LAHS Green Team, GreenTown join forces to curb vehicle idling

Courtesy of Cheryl Weiden
Students Jessica Young, from left, May Jiang and Alisha Xiong educate drivers about the harmful effects of vehicle idling.

The combined efforts of Los Altos High School’s Green Team and GreenTown Los Altos to curb idling of cars picking up students have proven effective.

The number of cars that idled in March decreased nearly 80 percent from GreenTown’s previous survey in 2017, according to Green Team’s Anya Gupta.

The campaign began when Sybil Cramer, Green Team parent liaison, connected the team to Cheryl Weiden, an active participant in the anti-idling effort and GreenTown board member. Weiden showed Green Team members statistics that calculated the emissions of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, two common air pollutants, from the cars idling at Los Altos High.

“Many of these contaminants can be harmful to the lungs. … Fuel is wasted, which then puts an economic strain on the decreasing supplies of oil and gas,” Gupta said. “We wanted to make students and parents aware of this.”

As co-president of the Green Team, the senior has worked with Weiden to establish the timeline for the implementation of the anti-idling five-day campaign.

Starting March 4, members of both the Green Team and GreenTown stood at Los Altos High’s carpool line and back gate – the two sites on campus with the most idling cars – to inform drivers of the environmental impacts of idling. They also handed out stickers and informational pamphlets, Gupta said.

Weiden showed presentations about the impacts of idling to school board members and environmental groups at Los Altos High, Pinewood School and Bullis Charter School.

“I thought it would be relatively easy to communicate, educate and gather public support, but it was and continues to be a big effort,” Weiden said.

The Green Team has plans to make Los Altos High more environmentally friendly, including eliminating straws and disposable cups used for fundraisers that involve selling boba tea, a popular drink among students. The Green Team is asking tea vendors to switch to reusable straws and containers, according to Audrey Chang, Green Team vice president.

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