Clean Air Kids
Let’s Clean the Air Together!
Compiled & Created by:
East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition
The Facts about Air
There are many different things that make up the air we breathe. It is 78%
nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and a 1% mix of many other gases. Every minute an adult
breathes 16 times, while a baby breathes 20-30 times. While running or playing you
breathe 50 times a minute. Humans need oxygen to breathe but it’s impossible to
only breathe in oxygen. Instead we breathe a mixture of oxygen, other gases, water
droplets, pollen, and pollution. Although water droplets are harmless, pollen can
cause allergies, and pollution can impact your body in many different ways.
East Tennessee has a problem on its hands and that problem is air pollution.
Many counties in East Tennessee are not meeting the nation’s air quality standards for
human health. Particulate matter (PM) is one of the worst pollutants for humans and
the environment. Fumes from diesel fuel used by buses and trucks are a source of
particulate matter. PM is airborne solids and liquids less than 2.5 microns in diameter
(for reference, a grain of salt is 100 microns in size). These tiny particles are easily
inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause cancer, damage lung tissue, make your
lungs grow slower, and worsen asthma.
Air pollution comes from many places, like factories, chimneys, volcanoes, and
even animals. However, almost 40% of air pollution, including particulate matter and
the gases that form ozone, comes from cars and trucks. This is more than twice the
amount that comes from industries and more than the amount of pollution that is
emitted by homes in the United States. By using alternative fuels like biodiesel,
ethanol, electricity, natural gas, or propane, or cleaner transportation technologies like
trains or more fuel efficient cars and trucks, in some cases we can reduce air pollution
emissions by up to 75%. However, riding your bike or walking are the cleanest
options that produces zero pollution.
Air pollution also has many effects on plants and animals. When ozone
pollution is high, some plants aren’t able to properly make and store food. Other
impacts include damaging leaves and decreasing forest growth. All of these negative
effects on plants could also harm many animals that live in forests and eat vegetation.
Imagine a Tennessee
where the air is too dirty
to go outside!
The World Leader in VERY High Speed Trains
Mass transit—like passenger rail —is more fuel efficient for moving people. Compared to
average cars and trucks, inner-city rail and commuter rail are 20-25% more fuel efficient.
How do We Clean the Air?
Experts say that if everyone in the United States did something small to reduce
how much oil they use, our air would become a lot cleaner. There are many small
things that everyone can do to improve air quality, such as riding your bike, taking the
school bus, walking, carpooling, or taking public transportation, like trains or buses.
There are also many actions that you can encourage your parents to do while
driving. These things include driving the speed limit, not driving aggressively,
combining errands, and idling less by avoiding drive thrus. You can also help your
parents make small changes to your car, like keeping it light by taking out items in
your car that you don’t use often, keeping your tires properly inflated, and helping
them take off bike or other racks when they are not in use. You can also ask your
parents to use alternative fuels!
What are Alternative Fuels?
Alternative fuels are transportation fuels other than gasoline and diesel that are
cleaner and made in America!
Ethanol: A fuel for gasoline engines made by fermenting and distilling crops like corn,
sugarcane, wood waste, and switchgrass that have been broken down into
simple sugars. It can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and produces more
power than regular gasoline.
Biodiesel: A fuel for diesel engines made from natural oils like soybeans, sunflowers,
animal fats, and algae. It cleans the vehicle’s fuel tank and engine, its biodegradable,
non-toxic, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 75%.
Natural Gas: A fossil or renewable gas that is compressed into a liquid to be used in
vehicles. It releases little to no PM and is cheaper than gasoline.
Propane: A fossil fuel gas that is compressed into a liquid to power vehicles. It is non-
toxic and decreases air pollution by 20-25%.
Electric Vehicles: Vehicles powered by electricity. Even when using power generated
by coal plants, a charge-up (instead of a fill-up) is only a couple of cents per gallon
and emits 7 lbs of carbon dioxide compared to 22 lbs released for every gallon of
gasoline used in a conventional vehicle. And that can be much cleaner if you use
hydro, nuclear or renewable energy, like solar and wind!
According to the UT Biofuels Initiative Tennessee currently has the ability
to produce 480 million gallons of ethanol a year. By making ethanol from
corn and switchgrass, Tennessee has the potential to produce at least 1
billion gallons of ethanol each year, replacing 30% of its gasoline
Driving around in automobiles and trucks is one of the largest sources of air pollution.
