First Place – Save Your Lungs!

Bam, 1st place! Congratulations, Gentry! – OnAir Team

The land in Arizona is flat and dry, allowing you to see the horizon all around. Year after year, visit after visit, I can gradually witness the pollution in the air getting thicker and thicker. As technology grows and society becomes more dependent on transportation, car fumes and pollution take over the rest of the clean air we have left. For example, in the United States alone, car emissions single-handedly cater for well over 30,000 deaths. These emissions being released into the air not only affect air quality but can get into your lungs and can result in long-term diseases, such as lung cancer. If we aren’t careful and don’t take a stand for reducing this pollution, our air will no longer be clean and our society will no longer be living.
There are a few things you can start to do to reduce this life-threatening problem. The first, I’m sure you hear a lot, is to carpool. If everyone carpools to work, we can reduce more than half of the cars on the road, resulting in about a 50% decrease in yearly pollution rates. So call your co-worker up and tell them you’ll see them first thing in the morning, because breathing is more important than listening to your own music on the way to school or work! Another thing you can do is to choose your car wisely. Gas is what produces these fumes that are shot into the air, so find a car that is more gas-efficient. Now, let’s be real; not everyone can afford an electric car. Although they are the most ideal and the most “green”, there are other alternatives if it’s not for you. For example, choose a smaller car. Several pollution statistic reports indicate that the average SUV produces at least 47% more pollutants in the form of carbon emissions than the average car. So dump that Hummer and hop on into your Prius, knowing you’re saving your lungs! Also, if able, ride the bus. They are there to provide transportation so you don’t have to drive; take up that opportunity!
As you can see, changing one simple thing, like how you get to work in the morning, can change the air around you. Seeing that gradual increase in pollution and the thickening of the air in Arizona, my heart has been changed. Do your part and let’s work together to save our air and protect our lungs!

Outside sources: http://www.topenvironmentalissues.com/pollution-statistics.shtml

Second Place – Education/Pollution in Nigeria

Congrats, Samantha! 2nd place, pretty impressive! – OnAir Team

In many countries, people aren’t receiving an education. A country with very low literacy rates is Nigeria, and you can see this through the state and condition of their country/society. Nigeria is poverty stricken, the majority of the country do not have the chance to go to public school and spend the days working or searching for water which is greatly scarce and polluted. The oil companies have dominated Nigeria; which has devastated the land and a country as a whole. If Nigeria’s society were to have learned about the downfalls of allowing oil to be drilled maybe Nigeria would be in a better state as today. Did Nigeria have a choice?
The drilling of oil in Nigeria has damaged the resources in which society depended on…the water is polluted and a great majority if the vegetation is gone. Due to the fact the majority of people live in poverty, people get their water,if there is any available, from nearby water ways which may cause people to walk for miles. These water ways are polluted, people are uneducated/ unaware of the water that cause disease until after it has occurred. Even though there may be signs warning people not to drink from the water, education is very rare so people never learned how to read.
The drilling of oil by many companies has increased the air pollution exponentially, so not only is the drilling of oil damaging society through water but also the air they breathe. Nigeria needs justice and a form of government that can change the state of Nigeria. Though it is easier said than done, if the world cares for people/the well-being of planet Earth over greed something will be done.

Source: http://nigeriaworld.com/columnist/uzokwe/081103.html

Third Place – The Importance of our Beaches

Here’s our 3rd place winner! Congrats, Caroline! 

Ever since I was little, I have always enjoyed going to the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico with my family, including Gulf Shores, Destin, and Clearwater Beach. The beauty of the water, the amazing skylines, and the gorgeous white sand have always given me a sense of calmness and joy that I truly cannot achieve in any other part of the world. When the BP oil spill of 2010 occurred, I was very concerned about the marine life and the quality of the water close to shore. What people do not realize is that although the spill may have been “cleaned up” that summer, the indigenous life in the water and on the shore are still feeling the effects of this oil spill to this day.
According to Marcos Cordero of the Green Business Bureau Blog, construction, pollution, overfishing, and overall disregard to the well-being of the environment that is taking place close to the coasts of these aforementioned beaches are immensely destructive to the marine life in the oceans.
Although there has been continued governmental regulation of protecting our beaches, it is also important that individuals take the initiative and work to improve their personal habits in order to benefit the environment. Carpooling, riding bikes, and walking near the coast can improve the quality of air immensely. If the quality of air is improved, the quality of water will also improve, providing the marine life with a more beautiful, pure, and safer habitat. Although I do not think recreational activities in or near the ocean, such as fishing, should be completely outlawed, I do think that if individuals work to change their habits little by little, the beaches that we love to vacation to and enjoy will be in better shape and will continue exist in good condition.

 

Meatless Mondays

The crispiness of bacon, the crunch of fried chicken, and the delicious taste of a freshly cooked steak! By now the mouths of many meat lovers are most likely watering.

brettingtons.com - *dead* sorry, it's probably counter-productive to post this in the middle of a post about vegetarianism ¯_(ツ)_/¯

But yeah, meat is tasty. I would know.

What I also know is that meat consumption as well as what it takes to produce and process it does affect the environment.

