Vintage bikes

As you already know, we love, and I mean love to talk about biking and using alternative ways to cars to get to places you want to go. Want to go to Starbucks down the street? It’s less than 2 miles right? No reason to use your car.

But not only do we talk about carpooling, biking, walking, etc. to make the air cleaner, we also talk about ways to make our world greener. One way we can do that is by recycling or upcycling.

However…what if I told you we could do both at the same time?

Bicycled is a project that intends to use various parts from different cars giving each bike that is created from these old cars a distinct and vintage look. Although this hasn’t been tested out entirely, the concept is pretty amazing and does two good things at the same time.

Would you be interested in taking part of this project? Tell us your thoughts in a comment below.

The Greening Forward Program

So when we were in middle school, what were we up to? Who dressed the best, who had a crush on who, who had the grossest acne…

Troublesome times.

But our good friend and collaborator, Charles Orgbon, didn’t think that all those trials and tribulations were enough. So he went off and started a green effort to clean up the litter on his school campus in Charleston, South Carolina. By the time him and his family moved back to Georgia, Orgbon’s recycling program had the backing to make it into a nonprofit organization. He called it Greening Forward.

He’s now the CEO of Greening Forward, at the ripe age of 17. See? It’s totally possible to achieve something meaningful in middle school and high school!

Need more deets? Here’s his interview with Grist, where he was featured. Good for you, Charles, we’re really excited for you!

Q. What inspired Greening Forward?

A. In the fifth grade I noticed my school’s littering problem. I was going to a school that required service and I was trying to decide what my service project was going to be. I was thinking about the world and my place in it and that’s when I noticed the littering problem. I talked to people about starting a club around beautification issues and started a website.

Q. How did it grow from a school club to organization that’s reaching 1,500 kids?

A. We’re sponsored right now by Earth Force [a Colorado nonprofit that supports youth-focused environmental organizations]. I actually reached out to them in 2009 about Greening Forward. I didn’t know much about Earth Force, but they were very interested. They later asked me to join the board. I flew for the first time ever and went to Denver, Colo., for my first board meeting. I don’t come from a family of environmentalists or people who would know how to run a nonprofit organization. I found really great mentors and all of them were through Earth Force.

Q. Have you been able to bring that environmentalism home?

A. [My parents] are supportive. But that’s still a constant struggle, to be honest. They volunteer and they do help. They come to events. But getting them to recycle and not use plastic water bottles and not idle the car, again that’s a constant battle.

Q. To someone not from the South, it seems like these things could be a bit of an uphill battle generally.

A. When we had our snowstorm here a couple of years ago, businesses put signs in their windows that said, “Where’s global warming?” That is a constant struggle. But at a people level, I love being part of the southern green movement. Some of the land conservation organizations were hunting and fishing clubs that moved into protecting the land they used. One interesting thing: They started as social clubs [for hunters and fishers] that may not have been very inclusive in the ’50s and ’60s, so they’re still lacking some in diversity.

Q. Tell me more about the Earth Savers clubs that you run.

A. We work with 1,500 young people through the Earth Savers program. We serve ages 5 to 25. [The clubs] can take on any kind of form you can imagine where young people have come together and want to make a difference in the community. It can be in a classroom or an after-school program or young people who decided they wanted to start their own program. We offer grants, and then they use these grants to implement those programs. We just released a comic strip that traced the journey of young people who did a project [to clean up a park] in their community and the challenges they faced.

Q. What is Greening Forward working on now?

A. This year our projects have largely centered around water quality issues. We’ve built a number of rain gardens, we’ve planted trees, 80 compost bins, 200 rain barrels installed. That’s the sort of collective impact we can have.

Q. So what’s next for you?

A. Next year my school approved me to do a work-study program where I leave school early to go work. I’ll have another hour of my day to do Greening Forward stuff, which is pretty cool. I’m in this phase of trying to make sure that we have everything we need to make Greening Forward next year. How can we do things better? How can we improve our curriculum? A little more fundraising, of course, during the summer as well.

Three years ago I didn’t know how to start a bank account, but now I’m balancing a budget of $80,000. I don’t know where I’m going to be, I don’t know where I’m going to college, but I definitely still want to be in the field of working with young people and environmental work, because that’s what I’m passionate about.

Inspired? I sure am. This just proves that you are really capable of anything at this age, especially if they’re green efforts! We hope his story motivates you to start up something similar to promote environmentalism, or to even join his program. Share your thoughts in a comment below!

Source: http://grist.org/people/17-year-old-sets-out-to-save-the-planet-makes-the-rest-of-us-feel-really-lame/

Baby steps.

You would think that with us being on summer vacation, more and more people will use their bikes, walk, use public transit, pogo sticks, whatever tickles your fancy. But no. We still see people blasting their air conditioning (oh goodness, the emissions) and wasting all of that gas and making our air all gross. We don’t need that smog.