We need to encourage grown-ups to walk, ride bikes and buy more fuel-efﬁcient cars.
Rustle the Leaf™ • Clean, Green Power Coloring Page
Where does Gasoline come from?
Gasoline and diesel is made from oil in a very long and expensive process that
uses a lot of energy. Oil makes up 40% of all of the energy used in the United States,
and is 99% of the fuel used in cars and trucks.
Oil is a non-renewable resource, which means that it takes hundreds of
thousands of years to make. This means that even in your great-grandchildren’s
lifetimes, there will still not be any new oil to find and use. Some researchers say the
world will start running low on oil in 2030. This means that in 20 years oil is going to
become more rare and expensive and gasoline and diesel are going to be harder to
find until it finally runs out.
What will you be doing in 20 years?
Now imagine that gasoline is $10 a gallon and in order to
fill up your car, it costs over $150!!!
Where does Oil come from?
Oil is a fossil fuel; natural gas and coal are fossil fuels too. 300-400 million years
ago plants and animals lived on the earth and after they died they were covered with
rock and sand. They were buried deeper and deeper and over time were crushed
and heated into liquid and gas.
Oil was found to have many purposes thousands of years ago; it is referred to
as pitch in the bible when cementing walls in Babylon. In the United States, Native
Americans used the black liquid for medicine. Although early settlers in Pennsylvania
discovered it could be used in lamps, its true potential wasn’t realized until the 1850’s
when Edwin Drake became the first person to drill for oil. In the late 1800s and the
beginning of the1900s, people all around the world increased their oil use drastically,
by using it in cars and factories.
Today, we use oil in a variety of ways, from fueling cars, to fixing squeaky doors
or making plastic. Look around your environment at all of the plastic! All these items
were made from oil!
How is Gas Made?
It takes about 3-10 years from the time oil is discovered to when it is delivered
to gas stations for your parents to buy. The first step is to find it. Scientists test rocks
and use advanced technology to find ‘holes’ underground that may have oil in them.
Once they find oil, drilling begins and a pipe is fitted into the hole. Once this is done,
oil will flow up the pipe to the surface. Next the oil is sent to a refinery, or oil factory,
via pipeline, ship, or barge.
At the refinery, different parts of the oil are used and
made into different products. One barrel of oil equals 42
gallons and makes a little more than 44 gallons of oil
products, including about19 gallons of gasoline. Other
things made from oil include: ink, crayons, soap, DVDs, and
tires. There are three steps that refineries use to make
gasoline: separation, conversion, and treatment. The oil is
separated into different chemicals, liquids, and gases by
their weight. The lighter liquid is made into gasoline, while Source: EIA Energy Kids
the heavier, thicker liquid is made into diesel. Finishing touches are added to the
gasoline during the treatment stage.
Lastly, the gasoline is transported all across the country in pipelines until it is
finally put in underground tanks at gas stations where your parents can buy it.
Oil to Air Pollution: The Pathway
Number the pictures to show the correct pathway from (1) how oil is created
to (12) how it eventually impacts humans and the environment.
Air pollution can kill plants and animals,
Dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of destroy buildings, and can make people
Oil refineries turn oil into gasoline.
years ago. sick when they breathe it in.
____ ____ ____
Oil pumps are used to pull out oil from deep Gasoline trucks take gas from the oil refineries Cars release pollution, like smoke and poisonous
and bring it to gas stations, where it is stored gas, that comes out of the tailpipe and goes into
down beneath the earth.
in tanks below the gas pumps. the air.
____ ____ ____
Huge ships, called oil tankers, move oil from one part of
the world to another. However, sometimes the tanker Today, a special truck is used to find oil
has a leak or hits something and oil leaks into the People fill up their gas tanks in their cars at that is stored deep beneath the earth.
oceans and kills fish and plants.
____ ____ ____
People use cars to drive everywhere. Some
people use cars to drive to work and school, while
After dinosaurs became extinct, sand, dirt, and Over time sand and rocks crushed others use them to drive to other states to go on
rocks buried the bones along with plants. dinosaur bones and plants into oil. vacation.
____ ____ ____
Can You Spot the 6 Differences in the
two pictures? Courtesy of: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Discover Jonathan’s Secret
Children are the most impacted by air pollution because their bodies are still
developing and they are more active than the average adult. 80% of the tiny air sacs in a
child’s lungs are still developing after they are born, and are thus more affected by air
pollution. The effects of breathing particulate matter, ozone, and other pollutants when
young can still affect you after you become an adult due to decreased lung function and
Asthma is also a big problem in East Tennessee because air pollution can cause
asthma attacks. Out of the more than 400,000 people living in Knox County, over 8,000 of
them are kids that have asthma.
