided idling for 9 minutes a day, they could prevent 7.84 tonne(s) of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each day.

That's 2,859.93 tonne(s) per year!

That's enough CO2 to fill The Sackville High gymnasium 486 times.

Motorists in Lower Sackvile could collectively avoid wasting 3,320.1 litres of fuel worth $3,320.10. On an annual basis, that's savings of 1,211,836.5 litres worth: $1,211,836.48.

Click on IDLE-FREE bucks on the right. Keep one as a reminder in your car; you'll save yourself several fill-ups a year by avoiding idling for just ten minutes a day.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Kids plead with grown-ups in video: stop your engines

Kids want adults to stop idling their vehicles whenever possible. Needless idling is affecting their health and the future of their planet. It also costs a lot of money.

The Children’s Clean Air Network (CCAN) is a network of like-minded partners with one goal in mind for Halifax Regional Municipality: reducing vehicle emissions which will improve the quality of our air and reduce the threat from climate change. CCAN was born out of a grassroots reduced-idling campaign in Kingswood subdivision (

Like-minded partner organizations include: Clean Nova Scotia, The Ecology Action Centre, The Lung Association of Nova Scotia and the Halifax Regional School Board. CCAN also collaborates with local environmental and business organizations, including the Eco-Efficiency Centre.

CCAN seeks to apply its strategies and tactics across HRM to assist the municipality in becoming a Canadian leader in reducing vehicle emissions. Needless vehicle emissions are a serious threat to the health and future of our children and a waste of resources. CCAN seeks to educate the public on the seriousness of this threat and to help children be heard on this issue.