So, we have a way to motivate you to start biking instead, through cute illustrations of what could potentially be you!

It’s all in the small steps…think about how it will be when you’re going to start driving, if you haven’t already!

For the record, biking is way easier than ALL OF THESE.

We promise, it’s not horrible at all. This is an example of like…one of those go hard or go home situations.

But look at how happy she is! SEE!? It’s easy! And convenient.

Have any of you guys taken on biking as your main mode of transportation? Have any funny stories to accompany it? Let us know in a comment below!

Source: http://bikeyface.com/2013/05/08/small-steps/

Summer Fever

Woohoo! School’s out! I know everyone is excited about what they are going to do over the summer. Maybe you’ll go camping with your family or go to the mall with your friends, and some of you guys might get a head start on all that summer homework.

Whatever it is, remember that helping the environment is still a main priority. No matter where you are, you are surrounded by air. Here are a few summer fever + helping the environment tips to keep in mind!

1. Keep hydrated! Instead of buying plastic bottles, get a reusable one!
2. Don’t want to hold onto your wrappers while camping? Don’t throw them on the ground–find a trash can!
3. Travel clean! Instead of taking the car for short distances, try the bike (you don’t need to pay for the gas!). Heck, you could even walk if you wanted to!
4. Going to the mall to meet up with friends? Try carpooling, it’s much more fun.
5. Plan your errands to avoid going around in circles to save gas and time.
6. Recycle all and everything you can! Trying to get rid of all the notes and tests from your classes? Recycle!
7. Improve energy efficiency. Instead of cranking up the AC, buy your own fan. Don’t turn on the lights in the morning and afternoon, there’s plenty of sunlight so pull up those curtains! And don’t forget to turn off and unplug stereos, radios, and televisions when leaving the house.
8. Don’t spend 1 hour in the shower. I repeat: no 1-hour showers! As tempting as it sounds to cool off in the summer, cut down the water usage to about 15 to 25 minutes.
9. For those who are doing summer homework on their computer, make sure to turn off and take off the power supply after work. And try using eBooks and soft copy versions of books before printing hundreds of pages out!
10. Plant a garden (or tree, which ever you prefer).
11. Collect rain water for use in garden and watering plants.
12. Not going anywhere special? Find local communities that are helping out with the environment (it’s a great way to get community service hours too).

 

OnAir says: So what’s your planet-saving list for the summer? Let us know in the comments! And whatever you do, don’t forget to log those AirCreds!

Go Garbage-less: Meet the family that produces just one quart of trash per year.

We get it. You recycle, you use public transit, you ride your bike, you’re green—I mean, golden. However, could you do what the Johnsons did?

© mnn.com

Cute family, yeah? Oh, but they are just so much more. This family only produces one quart of garbage a year.

Wait, what? Is this real life?

But according to Bea Johnson, the woman in the picture above, it is extremely possible. And it’s not bad at all. She’s the author of a book called Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste.

She started completely on accident when her family was trying to purchase a new home. They were in an apartment for a little while and only kept the things they needed. They basically gave up most of their stuff. This inspired her to look into environmental friendliness, and she got the whole family in on it. Today, 99.9% of her children’s clothing is used, and most of the clothing used by her and her husband is also used. Each family member’s wardrobe can fit into one carryon. They use reusable shopping bags, make bulk bags from old sheets, and she brings jars to the supermarket for her “wet” items she purchases.

Inspired? She has some tips for you, excerpted from her book with her permission.

Refuse

1. Fight junk mail. It’s not just a waste of resources, but also of time. Register to receive less at dmachoice.org, optoutprescreen.com and catalogchoice.org.

2. Turn down freebies from conferences, fairs, and parties. Every time you take one, you create a demand to make more. Do you really need another “free” pen?

Reduce

3. Declutter your home, and donate to your local thrift shop. You’ll lighten your load and make precious resources available to those looking to buy secondhand.

4. Reduce your shopping trips and keep a shopping list. The less you bring home, the less waste you’ll have to deal with.

Reuse

5. Swap disposables for reusables (start using handkerchiefs, refillable bottles, shopping totes, cloth napkins, rags, etc.). You might find that you don’t miss your paper towels, but rather enjoy the savings.

6. Avoid grocery-shopping waste: Bring reusable totes, cloth bags (for bulk aisles), and jars (for wet items like cheese and deli foods) to the store and farmers market.

Recycle

7. Know your city’s recycling policies and locations — but think of recycling as a last resort. Have you refused, reduced or reused first? Question the need and life cycle of your purchases. Shopping is voting.

8. Buy primarily in bulk or secondhand, but if you must buy new, choose glass, metal or cardboard. Avoid plastic: Much of it gets shipped across the world for recycling and often ends up in the landfill (or worse yet, the ocean).

Rot

9. Find a compost system that works for your home and get to know what it will digest (dryer lint, hair and nails are all compostable).

