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.


Photo credit: Groovy Green Livin


Rob Shirkey
Rob Shirkey5 years ago

Great idea, Eliot! You should totally come work for us. We're thinking the exact same thing! Please share our idea: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/face-the-change

holly masih
.6 years ago

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

nancy b
Nancy B6 years ago

Eliot...you are a role model for your generation...well, mine too. at such a young age...you get it. whereas many, many adults don't get it.

Sonali Ghosh
Sonali G6 years ago

thanks. Love the picture

Genoveva M.
Genoveva M6 years ago

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

Nikhil D
Nikhil Dutta6 years ago

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

Hanine El Mir
Hanine El Mir6 years ago

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

Athena Milios
Athena Milios6 years ago

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.

Malgorzata Zmuda
Malgorzata Zmuda6 years ago

Ciekawe informacje, dzięki.

Lydia Weissmuller Price

Eliot does rock! Big time!