LOTR lied to us. Sigh.

Ah, beautiful New Zealand.

©lotr.wikia.com

©worldwide-motorhome-hire.com

So wondrous, so ethereal, it looks like something that was painted by an extremely imaginative artist. Right?

Well yeah. Except…the LOTR movies lied to us..

Okay, so they didn’t really lie. They just showed the parts of New Zealand that were wondrous, ethereal green spaces…and left out the parts that are not exactly eco-friendly. Which, unfortunately, are kind of numerous.

Here are a few facts on NZ:

1. You can’t swim in most of New Zealand’s rivers because of high levels of pollution.

2. Its preservation of natural environments has a horrible record; it’s amongst the worst in the world.

3. It’s the only OECD country that does not produce a report on the environment consistently. (OECD stands for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, btw.)

Oh, and in breaking news? A bacteria has been found in NZ-produced dairy products that can potentially cause fatalities. The company in charge is known as Fonterra, and they export to eight surrounding countries.

Doesn’t exactly seem like a Hobbit paradise, does it?

What are your thoughts on all of this? Share them with us in a comment below!

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/06/new-zealand-environment_n_3710859.html

Arbor Day

So the last Friday of every April is Arbor Day! (Arbor Day = trees, fyi.) We celebrated by taking a walk around our OnAir offices and capturing some of the greenery in downtown Atlanta.

Like…

and…

The greenery around here really makes Atlanta even more beautiful. And it helps improve the air quality!

What did you all do for Arbor Day? If you live in a sprawling city like Atlanta, did you try planting a tree? Let us know in a comment below!

We can’t seem to get enough of Earth Day.

©grist.org

For us here at OnAir, Earth Day is extremely important and we celebrate it. Like really, we do. Plus, it was really nice to hear about everyone’s Earth Day efforts. Here are some tweets and posts from around the web, showing how people from all over celebrated Earth Day in their own way! http://grist.org/living/heres-how-you-celebrated-earth-day/

This is wonderful to see! Kids in parades celebrating Earth Day, planting trees, and so much more. What did you do for Earth Day? Tell us in a comment below or send us a message on our Facebook.

Listen up, Atlantans: Earth Day Cleanup on April 23!

Who’s got big plans for Earth Day? Looking for something green to do? Look no further. Join the 2nd Annual Earth Day Cleanup Challenge!

On April 23, you can join a bunch of other eco-warriors in helping to make Atlanta beautiful. Join with your class, your club, or even on your own to pitch in and work some enviro magic!

Want details? Of course you do. Click here and join in:

Mark Your Calendars for the Second Annual Earth Day Cleanup Challenge 

 

And guess what else?  Volunteering is a great way to earn AirCreds! Click through to learn more!

Spreading the eco-mania on Earth Day

To commemorate Earth Day, my school’s environmental club holds an Earth Week. For the five days leading up to the annual celebration, we hold a plethora of lunchtime and after-school activities to build up the momentum and get fellow students to realize the variety of ways in which they can celebrate and develop green habits.

Image credit: http://bit.ly/13oxH2z

Last year, it seemed like we’d run out of new ideas and we’d have to resort to past activities until our teacher reached out to a high school climate education program called ACE (Action for Climate Education). We were ecstatic to find that they offered local workshops, carbon-cutting presentations, leadership training, and assistance for students to build action teams. By spring, we’d spent most of our funds so we were grateful to find out their help was free.

We met with their local representative Amber, and she helped up brainstorm refreshing and innovative ideas to spread our passion. The best part, though, was that she offered to be a guest speaker at a climate assembly our club could organize. Her presentation was amazing, to say the least. With engaging animations and an impactful message, it got the students so excited that we recruited 26 members for our club and our Do One Thing pledge board was covered with signatures and positive messages.

In this upcoming week, our Earth Week will be anything but boring. We’re having a shooting paper balls and bottles into recycling cans tournament, an organic foods picnic, a DIY Fashion Day where students can bring in old clothes and refashion them, and a movie night where we’ll be showing The Lorax and selling snacks to fundraise for storm water barrels.

No matter how small or even nonexistent the action in your school or community might be, reach out organizations such as The Clean Air Campaign or ACE to find imaginative ideas to get others excited about implementing change. Every day is Earth Day but it’s great to be able to have a time to come together and celebrate the preservation of what surrounds us.