Americans consume more than 37 million tons of meat annually and 8 ounces of meat per day, 45% more than recommended by the USDA (U.S Department of Agriculture)( “Monday Campaigns | Meatless Monday.” Monday Campaigns. Meatless Monday Campaign, 2003-2015. Web). Red meat and dairy have the highest environmental footprint when compared to fruits and vegetables. They account for roughly 15% of total global carbon emissions. (“Monday Campaigns | Meatless Monday.” Monday Campaigns. Meatless Monday Campaign, 2003-2015. Web).

So what can we do about this?

Well, taking the initiative to participate in the Meatless Monday movement is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. This international movement was launched in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and since then many countries outside of the U.S have jumped on board with the movement.

In May of 2009, Ghent, Belgium became the first non-U.S city to go meatless on Monday. Not long after that, Paul McCartney introduced the UK to meat-free Mondays. To date, the Meatless Monday movement is active now in 36 countries.

Taking one day out of your week to go totally meat free can have a huge impact. Over the course of one year, for example, a four-person family who skips eating meat one time during a week is equivalent to taking your car off the road for five weeks! Studies show that meat production produces significantly more green house gases than vegetables, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

If everyone went meatless on Monday, the impact of the pollution caused by meat production would greatly be reduced! So I challenge you to visit meatlessmonday.com today and take the pledge to go a meat-free Monday!

 
Sources:
www.meatlessmonday.com/the-gobal-movement/
www.mondaycampaigns.org
www.jhsph.edu/research/centers
www.humanmedia.org/dcc/tabs.php

Co-authored by the OnAir Team

4 Benefits of Eating Locally Grown Food

Locally grown foods are better for the environment. Many times processed foods go through multiple factories before they actually arrive at the fast food chain, and those factories use a lot of power to do things like slaughter cows our packaging food. That power is in turn supplied by power plants, which use fossils fuels to work. This whole train, can just end with you buying your foods from a farmer who uses his own tools, machines, and manpower to grow his crops.

So, there’s the major environmental impact. What are some other pros?

Here’s a list of four reasons why you should choose to go with the locally grown food in your area.

Locally grown food…

1. …is healthier than eating processed food as you’re not aware of the quantity of fat, sodium, and harmful toxins placed in it. With locally grown food, you can track the growth process and measure how many, as well as what type of chemicals are put into your foods. Plus, local foods also contain more nutrients than other foods.

2. …is better for the local economy. Buying local keeps revenue close to home and helps fund local businesses.

3. …has more flavor. When foods go through through processing, they lose key factors that hold better flavors. However, when you buy locally grown food, the flavors are still ripe due to you getting them straight from your local market. Also if you buy locally grown fruits in season, they will be full of flavor since the conditions of the soil during that time of the month are beneficial to whatever is in season. Keeping track of what’s in season helps with that too, of course. 😉

4. …helps to bring together a sense of community in an area. When people constantly start going to markets, it starts to become normal for people to get used to seeing each other. If people start caring for each other, then it will bring a nicer aura to the surrounding area.
I hope this list gave you a better idea of locally grown food. Even if you didn’t, I hope you put some of this info into consideration when you go shopping. So tell me, what do you think you’ll pick when you decide to go shopping?

Co-authored by the OnAir Team

Where Does the Meal on Your Table Come From?

Your favorite meal of all time is meatloaf and mashed potatoes, beef covered in thick white gravy with a side of mash potatoes. All you can think of before you get home is that succulent meal. However, before it can even reach your dinner table, it has to make it halfway across the country.

[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”307″ caption=”kraftrecipes.com – Who would have thought something so beautiful have such horrible consequences?

Lets Come Together

Most schools today don’t make the greenest choices, but what are those green choices anyway?

Some examples would be using compost and facilitating non-idling rules. Composting is when organic matter has been decomposed and recycling as a fertilizer and soil amendment. An Idling vehicle is one whose engine is running when it is parked or not in use. Now how do we go from there?

The trend of receptacle recycling has been set up in some schools. The receptacle recycling includes three bins: recycle, trash, and compost (the RTC). The students in these few schools are able to separate their lunch once finished. Composting is not very hard to set up. It creates fertilized soil that you can garden and reduces our need for landfills. Did you know 800,000 tons of food scraps were disposed in Georgia in 2004? This means those materials were left in a landfill to burn, which would increase CO2 levels in the air. Decomposing using the RTC would help to avoid such an unhealthy environment. This trend that has started in a few schools will hopefully expand as a trend across the nation. If we had RTC in DeKalb School of Arts and Woodstock High School, we would be making a huge impact on the Earth from Georgia.

In most high schools, there are student drivers. At our high schools, we have noticed that these drivers sit in their cars until the bell is about to ring. There is nothing wrong with relaxing in the car, but there’s a lot wrong with relaxing in the car while it’s running. This is called idling. Idling releases CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere causing the Earth’s temperature to rise dramatically. According to CNN and other news agencies, 2.5 MILLION people on our planet die every year from air pollution caused by factors such as idling.

If we all come together to stop idling and start composting and recycling we can save 2.5 million people’s lives. And all we have to do is turn off our cars for a little bit and collect our food waste for plants!