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

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

Eating Healthier for Us and our Environment

In our growing world and rapidly developing society, we are faced with an increasingly urgent problem: how can we feed 7 billion mouths and counting? How do we do so without permanently damaging our environment through reckless use of water, pesticides, and monocultures? Something we can do is actually beneficial for both us and our environment.

The answer is for us to eat locally grown, healthy food. How does that help alleviate our problem? First off, transporting food takes vast amounts of energy through keeping the food at a suitable temperature over thousands of miles, and consumes fuel through this transport. When our food is grown down the road or merely has to be moved a few miles to our grocery store, we know it’s more safe and fresh to eat. Additionally, it gives local farmers a chance to grow their own strains and types of crops, promoting biodiversity amongst crop populations.

Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods, with a focus on vegetables, fruits and nuts. The efficiency of growing plants for consumption far exceeds the efficiency it takes to raise livestock, such as cattle and pigs. These animals require a lot of food and space, while also contributing to large portions of methane emissions—a notoriously dangerous greenhouse gas—through their droppings.

This does not mean to stop eating meats altogether—it still brings nutrition! However, I urge everyone to at least attempt to cut back on eating meats. When we eat healthier, we not only vastly reduce the amount of energy needed to get our food to the table, but also lessen methane emissions while increasing efficiency of total food grown! What steps have you taken to eat healthier for yourself and the environment?