Although there are many health
effects of breathing in air pollution, there’s
no need to be scared or not go outside to
play. But it is important to check the
news and weather to find the air quality
level before spending a whole day
outside, especially during hot, summer
days when ozone is formed. You can ask
your parents to find it on the internet
(www.airnow.gov) or you can watch the
weather on your local news station.
The Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE) is part of the University of Tennessee
(UT) and was created to promote the development of policies, technologies, and educational
programs, engage the university''s research faculty and staff, and allow the university to grow in
response to environmental issues facing the state, the nation, and the globe.
The ISSE employs many different types of people with all different kinds of educational
backgrounds, such as economists, biologists, political scientists, planners, chemists, engineers,
accountants, historians, and many more. There are many different projects that people of the ISSE
One such project was headed by Sheila Webster, Director of the Technology and Research
Development Program and Maggie Stevens , an ISSE Researcher. Together they worked with
Alcoa High School students to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Students were encouraged to
use reusable canvas bags when grocery shopping and were given a flash drive to load papers on
instead of printing.
Catherine Wilt, Director of policy for ISSE’s Center for Clean Products worked on a project that
received national attention. Mrs. Wilt led a team of UT students to a Sustainable Design
competition in Washington D.C., where the students took home the grand prize and received
$75,000 to build a sustainable building in Norris, TN.
Jonathan Overly, Director of the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition is spearheading several
projects right now to bring cleaner fuels use to East Tennessee and beyond. They include adding
electrical towers for trucks at a Crossville truck stop so that the trucks can stop idling and reduce
their emissions, and building a biofuels corridor on I-75 all the way from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
to Miami, Florida. The I-75 project will enable Americans to travel all along I-75 and be able to
refuel with American-made E85 ethanol or B20 biodiesel along the way.
Word Clean Air Search!
S Z C O J V J E S S U E N T D C K L
I O A L Z S T S L A L W L Q I A N E
A L Y A I H R L J E G A E B R R Z S
I E Q B A M I N C S H L Z R B P N E
R Z C N E P A T S M R K A F Y O E I
P P O O S A R T U O C E I R H O K D
O L R L R I N Q E X I I Q D U L X O
L Q I P C N U S R C L C U G E T V I
L O Z I U S S A R G H C T I W S A B
U P T Q R E S A G U Q A C L E A N N
T Y T W A X O N I H G E N A P O R P
I E H G R E E N H O U S E G A S E S
O X L B W B J B N A D A V O E Z J D
N A W S P J U N Y K M Y M L Q Z I Y
T E N N E S S E E F O T G H I T X E
Z V Z E R A A N I G X I W X T O L P
T Q J T V X E T P K N H L Z S S B I
T J T U F N R Y D Y G Y C M J O A U
AIR POLLUTION GAS
ALGAE GREENHOUSE GASES
BIODIESEL NATURAL GAS
CARPOOL OIL SPILLS
CLIMATE CHANGE SOYBEANS
Clean Cars Criss-Cross
3. Using clean fuels can decrease the number of children who have this breathing
5. The National treasure where we can go hiking (2 words)
7. Fuel made by animal fats and soybeans
8. Instead of filling up with gasoline, your parents can use an electric car and use this
9. Instead of your parents driving you to school, you can take this (2 words)
10. What humans need in order to breathe
1. Another word for vehicle
2. A fuel made from corn or switchgrass
4. Pollution that is in the air (2 words)
6. What gasoline and diesel is made from
The East TN Clean Fuels Maze
Let’s Work Together to Clean the
Special Thanks To:
Great Smoky Mountain
For More Information:
Picture Sources: Information Sources:
Word Press Answers.com
Modern X Classic CleantheAirTN.org
Voyageur Oil and Gas Corp EPA - www.epa.gov
The Guardian UK EPA Environmental Kids Club - www.epa.gov/kids
Canada Maps Fueleconomy.gov
Europa Valve NASA.gov
The Daily Mail UK OPEC.org
University of Arizona MuseumoftheEarth.org
RV Now Blog Stateoftheair.org
AMS Oil US. Energy Information Administration Energy Kids
Chris Madden Cartoons