More ways to help Planet Earth recover

Here are two more ways that individuals can fight climate change. I submit them as additions to Amos White’s excellent list of suggestions (“Climate Matters: Putting Out a World on Fire,” Aug. 8).

First, do not sit in your car with the engine on. According to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality website, “An idling vehicle releases harmful chemicals, gases and particle pollution (‘soot’) into the air, contributing to ozone, regional haze and global climate change. Every gallon of gas burned produces more than 20 pounds of greenhouse gases,” (, cited Aug. 10).

I am from New Jersey, where it gets brutally hot in the summer and freezing cold in winter. There, you have to keep the engine on sometimes. In the Bay Area, much of the time, this is not necessary. I see people with the windows up, idling minute after minute every single day in Alameda, when it is absolutely gorgeous out. 

Stop doing that immediately, please. If you need your engine on to play the radio, check your owner’s manual. Most cars have a way to keep your electrical system on without turning on the engine.

Second, buy carbon offsets whenever you fly. Expedia used to have a $5 option to buy carbon offsets with every ticket purchased. The money went to climate-change mitigation projects such as tree-planting and turning methane gas from landfills into a usable fuel source. 

Unfortunately, they no longer offer this with every purchase, so you have to seek carbon offsets from other sources. There is a good program at It costs a lot more than $5 — less expensive than an inhospitable environment, which is already killing trees, animals and people. They will help you calculate how much to contribute according to how many miles you fly. 

Our house is on fire. Let’s be like the Mayberry we say we are and make a bucket brigade, now. 


Sheira Kahn