Letter: Break wasteful idling habits

I read with dismay the excellent Jan. 3 article by Empire reporter James Brooks, “Beneath the waves or beneath the land, warming Alaska poses multiple threats.” I hope we heed the warnings and, in particular, reevaluate our own contributions to the excess carbon dioxide from our vehicles idling senselessly that is helping to kill off our food sources and threaten our planet. The last quote from the article will hopefully change our behavior at home: “The details are still being studied, but Sigler said there’s one takeaway that Alaskans can make now: ‘The point is that carbon dioxide doesn’t just go into the air; it goes into the water, and it has effects there that are not visible to you or I.’”

The residents of this fragile ecosystem can help avert a disaster, one small step at a time. Instead, each morning when the temperature dips below freezing, thousands of vehicles in Juneau and Douglas stand idling, often for more than 15 minutes, to “warm up.” I counted six in a stretch of four homes on my way in to work this morning and three from one household last week.

For every 10 minutes of idling you cut from your life, you’ll save one pound of carbon dioxide — a harmful greenhouse gas — from being released into the atmosphere. (Sustainable America)

If that’s not enough reason to break your wasteful idling habits, consider each time you do it, that your are contributing to direct health effects linked to these emissions, including asthma and brain damage in children, and wasting money.

Jean M. Mischel

Douglas

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