Letter: Our winter footprint
It breaks my heart to think that there will be automatic car starters under some people’s Christmas trees this year. With all the concerns about climate change, the obvious need to conserve gas, and the frightful toxicity of carbon monoxide and other nasty pollutants spewing from our exhaust pipes, how can anyone consider this a gift and feel good about sipping a cup of coffee in the kitchen while their vehicle warms up? Cars don’t need to warm up. In fact, idling builds up harmful carbon deposits in your engine, which means the best way to warm up your engine is to start driving immediately after starting it.
How difficult is it to go outside on a crisp cold morning to clear the snow and scrape a window or two? Have we really become this lazy? Sure there may be a few people who really need them such as the elderly or disabled. But do you truly need this nasty gadget considering that excess idling puts deadly toxins in the lungs of your children and of your neighbors? Using an automatic car starter reflects a lack of concern for those with asthma and for our climate. Surely you don’t want people to think you don’t care about the health of our planet and of the people in your community?
For the new year, consider resolutions that make your actions better reflect your environmental concerns. Choosing not to buy a car starter, reducing your use of the one you already have, or not giving one as a deadly gift, may lead you to consider other changes, too. For example, why not use a snow shovel instead of that snow blower? Or consider walking or bicycling to the store or to work. Maybe even cross country ski or snow shoe nearby instead of driving someplace more distant to downhill ski or snowmobile. But for now and for everyone’s sake, consider not starting the car while still in your pajamas. Get dressed, put on your coat and gloves, scrape the ice off your windshield, fasten your seat belt, start your car and take that thing back to where you bought it. What a wonderful variation of the story of the Grinch! Who knows, you might even get a big hug from your next-door neighbor.