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.