George Pakenham, Kimball Tran | 2012 | 37 min.
2014 Official Selection
Idling engines consume more than 6 billion gallons of gasoline annually in the U.S., a significant but little-known contributor to local air pollution, respiratory disease and global climate change. Idle Threat is a lively look at one man’s spirited struggle to improve public health by raising awareness about idling’s impact, starting in New York City. Against all odds, he succeeds, helping improve local air quality, and in the process gains world-wide recognition for the anti-idling cause, with articles featured in the Wall Street Journal, New Yorker magazine, and the Financial Times. In white shirt and tie, Wall Street banker George Pakenham has walked the streets of New York for over five years, courteously confronting over 3,000 motorists to explain idling’s impact and the law prohibiting running a parked vehicle for more than a short time. Responses vary from thanks to anger, but Pakenham never wavers. He’s determined that the problems idling poses be recognized, and lobbies successfully for the city to enforce its idling laws. Featuring Click and Clack from NPR’s Car Talk, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Idle Threat profiles one man’s challenging quest to make his city and the world a healthier place, and shows that sometimes one person – and a simple act like turning a key – can make a big difference.