One Man's Mission To Keep Drivers From Idling Their Cars

Jun 20, 2013

Credit Verdant Vigilante

A few years ago, New Yorker George Pakenham approached an idling limousine and asked the driver to turn off his engine. To George's surprise, the driver obliged. Emboldened, Pakenham started approaching drivers of other idling cars and trucks in an effort to curtail pollution. He's approached more than 2,900 drivers.

“More often than not, it was friendly,” Pakenham says. “And more often than not, I achieved my goal of having them shut their engine off.”

In this conversation with host Dick Gordon, Pakenham talks about trying to persuade the city to enforce its own law and about the good – or ugly – interactions he’s had with drivers.

Hear this conversation on The Story's website. Also in this show: Garret Ean likes to drop quarters in expired parking meters – not just out of kindness, but to prevent the city from making money on parking tickets; and long-time Detroit arts patron Harriet Berg talks about meeting Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and her city’s underground art lovers.