Driving to school. Save the environment.


By: Cole Vincent

The environmental costs of driving individual cars are many: vehicle emissions are a huge source of air pollution, gasoline and diesel pollutes the earth with harmful gases which can actually trigger lung cancer in certain people.   One thing that I learned as I went through with my study of energy was that engine idling was actually a huge trigger for carbon monoxide which is detrimental to human health.  92 percent of the energy that goes into the transportation sector is taken from petroleum with only a measly 5 percent of energy coming from renewable sources.  Also, believe it or not, gasoline is actually more environmentally friendly than light oil, in terms of what you want your vehicle to run on.  Gasoline does not release as many pollutants as light oil into the eco system.  It is also important to note that vehicles are becoming one of the most potent sources of pollution in the world in this day in age.

I am interested in promoting grassroots action through my neighborhood by creating that a carpool system for the local kids who go to the local school very close to my neighborhood.  In doing so, I need to spread awareness for the harmful nature of the excess of emissions from cars that give off carbon monoxide that threatens human health, and leads to global warming.  I will begin this process  by starting a carpool system where I drive a group of kids to the local school rather than each kid driving individually with each of their parents respectively.  This would help stop more vehicles from being destructive to the environment through less cars being on the road so less harm to the environment.  I will plan on putting up flyers around the neighborhood to promote my plan of action for my local community in my neighborhood.  I need to reach out to these local kids as well as their parents to get them on board to be a part of this carpool idea to aid the environment.  They will be alerted of my program by the flyers mentioned above.  My parents are able to assist me with methods about spreading awareness by telling all their friends about my idea.  The specific message I will deliver is that cars give off harmful gases that hurt the environment, and with less cars on the road it can be beneficial to the environment.  Again, this idea will come from flyers that I will post up around my neighborhood, and I hope to help the environment very much through applying my ideas.

Now I ask: what do you think? Will my carpool project serve to create awareness and change? Will it help the environment? Will it inspire the youth to be more environmentally conscious and friendly?  As you read through my presentation, please take note of all of the different aspects that will help you to answer these questions and learn more about my carpool initiative.


Here are a few ways for alternatives to transportation by car:

  1. When traveling short distances, walk instead of driving your car.  It is a good way to exercise and it also helps stop pollutants from coming out of your car.
  2. You can also ride bicycles for short distances and medium distances depending on your experience with riding bicycles. This is another alternative that helps get you in shape.
  3. You can also take other forms of public transportation that carry larger numbers of people.  Some of these include the bus, subway, and metro.
  4. If you must buy a car or vehicle, you should buy a small car that does not have a large amount of weight,  a smart car or a fiat.
  5. Drive electric cars.  This is a clear alternative to regular cars which give off carbon monoxide.  You can recharge your electric cars at many gas stations across the country.
  6. Believe it or not, staying within the parameters of the speed limit when you drive actually helps the environment more than you would think.
  7. When you are accelerating, try to do it more gradually.  If you slam on the accelerator, it is hurting the environment by putting many more pollutants into the air.
  8. Don’t fill your car tank full with gas.  Stop it a few gallons short.  When you fill it up completely, it puts the gas at risk of spilling out and causing harm to the surrounding environment.

Interview: (My interviewee was a math teacher at my friend’s school.  He was a very nice guy who had different views than I did.)

Me:  How often do you use a car during each week?

Teacher: I drive a commute to and from school that takes 30 minutes each way, so an hour a day.  So 7 hours of time in my car in a week.

Me: Ok.  Are you aware of all the negative affects your car has on the environment?

Teacher: I know that it is not great.  But I think that the benefits it provides for innovation in our society outweigh all the problems it brings upon the environment.

Me:  But don’t you know that cars are making the earth susceptible to global warming that will truly ruin our earth over time?

Teacher:  Yes.  But I am not convinced of this theory.  I think that it could be a false claim made by liberal people who are trying to change the earth.

Me:  But there is evidence to support the claim.

Teacher: I don’t believe the evidence that is being presented.  I think that it is made up by people who are just trying to promote hippie ideas.

Me: Ok. Why?

Teacher: Because nothing like this has happened before that makes me believe in global warming.  I believe that it will just never happen.

Me: Ok. What type of car do you drive?

Teacher: I drive a pickup truck.

Me: That is very bad for the environment.  Would you consider buying a car that is lighter and more beneficial to the environment?

Teacher: No, because it wouldn’t have enough space for me to store my things.

Me: Ok.  Thank you for your time!

I plan on having a conversation with a few of my peers about my carpool project and convincing a few of them to help me out.  I will hopefully convince them to help me and they can assist me to spread awareness about the pollution cars provide to the environment as a whole.

Teacher: Thanks!

Here is my survey: Please fill this out.


1. In a typical week, how many miles do you drive your car?


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Please respond to my survey.


Do you ever carpool with your friends?




Do you think cars are harmful to the environment?

Sort of
Not really
Not at all

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Do you fill your gas tank full?

Yes, everytime
No, never
Not really

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Would you consider changing some of your bad driving habits in order to help the environment?

Doubt it

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In the recording below, I describe my carpool project and how it has effected the children involved in my program.  I also discuss some of the feedback and outcomes of the project.

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