First Parish UU of Medfield MA
Nearly four million gallons of fuel are wasted in the US every day as a result of vehicle idling in front of stores, banks, post offices, soccer fields, schools, etc. Under Massachusetts Laws, , it is stipulated that “No person shall cause, suffer, allow, or permit the unnecessary operation of the engine of a motor vehicle while said vehicle is stopped for a foreseeable period of time if excess of five (5) minutes.” Idling cars put 40,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere and puts us all at a heightened risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Children are at greater risk than adults. The Green Sanctuary Committee of First Parish (FPUU) realized most people don’t know about this important law and wanted to help bring awareness to the congregation and to the Medfield community. Even the police don’t seem to hand out tickets for offenders. Several towns and cities in Massachusetts have held anti-idling campaigns. FPUU’s objective was to raise consciousness in Medfield about the law and its many good reasons for the existence (reduce carbon emissions, stop wasting money, reduce public health problems).
They formed a town-wide coalition that included churches, government, institutions, and high school students. Newspaper articles brought the message to the community. They created a Medfield TV show about anti-idling that we later extended into other climate topics. As a result, the FPUU congregation and Medfield community have become more aware of the anti-idling law and many have changed their behavior. With this has come awareness of the problems in the environment.