About Shafer Tharrington

My name is Shafer Tharrington and I am a Senior who plays the viola and enjoy nature along with animals. I also enjoy comedy and literature, and since I don't know what else to say that's all folks!

Green Shopping

As of now, retail and department stores are advertising their great deals and back-to-school specials for the coming school year. However, due to the economy and price strategizing, we find ourselves driving to lots of different stores for specific items that we want to buy, alternating from the best jeans to the coolest shoes. So what’s the best way to go about this?

First, go online and price different stores for the items that you want and love. If you have a type of jean that you prefer in one store, see if you can find the other clothes that you want in the same store. While this saves a load of your time, it also saves the environment as well. You would be saving your car from running empty in the fuel tank; simultaneously you would prevent the amount of harmful CO2 emissions in the air.

Try and plan your major and minor shopping to all be located in one centered area and not scattered throughout your hometown. There are many advertisements stating the benefits of taking one’s business to individualized retail stores, instead of the mall. However, with some searching on the internet, you might find that the deals can be better. This is extremely helpful to the clean air cause because the mall has a multitude of department stores and other various items in one place without you having to travel that much by vehicle. Or, if you don’t care to shop at the mall, many stores are now teaming up to build their franchises next to one another in hopes of reducing the amount of travel that their customers have to endure.

Likewise, you could plan to do your shopping with a group of your best friends and decide to all carpool to the mall or store of your intention. It would be helpful to the cause and could be a fun day out with your friends. Better yet: if you don’t want to carpool, you could ride the metro line, subway, or even the bus.

 

OnAir says: When you bundle a lot of errands together to cut down on extra car trips, we call that “trip chaining”–and it’s a great, simple way to cut down on pollution. Also, who WOULDN’T prefer to go shopping in a group? Keep that in mind, and carpool next time!

College Can Be Green

As we all know, it is mid-summer and with that comes heat and back-to-school sales. Yes,
indeed it is time to prepare for the rigorous routine of school, however while some of our views are headed back to middle and high school, some of us are embarking upon the adventure of college. So here are some ideas to consider.

Most college freshmen need to consider the problem of transportation to and from school,
while keeping in mind the traveling around the school campus itself. When shopping for a car, attempt to find one that has a higher level of miles per gallon. This will aid in the amount of pollution released into the atmosphere and it will provide a bit of relief to one’s pocket in the long run. Likewise, it is ideal to keep in mind that you are looking for a vehicle that will get you where you need to go and not be that awesome sports car you always wanted or that nice convertible that looks especially fashionable.

Similarly, you might want to mull over the idea of bringing a bike to your college. Many of your classes will be throughout the campus area and provide a bit of distance to travel in a short time. A bike is highly effective in reducing pollution, while being a simplistic form of transportation. Plus, many colleges’ campus has the continual struggle of finding room for the student’s cars. Thus they have to always make new parking lots and waste tons of useful land that could be used for the growth of trees and plants. Besides It has also been proven that riding a bike is very therapeutic to the stressed student; it is amazing the effects that a nice ride has on a person’s mentality!

Since most of you will need to buy new clothes and materials, it is best to find companies for your linens and towels that are green in production. Since the rising of the “green” movement, multiple companies are helpful in the cause of reducing pollution. Look for manufacturers that utilize resources by recycling and obtaining in a clean fashion.

My final idea for you to consider is to use the most valuable resource you can find, yourself. Take time at your college to join an environmental club or a clean-up crew. Help out with upgrading your park so that it is clean and friendly for all people. The more you help your college be greener, the better it will become. Help yourself, your college, and in time your world!

The Air Games

As many of you sports fans know, it is now the time of reckoning for many in the 2012 Olympic Games located in London. For those who keep track, a major problem in the 2008 games in Beijing was the amount of air pollution and it dismal effects upon the athletes and tourists—such as smog and harshness to breath. As of now, the city of London is taking extra precautions to reduce the amount of pollution that the visitors will be experiencing with the leading levels of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx).