10. Turn your home kitchen trash can into one large compost receptacle. The bigger the compost receptacle, the more likely you’ll be to use it freely.

Has Bea Johnson inspired you to live even more efficiently? Would you actually want to? Or do you already? Share your story with us in a comment below.

Tracking your AirCreds!

©umich.edu

Here at OnAir, we are trying to point you toward reducing your carbon footprint, as well as keep the earth clean and green. (Gosh, we hope that’s coming through.)

But now scientists have found a pretty efficient way to keep track.

They’re called carbon trackers, and they’re gadgets attached to towers, mountains, etc. And they act as satellites that measure the sunlight off the surface of the earth. Then, the tracker calculates the carbon footprint based off the measurement from the sunlight. Which means that, with all the efforts that claim to reduce carbon emissions, we’ve now got a tool that checks to see if those efforts are actually working. So far, this project is being tested out in Los Angeles and Paris.

Pretty cool, right?

And on the subject of tracking…well, here at OnAir, we might know just a thing or two. Because, in case you hadn’t heard, we’ve got our own tracking tool right here on-site! Our tool may not test the air like those carbon trackers, but we do track YOUR behavior and its impact on the air around you. And if you’ve got a lot of air-friendly acts to brag about, then we give you points for it. That’s what AirCreds are, really. Your score on the air-friendliness scale.

Have you checked your AirCreds total lately? Fun fact: Tracking your air efforts now can give you more opportunities to earn AirCreds later. This summer, OnAir’s got a lineup of challenges coming, and we might just be giving out some pretty cool prizes.

Tell us what you think! What are your opinions of these gadgets? And how will you get AirCreds this summer? Let us know in a comment below!

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/12/carbon-trackers-la_n_3262833.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green

Bikes are in.

©Joy Hey

http://www.ridethecity.com/

Check this out! This website is unbelievable. What it does is that it maps out the best way for you to get to your destination…by bike.  That’s right, guys.

We love biking around here. It’s fun, it’s healthy, and it produces zero air pollution.

And with the weather as beautiful as it is right now, why wouldn’t you want to ride your bike instead of shutting yourself up in the  car? I don’t know about all of you, but I am definitely using this to the max and riding EVERYWHERE on my bike. Just be sure to type in the name of your city after the URL. Here’s the one for the home city of OnAir!

http://ridethecity.com/atlanta

So put on your hipster shades and your TOMs and head on over to your local coffee shop to study for your finals and drink organically grown coffee. Bikes are in.

http://laughingsquid.com/ride-the-city-a-mapping-service-that-encourages-safe-cycling/

5 Ways to be a Green College Student

©towson.edu

So I imagine that many of you guys are about to start college. If you are a reader of OnAir, then I’m also sure you are like us where you try to find ways to be more green in everyday life. That being said, have any of you researched local universities that implement going green into their campus lifestyle? For example, Emory University in Decatur, Georgia has made several big steps to be a more green campus.

However, what if the university you’re choosing to go to isn’t necessarily the best at being green? No worries, we have some suggestions for you future freshmen!

  1. Go thrifting! We’ve mentioned this before; it’s better to use what has already been produced, right? Plus it’s cheaper and you have an edgier wardrobe as a result.
  2. Buy used textbooks! Save your trees, people! Used textbooks are so much cheaper than new ones. Plus, the oldest textbooks already have highlighted points and annotations in the text! And who buys new textbooks anyway?
  3. Unplug! Do you leave your charger(s) plugged in even when they’re not connected to your laptop/cell phone/iPod/light saber? That takes up a significant amount of energy even though they aren’t being used.
  4. Save water. This should be obvious; you don’t want an insane water bill the first month you rent out your new place. A way to help your bill and the environment is by taking shorter showers and washing full loads of laundry.
  5. Walk, bike, or use mass transit to get to school. Live a mile away from campus? Then there is clearly no need to use your car. Using your car adds to pollution and wastes gas. You live near campus for a reason! Oh, you don’t live near campus? Use public transportation! It’s one less headache you will have to deal with when you’re filling up your tank every week, and you don’t have to sit through traffic. Or worry about finding a parking space. Are you seriously still holding those car keys? Put them down.

What are some other ideas you have to go green? Are there any practices you currently partake in and want to take with you to college? What colleges do you know about that have taken big steps in going green? Let us know in a comment below!

http://www.ecampustours.com/for-students/campus-life/free-time-and-social-life/how-to-be-a-green-student.aspx#.UXASOKKG2Ag

Like & Follow Us!

So you’re following our blog, you’re logging your AirCreds, so you’ve proven yourself to be quite the OnAir fan (we hope). But are you following our Facebook and Twitter?

For the purposes of becoming more eco-friendly, we need to increase awareness of all sources of information to everyone! So to further movement, tell your friends about our OnAir feeds.

Like us here: http://www.facebook.com/OnAirTeens

Follow us here: https://twitter.com/OnAirGA

 

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!