By Sondra Lipshutz
Thanks to the hard work of the Cool Cities Working Group it is now illegal to idle your car for more than five minutes. The Cool Cities Working Group is made up of Skidmore students working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Saratoga Springs. They took on idling because it is not only an environmental concern, but also a matter of public health. It’s a common misconception that turning your car off and on consumes more gas than leaving it on. Idling for longer than 10 seconds is less efficient than turning off the car. An idling vehicle releases gaseous and particulate emissions, which are known lung irritants that endanger asthmatics, the elderly, and young children. Hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides are greenhouse gases; their gradual emission into the atmosphere has been implicated in global climate change. To mitigate the effects of vehicles idling, Cool Cities constructed an idling ordinance for Saratoga Springs. Extensive research, community outreach, and close working relationships with city council and other stakeholders paid off when city council passed the ordinance last month. Cool Cities is now focusing on an educational campaign to inform the community about the negative impacts of idling.
Cool Cities members include Stephanie Seidmon, Charlotte Levy, Carol Brown, Sondra Lipshutz, Anna Farrell, Melissa Green, Emily Durante, Riley Johnson, Evan Nathan, Beal St. George, Christina Walker, and Olivia McKee.