About Karen Edwards

Karen Edwards is the Education Social Media intern at The Clean Air Campaign where she researches progressive topics related to clean air, sustainability, going green, etc. She loves to write and has a passion for news, photography and, of course, clean air. She is currently a senior a Kennesaw State University and graduates in July with a journalism degree. In her downtime she enjoys reading fiction novels and playing with her cat, Ellie.

Get OnAir Video Challenge

Are you well-known for your skills behind smartphone or video camera lens? Been itching to make your directorial debut? Or, maybe you’re ready for your on-camera close up? Either way, we’ve got the perfect project for you to show off your cinema originality. Enter the Get OnAir Video Challenge!

Create a video that shows how everyday actions impact our air. Got an original idea for cutting pollution? Show us. Know someone who deserves the spotlight for being air-friendly? Capture it. Just want to make a “save the air” commercial for wide release? Now’s your chance.

Showcase how we can make a difference, and then let the internet decide your fate. And if the internet picks you, you could win a Sony HD Camera—“The Bloggie”.

You’ve got until September 15 submit your video and attempt to claim a victory. The winner is determined by OnAir member votes, so get your friends over to blogonair.org to create their profile and vote, vote, vote for your video.

You can create any type of film. It can be a music video, commercial, SNL-style clip — anything you can think of, as long as it follows the theme. Don’t be afraid to get creative! (Remember, there’s a Sony HD Bloggie Camera on the line).

For details and instructions, check out the official contest page: www.blogonair.org/video-contest. And don’t forget log your video submittal in the AirCreds tool for major points and prizes.

So grab that smartphone or handheld and get your creative juices flowing for the chance to win BIG.

Style Tips for Biking and Walking

School’s back in, and you want to make an entrance. Our suggestion? Make it a clean entrance by biking or walking to school.

Remember, walking and biking are great for the air—and for you—because they put out zero pollution and get you moving at the same time. But maybe you’re worried about how to arrive in style. So, we came up with a few of the top style excuses for not biking or walking to school…and how to overcome them.

Excuse #1: I’d get to school all sweaty and gross.

Yeah, there’s no escaping a little perspiration, especially in the warmer months. But you can cut back by heading to school a little earlier—taking advantage of the cooler morning temperatures and making time for a quick freshening up when you get there.

Ladies, consider stashing a goody bag in your locker with your favorite deodorant/fragrance and wet wipes for a quick clean up. And guys, look at your locker. Now look at me. Now back at your locker. Now back at me. Now put some Old Spice in your backpack. Now you’re on a bike.

Excuse #2: If I ride my bike, I’d get helmet hair.

Ah yes, the infamous helmet hair. Ladies, one helpful option is wearing a scarf over your hair and under your helmet to fend off the friction and creasing that can make helmet hair a nightmare. Looking to go the extra mile? Check out this awesome how-to slideshow of five helmet-friendly hairstyles by Refinery29. And don’t forget to stock that locker goody bag with your favorite hairspray, headbands, hairclips—anything that can liven up a flattened ‘do.

As for you, guys – consider bringing helmet hair back in style. When you take the helmet off, just shake it out and run a light gel through your hair for a messy, I-don’t-even-care look, a la Robert Pattinson.

Excuse #3: What if my clothes get dirty?

Add a spare change of clothes to your locker goody bag. And to keep your bag light and still have room in your locker, stick to travel sized toiletries and an easily foldable outfit. (In other words, avoid ultra stiff jeans and large bubble vests).

What’s one style worry that’s been holding you back from biking or walking to school? Let us know below in the comments. And don’t forget to log your clean commutes in the AirCreds tool for points and prizes!


Gardening on the Go

As we’ve said a million times, plants and trees are the best natural air-purifiers out there. But not everyone has time—or yard space—to grow them at home.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a front or back yard, or you’re always on the go, there’s a new gardening trend out there: go mobile. Think it can’t be done? Check out these examples we’ve found around the web:

Wearable Bike Planter

Made from nylon, these handy sleeves let you decorate your bike with nature, making your clean ride even cleaner. And Wearable Planters doesn’t only offer bike accessories, but also several different types of jewelry. Check them out here: Wearable Planters

Bicycle Garden Mohawk

Pretty cool, huh? We found this idea via Treehugger and for this simple design, all you need is some cheesecloth, used socks, and burlap. For more instructions, click here: Bicycle Garden Mohawk Instructions 


The company Bacsac, entirely devoted to mobile gardening solutions, offers a variety of organically made cloth pots. With these, you can get creative in making your own kind of mobile garden – whether you’d like it in a shopping cart, attached to your bike, or on top of your car. Check them out here.

