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Robinson 'Go Green' Team Hosts No-Idle Rally

Feb 03, 2016 10:48PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
"Idling gets you nowhere!" - That's the message that the Robinson Elementary School's "Go Green" team had for parents and other drivers waiting in the after-school pick-up line on Wednesday.

The lively rally - urging drivers to turn off their engines while waiting for students - drew a crowd of students, parents, town officials, and even a local TV news team.

"Today we are here to teach our parents how important it is not to idle." said Maxine Finster, the Go Green commissioner on Robinson Elementary School's student council, before leading student volunteers out to meet cars in the pick-up line.

To promote their message, students created and distributed handmade cardboard bookmarks with slogans encouraging drivers to turn off their engines while waiting in line. The students designed the bookmarks so that they could also be hung as a reminder from a car's rear-view mirror.

All of the bookmarks were all made from recycled cardboard, including many made from a material that's widely available this time of year: Girl Scout cookie boxes.

In producing the rally, the Robinson team joined forces with Grades of Green, a Manhattan Beach-based environmental awareness and education organization, which promotes the "no idling" effort as part of its curriculum.

"We wanted to inspire kids like you, and empower you to care for the environment, and there's no better example of that than today," Kim Martin, a founder of the Grades of Green organization and its director of communications, told the Robinson students. "You thought of all these great signs, using recycling materials, and you made these bookmarks, and I'm so excited and proud for you. This is exactly what Grades of Green is all about."

Mayor Mark Burton praised the students for their leadership on this issue. "What they're doing today is a great way to grow environmental awareness in the community. It starts with the kids; then they bring it home, and the parents learn from the kids. " said Burton.

Burton, along with City Councilmember Wayne Powell, joined the students in holding up signs and handing out bookmarks at the rally.

According to the Earth Day Network, excessive idling unnecessarily exposes vulnerable populations of children and adults to unhealthy plumes of exhaust filled with particle pollution. Airborne particles can cause nasal, throat, respiratory, and eye problems, and are particularly harmful to those with asthma. Children are particularly vulnerable to exhaust fumes because their lungs are still in the development phase and because they breathe, on average, 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults.

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