Saturday, December 18, 2010

Your Car Is Not A Space Heater

I'm constantly amazed at how many people are unaware of the toxic effects of idling their car. This time of year, I frequently see people sitting in cars (most often parents at a school or an event like a soccer game, frequently with other children in the car), and they are idling the car, presumably to keep the heaters running. I don't think they know the increased risk they are putting on themselves and their children. People will actually wait five to ten minutes in a drive-through line at Starbucks or McD's when getting out of the car and going in not only saves them fuel and exposure to the toxic pollutants of idling, but time as well (often the line inside is minimal at rush hour, while the drive-through lines are long).

I made up a simple document that is small enough to hand to people and outlines the dangers of idling in a bulleted format that's quick to read. If you have Idlers in your area who are not aware of these issues, please feel free to copy and print these to hand out!

Please Don’t Idle Your Car
For the sake of your health and of those around you

A Few Idling Facts:

Ø       Vehicle exhaust is the leading source of toxic air pollution in Oregon.
Ø       Vehicle exhaust contains at least 21 air toxics which are hazardous to human health.
Ø       Emissions from idling vehicles can be as much as 20 times greater than those from one traveling at 32 mph.
Ø       Inhaling these pollutants can:
o         aggravate asthma,
o         cause coughing or difficult breathing,
o         decrease lung function,
o         exacerbate cardiovascular problems and
o         lead to chronic bronchitis.
Ø       Children are especially sensitive to the eff ects air pollution because they breathe more quickly and take in more air than adults.
Ø       Children inside an idling car, or directly in the vicinity (as in school drop-off zones) are at increased risk for health problems due to inhaling pollutants
Ø       Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization for children under the age of 15. Asthma is also the most common chronic illness in children.
Ø       Studies have linked pollution from vehicles to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease, and asthma.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Apples to Apples

This time of year, it amazes me how much fruit is left on trees around town. I wish there was a way to better hook it up with people who need food, since it seems positively shameful to waste nature's bounty like that. Yesterday I found an apple tree in an abandoned lot, just full of fruit. The leaves are all gone, so it looks like a Christmas tree except hung with perfectly bright red globes of fruit. I stuffed my jacket pockets as full as I could get them of the wonderfully tart/sweet apples, and I'm coming back next week with a bag. Applesauce anyone?