Window Box Bike Planter

Turn your bike basket into something more by using that space for a garden. You can easily make your own by lining your basket with some cheese cloth. Or, you could make a heavy duty window box bike planter by following these instructions:  Bike Window Box Instructions

Bus Roots

Bus-top gardens, like this one in New York, can create a lot more green space in urban cities. In fact, if every bus in the city held a rooftop garden, it could create up to 35 acres of new green space. Get the full scoop here.

When thinking up your own mobile garden, the sky is really the limit. Just make sure to consider the amount of space your plants need to take root.

What kind of mobile garden appeals to you? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to log your gardening in the AirCreds tool for points and prizes!

How green is your school?

So…sorry to bring this up, guys, but it’s almost back-to-school time. And while the end of vacation might be kind of a bummer, we’ve go a project for you to tackle that might make the school year pass just a little quicker. How about making this the year that you try to green-up your school?

It might seem like a big job. That’s because it is. But just because there’s lots to do doesn’t mean that you can’t make a difference. Here are some tips and tricks you can try this year to make your school a greener place:

Don’t Idle

Idling, or leaving the engine running while the car isn’t moving, emits 20 times more pollution than if you were travelling at 30 miles per hour. And it happens every day at your school, when students get dropped off and picked up. You can help cut down on that pollution by getting people to turn their cars off when sitting for more than 30 seconds.

Cutting back on idling can make a HUGE difference in the air quality at your school. Wanna get the word out? Try Facebook, Twitter, even YouTube to get people talking. You could even create a #noidling hashtag and make the idea go viral!

Walk, Bike, Pool, or Bus to School

Everyone has the option of riding the bus – so, hop on. One full school bus takes approximately 36 cars off the road. That’s 36 fewer cars emitting harmful pollution into the air. Plus, that morning and afternoon ride gives you optimal time to listen to your favorite tunes, look up game cheats, catch up on celebrity gossip …you get the picture.

If you live within walking or pedaling distance of your school, walking or biking can be easier than you think. Just make sure to map a safe route, and don’t be afraid to scout the neighborhood for walking and biking buddies. Try downloading the Map My Ride app to find the best route to your school.

If you’re not close enough to walk or bike, consider carpooling. This is another area where you could utilize Facebook—try creating Facebook groups for people to safely link with others in their area.


If your school has recycling bins, use them. And encourage your classmates to use them too – especially for paper. If there’s no recycling service at your school, petition your school principal and superintendent to get one. Remind them that adding a recycling service could save their budget up to $7,000 a year, according to Mass Recycle.

Pack Your Lunch

Eat a waste-free lunch everyday by avoiding packing things like plastic seal bags, plastic forks, paper napkins, etc. Instead, pack your lunch using:

– Reusable lunch containers

– Regular, washable utensils

– Cloth napkins

– Reusable drink containers

– Reusable lunch boxes

Basically, try to stay waste-free when you pack your lunch. Challenge your friends and classmates to pack their lunches too.

Bring in the Green

Plants are natural air purifiers. Their roots and leaves work together to soak up chemical pollutants in the air. Bringing any plants inside will help, but for the best results, have one plant for every 10 square yards of floor space.

So, try to get one plant in every classroom. The best air purifiers are spider plants, English Ivies and Gerbera Daisies. All three are low maintenance and easily found in stores.

How green do you think your school is? Let us know in the comments below. And, don’t forget to log your on-campus green activities in the AirCreds tool for points and prizes.


Green Tips for New Drivers

You’ve passed your driving exam and have finally gotten your license – or, maybe you’re still racking up hours of practice with your learner’s permit. Either way, the open road is calling your name and you can’t wait to get behind the wheel on your own. But, as we’ve all learned from Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility.


As you know, car exhaust is the number one contributor to smog and air pollution. But don’t fret! Because here are tips on how to keep your ride clean (air clean, that is):

  • Drive the speed limit. Once you hit 60 mph, the amount of gas you’re using rapidly increases. So, by sticking to the speed limit you’ll not only stay safe, you’ll save on gas and decrease the amount of exhaust you expend into the air.
  • Don’t idle. This is a big one. Idling, or leaving the engine running while the car isn’t moving, emits 20 times more pollution than if you were travelling at 30 miles per hour. It also burns up gas that you’re not getting any miles out of. So as tempting as it can be to indulge in some AC while waiting in the car, turn off that engine if you’ll be sitting for more than 30 seconds.
  • Keep up with maintenance.  Make sure your tires stay properly inflated and replace your air filters regularly for a more efficient ride. A more efficient ride means less air pollution. And don’t forget to get regular oil changes – you can even opt for more efficient motor oil! Just check for motor oil that says “Energy Conservative” on the API performance symbol.
  • Plan, plan, plan. Think ahead and try to take the shortest or most efficient route to get where you’re going. Try to trip chain and map a route where you’ll be able to stop by several places in one trip.

