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Letter to the editor from Hayhurst Resident, Natalie Ballard Strauhal

Today, my family and I attended the Southwest Community Recycling event at St. John Fisher. The Connection

I want to say a huge thank-you to all the volunteers and organizers — I feel so lucky that we live in a place where people care enough to stand in the rain and do a pretty thankless job for the benefit of our planet and our community.

That being said, I was shocked to see dozens of cars idling for minutes on end as the drivers waited to do something positive for the environment. (This was nowhere near as egregious as the person I saw idling her car for a full 45 minutes outside a Southwest Portland tutoring business last week, but that, perhaps, is another letter!)

I can only assume that all of these people with their engines running simply do not know the damage they are doing.

Do a five-second Google search and you'll find that there are many studies and organizations that advocate turning off your car if you plan to be idling your engine for more than 30 seconds.

Some even suggest turning your car off if you'll be idling for more than 10 seconds. All of them cite the fact that you will save money if you do this — not a lot, mind you, but some.

More importantly to our lives and our future, though, is the idea that if we all adopted this approach, we would be cutting out millions of metric tons of CO2 output.

So the next time you find yourself stopped in your car — at a drive-through, waiting to pick someone up, at a community recycling event — please consider turning off your car. Not only will turning off your car save you money, but you will be doing something positive for the planet as well.

--Natalie Ballard Strauhal, Hayhurst

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