Have a great Earth Day!

 

OnAir says: Earth Day is April 22, and there’s still time to put together something awesome at your school! Planning something special? Tell us about it in the comments!

Rotten Foods… Helpful or Harmful?

Ever opened up your fridge and been bombarded with a stench from some sort of
food that has become rotten? I think we have all experienced this horrifyingly disgusting
event at least once in our lives. Well, just as we use that smell to tell us that our food is
unfit to be eaten, scientists have recently found that flies also have the ability to detect
rotten food in order to be able to determine which foods to avoid.

When a piece of fruit has gone bad and exudes a repulsive smell, which would
cause most humans to discard it without a second thought. However, the Vinegar Fly
feeds on the yeast that can be found on sugar-rich substrates like fermenting fruits.
Unfortunately for the flies, these very fruits also contain many microbes, which they must
somehow determine to be either helpful or harmful. Researchers have found out just how
they do so in a new study.

The new study has allowed researchers to identify which specific neural circuits
are involved in this process. According to their results, the fly is able to detect the toxic
molds and bacteria by sensing whether or not there is a compound known as geosmin is
present. Geosmin triggers the fly’s olfactory, or neural circuit, causing a chemical release
which warns it not to consume or lay eggs on that fruit.

Obviously this use of geosmin is important to the fly, but this new study also
shows us all how important it is for ALL living organisms to stay away from rotten
foods. Especially with those holiday leftovers piled up in the fridge, try to keep in mind all of the potentially harmful microbes infesting your foods the next time you pull out some
questionable leftovers.

OnAir says: Rotten foods can also have a negative impact on indoor air quality. But what can help even the score? Plants! House plants do SO MUCH to clean up the indoor pollutants we don’t see–including the ones emitted by that 6-week-old squash in the back of the fridge.

5 Eco-Friendly Holi-dates

Now that the semester is winding down, you’ve finally got some time to ask out that classmate that you’ve been eyeballing over the past three months. I know, I know, you’ve got a crippling fear of rejection and/or you’re worried that he/she won’t like you. So instead of asking your crush out, you’ve put it off, and put it off by telling yourself that you’re too busy, or that you really need to focus on school right now.

But guess what? The time is now. And once you’ve gotten the courage to ask this person out, you don’t want to botch the whole thing by planning a terrible date. We don’t want that either.

And now, thanks to your favorite earth-friendly blog, it doesn’t have to happen. Why? Because we’ve put together 5 awesome date ideas that you (our favorite eco-warrior) and your date are sure to enjoy. Regardless of whether he/she is into saving the planet too.

1. Take a trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

If walking around at night through some of the most beautiful gardens in Georgia, in awe if thousands of brilliantly shining LEDs, doesn’t spell romance, then what does? It’s packed with those air-purifying trees, of course, AND it’s MARTA-accessible, which makes for a great air-friendly trek to romance. Not to mention it will probably be a bit cold, giving you a convenient excuse to snuggle up against your date. Tickets range from $17-20, so it’s not super cheap, but definitely worth the cash.

2. Ice skating in Centennial Olympic Park

There aren’t a whole lot of dates more fun (or potentially humiliating) than going ice skating. For the low price of $10 each, you can get an hour and a half of rink time and skate rental. Remember to dress warm and be prepared to fall. Added bonus: if you go at night, you can take in the Christmas lights around Centennial Olympic Park. Keep in mind that it’s an outdoor rink, so the ice doesn’t get zambonied every couple of hours (read: it can get rough).


3. Stone 
Mountain Park

There is a ton of stuff to do at Stone Mountain Park. You and your date can hike the mountain, visit Snow Mountain, walk the trails, or experience any number of the other attractions. We suggest a romantic mountain-top picnic sometime near sunset. You’ll just have to bust it down the mountain before dark.

4. Bike to your favorite park.

Bring your date to your favorite park. Fill up a backpack or two with a nice picnic, hop on your bikes, and go on a nice bike ride. (We don’t have to remind you why biking is eco-friendly, do we?) It’s a great way to get some exercise and experience nature together. If you both don’t have a bike, you could always walk. That’s a great opportunity to get to know each other even better. Once you get to the park, scope out a good picnic spot and have a nice meal together. Your date wants to know what you’re interested in, so why not bring them to one of your favorite places?