And, of course, it goes without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway!): Always wear your seatbelt, keep both hands on the wheel, follow the speed limit, and don’t EVER text or talk on your phone while driving.

Do you have your license or learner’s permit? Let us know what you think about green driving in the comments below. And don’t forget to log your air-friendly driving in the AirCreds tool for points and prizes!

Have a Red, White, & Green Fourth!

Independence Day is just around the corner, and you know what that means: fireworks and outdoor cookouts galore! But since we’re in the middle of smog season, some may not look forward to an all-day, outdoor cookout followed by an evening filled with smoke-producing fireworks.

But, cheer up! Because here are some green solutions to help you breathe easier on the Fourth of July.


While fireworks are one of the best parts of Independence Day, they’re infamous for spreading dangerous toxins such as carbon monoxide into the air.

So, the best thing to do is reduce the amount of fireworks out there. Instead of buying individual fireworks, get a group together and head to the nearest large fireworks display. Imagine it – 100 people looking at one display of fireworks is better than 100 people each lighting their own fireworks. (Just like a bunch of people riding the bus is better than each one driving his/her own car. But we digress.)

You’ll be cutting down on the amount of air pollution while still getting into the Fourth of July spirit.

An even better option is heading to a light show or a laser show. Since lasers are light without the smoke, laser shows are the completely air-friendly way to see colorful, popping displays. Here in Atlanta, the ever-popular Stone Mountain Laser Show is a summer staple. Carpool in for an amazing Fourth of July view.


Having a green barbecue doesn’t have to be difficult. Just remember to try to stay sustainable!

  • Attempt to stay away from plastic and aluminum dishware. Instead, go with regular dishware and utensils – they’re reusable!
  • For the menu, stick to local food.
  • Use a gas grill instead of a charcoal grill for fewer emissions.
  • If you just can’t let go of the charcoal, try using a FSC-Certified brand such as Wicked Good Charcoal– it’s made from industrial scrap wood produced from clean-energy turbine heat!

And if you’re worried about smog on the Fourth, remember our tips for outdoor activities on high smog days.

What are your Fourth of July traditions? Leave them in the comments below. And don’t forget to log your air-friendly Fourth of July activities on the AirCreds tool for points and prizes!






Transit on the Silver Screen

We love a good movie around here…almost as we love buses and trains! As you know, riding transit gets cars off the road, which reduces air pollution – and that’s awesome.

So, being transit nerds, we naturally make a mental note when we see clean commuting on the big screen. Here’s handful of our favorite clips featuring public transportation:

An action-packed commute for these riders in Spiderman 2:

Angst-ridden subway daydreaming in Across the Universe:

Jamal and Salim take train riding to another level in this scene from Slumdog Millionaire:

Inspiration to burst into song on your next subway ride: Rent.


Napoleon Dynamite: Gosh!

Almost Famous, showcasing the classic traveling sing-along:

(And just since it never goes without saying, we’ll say it now: We don’t claim rights to any of these videos. Those belong to their respective studios and production companies. We’re just link scavengers over here.)

What are your favorite movies? Have they got any good transit scenes? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to log your bus and train riding in AirCreds for points and prizes!


Online Shopping: Green it Up!

Online shopping: is it really the greener choice? Even we wondered whether it was the cleaner way to shop. While shopping online eliminates the emissions you’d expend by driving to and from the store, it also often comes with long shipping distances and non-biodegradable packaging. Both are bad news. So, here are some tips to making your online shopping a bit greener:

  • Think about it – when you order something and get it shipped, it’s going to have to make a trip to your house. So if you’re shopping for multiple items, try to order from the same place all at once. That way, your stuff will only make one trip rather than several trips.
  • Pay attention to the practices of the sites where you shop. Major sites, such as Amazon, have begun to use recyclable and sustainable shipping methods. So now you’ll have a choice in buying more eco-friendly.
  • Choose green shipping. If they don’t offer it, in the “special comments” box, ask for your items to be shipped together, if possible. Or for recyclable materials to be used. They might not be able to grant those requests, but you definitely have a right to ask.

