The W20 event held at the New England Aquarium was not only interesting, but also highly informative and quite entertaining. Each of the panelists brought a wealth of knowledge to the table and presented it in a way that was catchy and easy to understand. As our society has become increasingly dependent upon transportation and automobiles, it is important to be armed with this sort of information to make informed purchase decisions and be smart drivers, no matter what kind of vehicle you are in. Topics discussed ranged from Google’s new driverless cars to simply how long a car should be left idling, giving the listeners a taste of subjects from the cutting edge of science to the seemingly mundane, yet very interesting. In respect to the topic of idling, I learned that this really is never something positive, because your engine doesn’t need to be running and emitting fumes if it isn’t moving. Also, repeatedly starting the car will not damage it, even the fact that you have to warm your car is a myth!
I found this event particularly intriguing because this is not something that is discussed on a regular basis in my college classes. While I have learned about carbon emissions and the environmental side of things a multitude of times in my science classes and once had a physics class devoted to the internal combustion engine, I have not really had the chance to learn about the mobile polluters that are causing the damage that I have spent so much time focusing on. By learning more about cars, we are deepening our understanding of the issue of climate change and its effects on our oceans by gaining a better understanding of the entire picture. This gives us the capacity to think more holistically, opening up the possibility to come up with projects and solutions for climate change that satisfies everyone.
Hillary Chisholm is a senior at Bates College majoring in Environmental Science