Cars and trucks, powered by fossil fuels, contribute more than a quarter of Oak Park’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to Oak Park’s Climate Action Plan. That’s why transportation is the second largest driver of climate disruption in our community.

We can reduce this harm with a simple change of behavior: stop idling. A running engine uses energy, whether it’s propelling a vehicle forward or not. That’s not only a waste of gas, a commodity that no one thinks is underpriced. It also generates the atmosphere-heating emissions that are propelling our global climate emergency, not to mention adding to your engine’s wear and tear, all to no purpose.

Years ago, the village launched an “Idling Gets You Nowhere” campaign. The slogan was proclaimed on car registration window stickers and yard signs outside of schools (where young lungs are especially vulnerable). The campaign lasted only a year, but we urgently need to revive it.

Idling is more common than ever, thanks to the advent of the hand-held screens that hold us captive to endless scrolling as the minutes fly by. While we waste time with our engines pointlessly running, we burn gas and precious dollars, all while adding to climate heating and environmental destruction.

It gets us nowhere.

Wendy Greenhouse
Oak Park

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