5. Take a trip to your local farmer’s market.

The Farmer’s Market is an incredibly cool place. They’ve got all kinds of locally grown produce, and a huge variety of responsibly produced goods. And remember: locally grown food is good for the air–because it doesn’t have to burn a bunch of gas traveling in from the farm. Take a trip (clean commuting, of course) to your local farmer’s market with your date, and bring back some supplies to make a delicious, home cooked meal. This is a great way to work together to create something that you both will enjoy and be proud of creating. Not to mention it’s a great chance to impress your date with your killer cooking (or recipe following) skills. I highly suggest the Dekalb Farmer’s Market because it’s MARTA accessible. But I hear great things about the Buford Highway Market, and there are tons of smaller, local markets to be found with a quick Google search.

So there you have it: 5 ways to totally impress that guy/girl that you’ve been daydreaming about all semester long. Now all you’ve got to do is go and ask them out!

 

Saving the Planet: One Tasty Bite at a Time.

Thanksgiving is coming up, and you know what that means: the season of face-stuffing is about to begin. Between Thanksgiving, various holiday parties, and New Year’s celebrations, the American social scene centers around one thing: food.

Yeah I know, the holidays are supposed to be about family and fellowship. We all say that, but I know it’s really about the tasty, tasty treats that you only get to eat this time of year.

Now as you can imagine all those trips to and from the store aren’t great for our air or the environment. Think about all the exhaust fumes that your car pumps into the air each time you go to and from the store. Just remember that every mile is about 1 pound of air pollution. So what can green choices can we make to help?

Green: Bike or walk to the store.

Riding your bike is a great way to cut the everyday air pollution that comes from short trips. It’s definitely a great way to start solving the problem. Not to mention you can exercise while running errands. What a time saver!

Greener: Buy local.

Buying foods from the supermarket is super-convenient, but it can be bad news for the earth. Just think about all the energy (and air pollution) it takes to ship the things you buy to the supermarket. Say you live here in Georgia and buy avocados from California. That’s 2,456 miles away. And when you consider that every mile driven puts one pound of pollution into the air, we’re talking about almost 2.5 tons of air pollution for one avocado truck. Seriously?

So how can you enjoy your tasty holiday foods (and everyday foods), and still cut air pollution at the same time? Well, it’s really pretty simple – the idea is to buy local.

You can cut out the thousands of miles, and tons of air pollution by making a trip to your local farmer’s market. They bring in local, organic foods that are way fresher (didn’t spend a week on a truck), taste even better, and are from local businesses near you. Check out the Dekalb County Farmer’s Market, that place is incredible.

Greenest: Grow your own.

Ready to really go the extra mile? Let’s talk about having a garden at home. Check out our Pinterest board for ideas.

Believe it or not, growing your own veggies is easier than you think. Just imagine walking into the back yard to grab dinner. You’ve not only cut out nearly all environmental costs, but you’re probably saving lots of money—while eating better quality food.

Super-Ridiculously Green: Go vegetarian.

This one might not be so popular. But hear us out.

Environmentalists have started spreading the word that going vegetarian or vegan packs an even bigger punch in the fight for clean air. When you don’t have to transport thousands of livestock for food, you cut out a good chunk of transportation-related pollution. Also, let’s face it—that all-bacon diet is probably not the healthiest decision you’ve ever made.

And think about this: we’re not talking all-or-nothing here. A lot can be changed just by becoming a sometimes vegetarian. Some research shows that cutting out meat even one day a week can make some pretty dramatic changes to air pollution AND health.

If you’re worried about missing out on all the tasty holiday foods, here’s a solution for that problem.

Even if you always buy local, or grow your own produce, there are still some things you have to get from the store. That’s ok—sometimes you just have to get what you need. Just remember the more local products you buy, the better off our air is!

For a full breakdown of the benefits and costs of buying local or international foods, check out this infographic.

5 Freaky Facts About the Environment

In the spirit of Halloween, I’ve dug up some spooky natural phenomena for you to consider while you rot you teeth out with hard-earned candy. Maybe “spooky” isn’t the best word, but these are still pretty fascinating–and aren’t likely to keep you up at night.