Some programs are initiated that travel around the city to spray a mixture that can soak up the amount of smog that fills the roadways in order to reduce the amount that has vaporized into the air.

Other actions taken by local environmentalist groups are trying to persuade companies to install filter caps onto the mufflers of transportation vehicles and company cars that are a leading factor of carbon emissions. Similarly, on the ground level people are now trading their boilers out for more efficient and environmentally friendly device that reduce the amounts NOx released while in use. All of these actions are in hopes to fulfill the city’s new program of Low Emission Zone for the pollution levels.

Also, companies are installing bike racks and designating other areas for specific use as a
placement for people’s bikes. Since this trend has started, the amount of customers and employees that use their bikes have increased dramatically. Likewise, the large law firm of Simmons and Simmons has started a program called Walk to Client, which allows the attorneys to use certain social media and communications to organize themselves and agree on a set location that is within walking distances for both parties.

So what can we learn from this? Simple: Try the same tactics. Now realize that it doesn’t have to scale large factories and law offices. It could, but you can start simply with your friends. Suggest that you all meet somewhere and that you are all going to bike there, or skateboard, or even just walk. You could even try petitioning the idea of installing some bike rakes and some of your favorite places. The biggest mistake anyone ever made was not trying. Give it a whirl, you might be surprised what happens.

Incentives for Going Green

In these modern times, we have become a bit muddy on the definition of going green and what we as a people should do to help the environment. As of now, just about everything has some sort of label that attaches the idea of being environmentally friendly to being “green”.

In reality, every little bit helps, simple, whether you are using a product that is good for the environment and your wallet, or if you just buying a product that gives partial revenue towards a program that helps an organization for going green.

On that note, here are some monetary notes that could provide you with an incentive for
going green around your house. One major change that all of you can do is simply changing your light bulbs to CFLs, which last longer than regular bulbs and save energy.

Now, when I recommend this, I don’t mean go smash all your bulbs now–just wait till they burn out. Friendly tip: research online the CFL bulbs you are going to buy to figure out if they are soft white or bright white light. It can make a big difference in your house.

Another thing that is happening now is if you surf the web and look on your utility companies’ websites, there are now programs that will reduce your payments to those companies. Basically, they offer you a couple of earth-friendly things to do, and if you so
choose to complete these tasks, they will cut down the costs of your bill and even give you a little payment. Anything to cut the lighting bill, right?

Similarly, for veterans or even active-duty soldiers, there are programs that you can sign
up for at the credit union or your local Veterans Affairs Medical Center that contains similar
programs in which they will pay the veterans to do certain tasks around their house that will promote going green. It would be simple task, such as switching to energy-efficient appliances, using less water on a scheduled basis, what-have-you. So if you know veterans, ask them to look around for such programs and it could end up helping their wallets after all of their service.

These are just some easy tasks to look into to relieve some financial burdens around
your house. I am not saying you have to be gung-ho and commit to all these changes or even pester your family and friends, but just remember we all have to pitch in to help our
environment because we all share it together.

OnAir says:  You know what other green choice pays off? Carpooling! Riding with a friend cuts the amount of car pollution going into the air—and cuts the amount of gas you have to buy. Plus, once you’re out of school and on the job, you can earn cash from The Clean Air Campaign for taking alternative transportation to work. Yes, cash. Not too shabby.

Flowing Help

OnAir says: The harm we do to the environment can be felt all over the world. Several of our student bloggers, in addition to being champions for clean air, also make a point to get involved with humanitarian causes they care about. Here’s one of Shafer’s stories.

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As many of you know, the conditions in a majority of the regions in Africa are on the border of humanly possible to live in, and droughts along with long periods of famine cause a multitude of deaths in the region.

