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Education Option for Methods for Reducing Vehicular Emissions in Oberlin, OH

Page history last edited by Avram Miner 10 years, 9 months ago

This page is an issue brief project created for an Oberlin College course incorporating the PolicyOptions Wiki. For more projects, please visit the Oberlin College Working Page.

  

  

Project Guidelines for Oberlin City Schools Anti-Idling Education Campaign

 

Introduction:

This project will work with the Oberlin City public schools to reduce idling involved with transportation to and from schools. The main focus will be on idling by parents during drop-off and pickup.  This comes in the context of many other school-focused anti-idling campaigns.

As we all know, greenhouse gases are the driving force behind anthropogenic climate change. Carbon dioxide, emitted from vehicles, is one of the major contributors to the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. While there are many different approaches to decreasing our production of carbon dioxide, one common and successful method is an anti-idling campaign. 

Companies that depend heavily on trucks, such as UPS, have made their own initiatives by establishing anti-idling policies for their drivers and rerouting the paths that their trucks take.  UPS has also been a leader in combating idling at elementary schools.  Take a look at their website for an idea of where to start with your project.

Background:

As of November 2009, the city of Oberlin did not yet have a city-wide anti-idling policy, but the city officials enthusiastically embrace the idea of such a change, and have taken steps to develop a plan. Currently, vehicles operated by the city fall under a regulatory plan that limits their idling. This plan is based on Cleveland's anti-idling policy, and the Environmental Policy course of Fall 2009 improved upon the plan to make it more fitting to Oberlin's specific needs.  In approaching this project, you should look at the work completed by the Environmental Policy students.  This plan can provide a framework in which to base the regulations and methods at the schools.  Also, it will be important to look at other such campaigns.

Goals:

Develop and implement a comprehensive anti-idling education campaign with the goals of: 

-general improvement of air quality and a reduction of air pollution 

-protection of student health 

-contribution to mitigating anthropogenic climate change 

-raise awareness of issues surrounding fossil fuel use

-educate future generations of drivers  

 Implementation:

Implementing an anti-idling policy in schools requires a few different methods of communication. There are numerous web resources that detail the design process of an anti-idling campaign, and these resources can provide a foundation for the materials to be developed. A few of these resources will be detailed later in this document. As stated above, the targets in implementing change will be parents/guardians and older students.

A possible first step for the campaign could be class presentations and activities that explain both the environmental and health hazards of idling. Explaining the issues to the students before sending information home to parents will help stimulate conversation, and perhaps it will increase pressure for change. A second step could be the creation of anti-idling literature for parents. You can draw from your own knowledge of environmental issues and from previous anti-idling campaigns to create it. This literature will likely take the form of a simple and attractive brochure that can be sent home with students and placed around the city and school.  The information should be clear, concise, and not overly technical. The framing of this information is crucial and is a process that we will address later. Another piece of media communication could be the placement of signs at key idling locations around schools (where pickup and drop-off occur). Signs will reinforce the message that parents receive, and remind them of the health risks they are imposing on their children. See some of the online resources for inspiration. Any other forms of creative media that you think of would surely be useful (perhaps an email in addition to a pamphlet).

Framing:            

Political framing is very important in the presentation of this information to students and parents. As environmental studies students, it is easy to note the importance of reducing CO2 emissions in the context of global warming and climate change, but you have to understand that this may not be the greatest concern for every citizen. When trying to get parents to change their idling practices, try to present it in terms that make it a pressing issue of importance to them. In this case, highlighting the health issues caused by idling is likely to be the most successful way of framing the campaign. This is not to say that environmental issues are not important, but one’s child’s health is foremost in the mind of nearly every parent. An additional point to stress is the savings on gasoline from reduced gasoline consumption. Monetary concerns, too, may weigh more than the global warming debate in this campaign.  However, these are not the only ways to frame this topic—feel free to be creative in your presentation of the issues at hand.  

Resources:

http://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/antiidling.htm

 

 

http://www.airwatchnorthwest.org/wa/NO_IDLE/

 

 

http://www.hastebc.org/anti-idling-cookbook

 

 

http://pressroom.ups.com/Image/Cut+Your+Engines

 

 

Recommendation:

We recommend that all three policy options are pursued.  They all complement each other by coupling education with policy changes.  In addition to the specifics that are outlined in our Policy Options section, we make recommendations for the location of anti-idling signs, specific communication methods for educating the community on the new policy, steps forward for improving the police route, and ideas for successful enforcement of these initiatives.  All three options have clear paths forward, and there are existing commitments to ensure that they are pursued.  This is exciting, because most class projects end at the close of a semester, and each option that we present has roots in the Oberlin community, so they will all have longevity. 

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