1. Froggy Fossils

There are over 90 cases of amphibians being found alive, yet totally encased in coal or stone geodes. These rocks are thousands of years old–are the frogs also that old? Typically, an extremely pale frog is found in a pool of mucous within the rock. When the rock is opened, and oxygen gets in, the toads come to life! In most cases it only survives for 24-72 hours before it dies. In some cases, if it gets to a pond immediately it can survive. I don’t know about you, but thousand-year-old frogs and toads are pretty freaky.

2. The Everlasting Storm

Off the coast of Venezuela, there is a lightning storm that never ends. Well…not never, exactly, but the phenomenon is a cloud-to-cloud lightning that forms a voltage arc more than five kilometers high during 140 to 160 nights a year, 10 hours a night, and as many as 280 times an hour. That’s a lot of lightning. The storm is also known as the Maracaibo Beacon, because sailors have used its light to navigate for ages.

3. The Amazonian Wave

Twice a year, the Atlantic Ocean rolls into the mouth of the Amazon river in Brazil, creating the longest wave in the world. The phenomenon is known as Pororoca, and generates waves as tall as 12 feet that can last for a half hour. The wave is so loud that it can be heard up to 30 minutes away, and it destroys nearly everything in its path – trees, buildings, animals and the like. Despite the risk, adventure surfers flock to the Amazon to surf the wave. The record time spent on the wave is 37 minutes, for a total of 12.5 miles.

4. The Rain of Fish

Yes. This really happens. Every year in Honduras, between May and July, there is a massive storm that leaves the streets riddled with fish. The people of Honduras actually consider this a miracle, and scoop up the fish to cook and eat. Scientists have hypothesized that whirlwinds are responsible, in that they swirl up water and everything in it, carrying it over land and leaving a street full of scaled, floppy, tasty creatures. Legend has it that this has been happening for over a century, ever since a Catholic priest (Jose Manuel Subirana) asked for a miracle to solve the nation’s poverty.

5. The Bloop

It’s the world’s loudest sound recorded underwater–and no one knows where it came from. This sound was first recorded in 1997, 1500 miles off the coast of Chile, and could be heard from over 3,000 miles away.The sound lasted for just over a minute and has not been detected since. It should be pointed out now that the NOAA has checked with the Navy and other groups to rule out human-made sources in this and the rest of these cases. What could it have been? Aliens? Foreign military demonstration? Freakishly huge animal? No one knows.

 

http://www.cracked.com/funny-5639-the-bloop/

Eco-Friendly Halloween Costume Ideas

Halloween is coming up, and if you haven’t started thinking about your costume, you probably should. Dressing up for Halloween is an age-old tradition that will be a part of your life for many years (as it should be).

What’s that? You don’t enjoy dressing up? Halloween costumes are too expensive, you say? Nonsense.

Yes, we agree that purchasing pre-fab Halloween costumes is lame. It’s over-priced and extremely wasteful. But what if instead you used your creativity to create a costume by upcycling household items and old clothes?

Now all that it takes is an idea, and a little bit of planning, and you can come up with an awesome costume for $10-$20, no problem.

Need some inspiration? Don’t worry, we’ve rounded up a few awesome homemade Halloween costumes from around the internet (via The Daily Green and Ecouterre).

The Cardboard Crocodile

MATERIALS:  cardboard, tape, and butcher paper

Sweet Treats

MATERIALS: recycled tights, leggings, laundry basket, bits of fabric.

The Recycled Samurai

MATERIALS: Rubbermaid 32-gallon garbage cans, rubber stoppers.

The Bat

MATERIALS: umbrella, hooded zippered sweatshirt, needle and thread, pins, pliers, scissors, bolt cutters or tin snips.

Lego Man

MATERIALS: Styrofoam, paint, cardboard.

Etch-A-Sketch – Here is a creative, functional, yet complicated costume idea!

MATERIALS: Plywood, metal rods, pulleys, cloth, cable wire, hot glue, plexiglass, nuts, bolts, small wheels.

Plastic Armor Suit

MATERIALS: every empty plastic container you can find.

What cool, eco-friendly Halloween costume will you create? Share your costume ideas with us in the comments!