As of now, the Sahel region along with the Ouallam and Maradi regions in Niger are facing a drought crisis that has been ongoing since 2010. The weather hasn’t been favorable for the people and has caused them to not be able to grow produce of any kind. In order to counter this measure, they have to exhaust all of their savings and surplus of food. Farmers don’t have any water to nourish their produce with and now the pastoralists are watching their herds slowly die.

The main problem drastically affecting the region is that the 15 million people (including children) are starting to suffer from malnutrition. Thankfully, UNICEF has decided to step in and aid the people with transportations of water and food supplies; however, since the crisis is becoming increasingly worse, UNICEF needs more support before the threshold has passed and there won’t be anything anyone can do.

So I ask you to consider donating a few dollars to the organization whenever you can assist. I realize it is hard economic times, but I am not talking about a bunch of money. Even one dollar or a few pennies will help. If everyone were to contribute a penny, we could avert this potential crisis with ease. Just think that by donating the cost of 1 drink you could help save millions of lives.

I also implore you to keep this situation in the back of your mind and use it to remember to conserve water every little bit you can, become there is someone out there who could utilize it.

Using The Circle of Life

One of the major topics that are commonly elaborated upon is the benefits to people when we are relentless in our efforts of the Green Movement. It has become commonplace to say, “Do this and you will save the Earth and yourself!”

But the benefit that is often not viewed is the countless amount of animals that are saved due to your efforts when you’re an avid environmentalist. Just by recycling, conserving water, or even being an activist against the harmful effects of pollution, you are helping the lives of a multitude of species around the globe!

If you think your efforts are fruitless other than saving their lives, there is another pro for us humans (yeah, I know, right?). It is called Biomimicry, and it’s where humans design our technologies after the structures of animals and or nature itself. Admit it, your mind is blown away.

Here are some examples that have already been created: Scientists have started creating robotic arms that have semblance with the bone structures of elephant’s trunks because they have a wide range of flexibility. Similarly, aerospace technology is starting to mimic the structure of birds’ skulls in order to have a lighter weight while still being strong.

There are even biomimicry applications that have helped our disabled with the use of bat’s echolocation. There are now designed walking sticks for the visually impaired that will use this technique to locate obstacles in the pathway of the walker.

As of recently, companies are staking claim to harvesting energy the same way that a type of seaweed called Bull kelp uses. With the alternating swells of the ocean, the kelp is able to increase the amount of sunlight it receives for photosynthesis. These companies hope to create energy for consumer use with the same methods and also implement kinetic energy with its swaying motion.

So to all of you green goers out there, there is a little more proof that you should keep up the good work!

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OnAir says: How cool is it that inspiration is another resource we can gather from the earth? Another reason to preserve land, wildlife, water, and air–we never know where tomorrow’s innovators will get their ideas!

You can read more about biomimicry here. Heard about another cool bridge between nature and technology? Tell us about it in the comments!

Are teens ‘green’? A student blogger’s response.

Recently a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution mentioned that a study spanning over the last 40 years has shown a declining attitude for the environment in the younger generations. While the study itself gave considerable proof of the matter, I still disagree simply because there are lurking variables that haven’t been addressed.

As of now, our generation has been raised upon the fact that our Mother Earth faces the consequences of our actions, and that if we don’t step up to the Green Plate, our children suffer. But the study doesn’t take into account the fact that students in schools are now members of the Environmental Clubs and gather Honor Society members to clean their local parks and plant vegetation, actions that weren’t given any real thought the past 30 or even 10 years ago. However, due to the Green campaign, movies featuring vice presidents, and hip hop moguls informing the public about Synergy, we are informed ergo involved.

Most people will be brutally honest and state that they aren’t doing enough for the world, yet they use energy-saving devices, drive fuel-efficient cars while recycling their trash, and pay their free time to clean up their city.

So now I put you to the test: prove the study and statisticians wrong. Be the outlier! Stand up for yourself and your world because in the end we all have to share it.

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OnAir says: Do you think teens really care about the environment? Are you one that does…or doesn’t? Leave us a comment with your thoughts!