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!

Waste-Free Lunch Programs

Recently I stumbled across a website called WasteFreeLunches.org. After checking out the site and reading about all of the waste that goes on during school lunches, I began to look more closely at my own school cafeteria. It’s amazing how much we throw away on a daily basis! All of this waste leads to overflowing landfills and more contaminants in the air from incinerators.

WasteFreeLunches.org offers great, workable solutions to reducing waste—for example, they encourage you to use reusable food containers, drink containers, utensils, and napkins. Also, they suggest that you avoid using items with disposable packaging. Not only do these tips help you improve the environment and reduce waste, they save you (and your parents) money! Over time, these savings can add up.

The site even recommends these super cool “waste-free” lunch kits that are really colorful and fun. So you can do your part to reduce waste—and lunch fashionably while you’re at it.

Imagine what a difference we could make and how much waste we could reduce if every school started a waste-free lunch program, which is exactly what WasteFreeLunches.org suggests that we do.

Does your school have a program that helps to reduce waste? If not, why not start one?

Move Green!

“The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved.”

Richard Rogers

Are you willing to get involved?   Regardless of age, race, religion or culture, everyone can be part of the green movement to reduce air pollution. Adopting a green life doesn’t require a big sacrifice- just a commitment to the environment and to life itself.

We can significantly improve air quality and give a light of hope to our planet by changing our transportation habits. Let’s open our minds and start considering new transportation means that are more eco-friendly. Let’s mark the beginning of our new green era. For short distances, walking and bike riding are excellent alternatives; they are absolutely harmless to environment and are healthy choices for us. For longer distances, public transportation and carpooling are ideal and efficient alternatives that will notably reduce pollutant emissions.

According to the American League of Bicyclists, only 1.1% of Atlanta citizens are bicycle commuters. Let’s raise that number and save our environment. Let’s adopt eco-friendly alternatives as our new means of transportation. A new green era is just in front of us, and through commitment and motivation we can significantly improve air quality.

Think green. Live green. Move green!

What will you do today to make a change?

Hybrids are Happening

Hybrids are the current “it” car of the automotive industry. Why does this matter to you? For many of us, it’s almost that time—time to start thinking about what type of car we want. So why not make a choice that is not only stylish, but beneficial to the environment as well?

The distinguishing factor between a hybrid car and a traditional car is that a hybrid uses two or more power sources, unlike gasoline engines that strictly burn fossil fuels—mainly petroleum—to power their movement (Diesel Engines vs. Gasoline Engines). While hybrid cars still use gasoline, they get an average of 15 more miles per gallon. Better gas mileage means fewer fill-ups, which translates to money in your pocket from savings at the pump!

But the question remains: can hybrids actually help the environment? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, for every one hundred miles driven, hybrid cars emit 23.3 fewer pounds of pollution than traditional vehicles. Therefore, hybrid cars will be able to significantly reduce the carbon footprint for which the transportation sector is currently responsible.

If you still don’t think that a hybrid is for you, there are other ways you can get similar benefits. Walking and riding a bike are both options that would not only save you money, but would also help improve air quality.

Whether choosing the option of the newer, more innovative hybrid, or the option of simply walking, always remember that your actions have an affect on air quality—so choose wisely!

You can check out the Hybrid Cars website for more helpful information about hybrid cars. What are your thoughts? When it comes time to buy a car, would you consider a hybrid?

Spotlight on an Eco-Friendly Company: Alternative Apparel

In our last post, we listed eco-fashion as one way to make 2012 your greenest year yet. One fashion company we love that is really making a positive impact is Alternative Apparel.

Based here in Atlanta, Alternative Apparel has locations across the U.S. and is known for comfortable, versatile and vintage-style pieces. In addition to comfort, they value inspiring wearers and supporters to make a positive difference with how we live and what we wear.

I first heard about Alternative Apparel through celebrity fashion blogs and fell in love with their look and mission. You can see which celebrities support Alternative Apparel here, and even shop the same items they’re wearing.

Some of their classic items include soft tees, tanks and hoodies in understated colors. The look is simple, clean and totally classic.

To get more familiar with their style and values, check out their website and blog, which explores a range of do-good topics, including sustainability. They even highlight other companies committed to the environment, giving us more resources to choose eco-friendly clothing options as consumers.

If you dig their mission and need some basics for your wardrobe, I encourage you to shop their Alternative Earth line. These pieces are the most eco-friendly because they’re made with organic cotton, recycled polyester and other fibers from sustainable raw materials. In addition to material, they are colored using non-toxic dyes, biodegradable fabric softeners and natural enzymes–making them both super soft and low-impact on the environment.

Comfy, stylish, and making a difference? Yeah, we can get behind that.

Which eco-fashion brands do you support?

Resolutions to Make our World a Better Place in 2012

There are tons of resolutions out there with tips about self-improvement. But what about resolutions to improve our community? We hope this list helps you make 2012 your most environmentally-friendly year yet!

Go outside.

This one seems simple, but it’s an important first step in achieving your environmental goals. The more often people experience the beauty of nature, the more they want to protect it. Visit a farm, join a community garden, walk around your neighborhood, play a field sport, or watch a theater production on an outside stage.

Learn the other R’s.

You know them: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. In our efforts to recycle, we often forget to think about the other two. To reduce, think about cleaning out what you don’t need and donating extra items to a local charity. For reuse, try a DIY project with materials you have on hand for a birthday gift rather than buying a new present.

Make mindful transportation choices.

We’ve talked about how walking and biking help save our air, but how do we really commit to making meaningful change in a lifestyle choice as big as transportation? Take note of where you travel, how often you go and how you usually get there. Then think about alternatives. The more aware we are of our habits, the more power we have to change them.

Support Eco-fashion

More and more companies are beginning to consider how their production of clothing effects the environment. Dying for a new pair of jeans? Consider investing a pair that uses less water to make, such as Levi’s Water<Lessjeans. For sportswear, think about shopping at Patagonia’s reuse store on ebay, the Common Threads Initiative. Read clothing tags and online product descriptions to see if the materials used are organic. Ecouterre offers a list of eco-fashion predictions for 2012, along with some links to organizations already making a difference.

Join a green organization at your school.

Many high schools have clubs committed to saving the environment. If there isn’t a group you’re interested in, consider starting one. Organize a group to pick up litter, write letters to political leaders about the environmental topic you care about most, or start a carpool chain.

Help your parents make green choices at home.

Does your family compost? Shop local and organic? Eat vegetarian? Find a recipe that uses local ingredients and cook a “green” meal for your family. You can also attach a list of the recyclables your neighborhood collects on the fridge, or offer to take your bike somewhere rather than asking for a ride.

Keep educating yourself.

If you’re on this blog, you’ve already started learning about how young people can make a positive impact on the environment. The more you know about environmental issues, the more power you have to create change. Learn as much as you can through online research, reading books, watching documentaries, and talking to environmental sustainability professionals.

Share your green knowledge.

As you learn more about eco-friendly choices you can make, tell your friends!

Make a list of your own green resolutions.

Once you discover the topics you care most about, make a list of concrete goals that you can accomplish. (Example: I will ride my bike to school at least once a week.) This time next year, review your original list and see how far you’ve come. You may be surprised!

What “green” goals do you want to achieve in 2012?