There are thousands of online stores to choose from – not sure where to start? Here are some sites that offer air-friendly options:

  • Etsy.com provides various sellers that offer vintage, handmade products. Many are eco-friendly sellers. This site gives you direct contact from who you’re buying from. So, you’ll have the ability to buy from sellers that only ship using sustainable, air-friendly methods.
  • Ebay’s World of Good online store lets you shop from fair trade sellers. The sellers are split into categories and you can choose to only shop from those labeled “eco-positive,” meaning they make and ship their products using sustainable, air-friendly means.
  • Amazon uses TerraPass to calculate their carbon footprint. They also offer combined shipping and have a Frustration-Free Packaging program that uses recyclable cardboard for shipping.
  • For shipping, UPS uses alternative energy vehicles, sustainable packaging, and technology that maps more efficient routes.
  • Of course, the greenest places to shop don’t do any shipping at all! Downloading purchases through sites like iTunes or Amazon (instead of ordering CDs and DVDs) completely eliminates the litter and air pollution factor—it’s très air-friendly! So, although hard copies are still an option, remember that direct downloading is the cleanest, zero-emission way to get your music and movies!

If online shopping isn’t an option, shop greener by carpooling or riding transit to and from the store. (In other words, take friends along. Shopping’s more fun with them, anyway.) And if you drive, try to trip chain by charting a route where you can stop by several stores in one trip.

And don’t forget to log your air-friendly online shopping and cleaning commuting on AirCreds for points and prizes!

Outdoor Activities for High-Smog Days

Now that smog season has started, we’re all concerned about outdoor hangouts during high smog days. Just last week, metro Atlanta had its first Code Orange smog alert. As you know, smog is mostly made up of particle pollution and ground-level ozone, which is extremely harmful our bodies. When inhaled, it’s like a sunburn on your lungs.

But summertime in Georgia is a beautiful thing, and you shouldn’t miss out! So, here are some tips on how to continue enjoying the outdoors during high-smog days:

  • Try getting outside earlier in the morning and later in the evening. The best time to go outside on a high-smog day is before 12 p.m. and after 7 p.m.
  • Consider lower-intensity games and activities. If you’re a runner, try going for a walk instead. Other awesome low-intensity activities include outdoor ping-pong, foursquare, and a game of catch. Also, parks with a large amount of tree canopy are great options because trees provide purified air and great cover – so don’t be afraid to head to the park!
  • Keep an eye on the air quality. A high-smog day can be dangerous if you’re unaware. So, sign up for Smog Alerts here to stay informed on the state of the air all summer long.

What do you like to do outside in the summertime? Show us your ideas in the comments below! And don’t forget to log your clean-air outdoor activities in the AirCreds tool for points and prizes!

Creative Transportation – Bike Sharing

We like bikes around here. That’s because bike riding is one of the cleanest modes of transportation available—not to mention healthy and pretty fun, too. But what if you don’t own a bike? Meet bike sharing.

Cities all over the world have bike sharing programs in place to make bikes available to people who don’t own them.

Here’s the general idea: bike stations are placed around a community. Bike sharing members can pick them up, use them and return them to any station. Just like renting a movie.

Bike sharing programs have become popular—and successful—all over the world. Barcelona’s Bicing bike share program reportedly cut the country’s CO2 emissions down 9,000 metric tons last year! Wuhan, China currently has the largest bike sharing program in the world, with about 60,000 available bikes, with bikes cropping up about every 100 meters!

In the U.S., Boston’s bike share program has gone environmentally above and beyond with solar powered bike stations. Here in Georgia, Georgia Tech has started the ViaCycle bike sharing program, which has already gathered over 100 users. It’s currently only available to Georgia Tech students and faculty, but plans are being shopped around for a city-wide program.

Another national bike sharing service here in the States is Bcycle. Bcycle sets up available bikes at several “B-stations” around the towns where they operate, making it easy to join up and grab a bike when you need one.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any Bcycle sites here in Georgia…yet. But Bcycle is always accepting nominations for new towns in the “Who Wants it More?” section of their site. Click here to nominate your town today!

Check out this bike sharing world map to see just how many bike sharing systems there are all over the world! This map shows operational systems as well as systems in planning or construction.

Think bike sharing won’t work for your community? It may be easier than you think. Get to know your biking peers, and start talking about how to make your town more bike-friendly. Also, check out this link for helpful ideas and articles about community bike programs: iBike encouragement

So, what do you think of bike sharing? Tell us in the comments section below! And, don’t forget to log your bike riding in the AirCreds tool for points and prizes!