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11-Year-Old Says, “When You Drive, The Earth Smokes”

11-Year-Old Says, “When You Drive, The Earth Smokes”

Written by Lori Popkewitz Alper

My nephew Eliot is a rock star in my book (not that I’m biased or anything). Eliot submitted this cartoon and won the Yahara River Writers Top Ten Award for his creation (an event sponsored by Greater Dane County TAG Network).

At age 11 he gets it. He understands that vehicle exhaust is the leading source of the earth’s hazardous air pollution. He’s fighting for clean air and he doesn’t even drive yet.

Somehow he knows that children and cars don’t mix well. Something compelled him to draw this cartoon showing that when you drive the earth smokes.

What we’re inhaling from cars and trucks has been linked to asthma, strokes and heart attacks. Toxic air pollution is killing us and it’s killing the earth and will continue to do so unless we make some changes.

Here are a few tips from the Environmental Protection Agency to help reduce air pollution from cars:

  • Keep tires properly inflated and aligned.
  • In the summertime, fill gas tank during cooler evening hours to cut down on evaporation. Avoid spilling gas and don’t “top off” the tank. Replace gas tank cap tightly.
  • Avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines, for example, at fast-food restaurants or banks. Park your car and go in.
  • When possible, use public transportation, walk, or ride a bike.
  • Get regular engine tune ups and car maintenance checks (especially for the spark plugs).
  • Use an energy-conserving (EC) grade motor oil.
  • Ask your employer to consider flexible work schedules or telecommuting.
  • Report smoking vehicles to your local air agency.
  • Join a carpool or vanpool to get to work.

And that’s why my nephew rocks.

Any other tips to help reduce air pollution from cars and trucks?

Support new fuel & emissions standards.


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Photo credit: Groovy Green Livin

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11:24AM PDT on Aug 6, 2013

Great idea, Eliot! You should totally come work for us. We're thinking the exact same thing! Please share our idea:

7:46PM PDT on Jun 3, 2013

I love that kid's drawing and idea! How creative!

5:00AM PDT on Jun 3, 2013 are a role model for your generation...well, mine too. at such a young get it. whereas many, many adults don't get it.

10:07AM PDT on Jun 2, 2013

thanks. Love the picture

1:26AM PDT on May 31, 2013

We need more kids like Eliot.
Thanks for this article.

11:10AM PDT on May 30, 2013

This 11 year old is truly what the world needs more of.

8:19AM PDT on May 30, 2013

If only we didn't have to lose that lack of selfishness that came with being an 11-year-old when we grow up.

5:29AM PDT on May 30, 2013

It is good that kids are becoming more aware of these issues, because they have to grow up in the messed up world their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents left for them.

12:41AM PDT on May 30, 2013

Ciekawe informacje, dzięki.

8:12AM PDT on May 29, 2013

Eliot does rock! Big time!

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