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Street Theater: Pollution Tickets / Environmental Summons





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Environmental Summons

In most urban areas motor vehicles are one of the major contributors of toxins in the air. Polluted air can be lethal. If one kills oneself with polluted air it is a suicide. So, if one kills someone else with polluted air is it a homicide?

Well, the government refuse to follow-up on charging drivers with murder or even ticketing them for their toxic contributions, citizens have started drawing the connection. In the 1980s bicycle activists did street theater across North America, handing-out "Environmental Summons" to motorists. The text pointed out the role of motor vehicles in a range of environmental problems and urged the motorists to consider using less-polluting means of transport.

In Edmonton, Toronto, Washington, Seattle and other cities coalitions of groups concerned with the health of the environment started issuing their own "Environmental Infraction Notices." While not charging anybody with a crime, the summons points out that motor vehicles are linked to global warming, smog, super tankers and oil spills, tire dumps and tire fires, toxic surface water runoff and more. The ticket urges motorists to consider using a less-polluting means of getting around town, particularly the bicycle.

In Seattle, the "Green Squad" (dressed in dapper, stately white toxic spill cleanup outfits), also issued "Environmental Commendations" to people using bicycles, mass transit or walking. These certificates thanked the recipients for their thoughtful behavior towards the quality of life in the city. One of the recipients was a City Council Member who had bicycle commuted to city hall.

Life Imitates Art: Pollution Tickets In London

These "artists" were shunned by most of the bicycle community for being too confrontational. It turns out that in 1992 even the at the time radical London councils considered "pollution tickets" for smoky vehicles responsible for increasing inner-city air pollution. The proposal includes giving traffic wardens the power to ticket and fine drivers for leaving engines running at the curbside.

Environmental Summons Packet

What can we do about the motor vehicles poisoning the air? Give them a ticket! Let the drivers know about the choice they have made and the options they have. Education is the key to any change. The Environmental Summons Packet is a file that you can edit and print out and distribute at your pleasure. It presents information  to help our not- so-globally-thinking brothers and sisters make better choices, and to help us all live a more sustainable, healthier, and longer life on this wonderful planet. Have fun.

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The International Bicycle Fund is an independent, non-profit organization. Its primary purpose is to promote bicycle transportation. Most IBF projects and activities fall into one of  four categories: planning and engineering, safety education, economic development assistance and promoting international understanding. IBF's objective is to create a sustainable, people-friendly environment by creating opportunities of the highest practicable quality for bicycle transportation. IBF is funded by private donation. Contributions are always welcome and are U.S. tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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