Why These 2 Schools are the Greenest on Earth

So California, you’re doing a great job…but…Hong Kong and Kenya have the best green schools of all time.

But all jokes aside, these two schools have been named the Greenest Schools on Earth for 2013. Usually, there is only one winner; however the Global Coalition for Green Schools, which is an initiative of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council and the World Green Building Council, simply couldn’t decide. They granted each school $5,000 to continue to work on their sustainability projects.

Say hello to the winners:

Sing Yin Secondary School – Hong Kong

What’s great about this school?

It has an organic farm.

It has two green roofs.

It even has an aquarium.

All classrooms are equipped with solar panel lighting, LED sensors, and motion sensors.

And, last but certainly not least, the school has assigned 100 students to be “green ambassadors” to carry out green initiatives in the community.

et-english.com

 

Uaso Nyiro Primary School – Kenya

It has a Waterbank School Building, which is made from materials found in the surrounding area and local labor.

soyouknowbetter.com

The facility stores and filters clean water for its students and the surrounding community.

It even provides protected gardens with organically grown fruits and vegetables.

Which includes a courtyard theater and a community workshop where they have gatherings and “environmental theater”.

^ Dead Poet’s Society, Midsummer Night’s Dream reference. Edumacation.

And they did it at a disadvantage — 25% of the community lives on less than $1.25 a day, and it increased school attendance from 70% to 90%. You know what else? The risk of waterborne disease has dropped to zero.

So, yeah. These schools win.

OnAir: Thoughts/opinions? Know how you can make your school a candidate for 2014, or even a winner? Share your insight in a comment below!

Source: http://asumag.com/green-design-amp-buildings/2-schools-chosen-greenest-world?NL=ASU-02&Issue=ASU-02_20131024_ASU-02_886&YM_RID=sales@cxgbs.com&sfvc4enews=42

Skateboards in Afghanistan

Can we just take a moment to take all of this in?




At OnAir, we love skateboards because (just like bikes) they’re a people-powered mode of transportation that create no pollution to use. Like,  AT ALL.

For a country like Afghanistan that has had its problems over the past few decades, it may be safe to say that green solutions aren’t exactly top priority. However, when we see how skateboarding has caught on in these photographs (especially among girls–YAY), it reminds us of how innovative and important alternative forms of transportation are.

The skateboards are not only a convenient use of transportation, but they’re also friendly to the air. They eradicate the use of a car for these young girls to transport themselves, and it also gives them the flexibility of going wherever they need to go. Cultural stigmas aside, this is AWESOME. And green. And we love it.

OnAir: Thoughts/opinions? Share them with us in a comment below!

Source: http://afghanistaninphotos.tumblr.com/post/65115903753/spank-fail-recovery

6 Reasons to Get A Bitlock for Your Bike

There are plenty of cities in the United States nowadays that do have bike share systems. Sure, they’re not necessarily as used as other cities, but WE HAVE THEM. PROGRESS.

But, of course, there are the people that aren’t familiar with their own bike share systems (ahem, Atlanta), and hey let’s face it…some people are just more comfortable with using their own bikes.

So what if we told you that there is a much more convenient way to bike share? And all you need is a little device?

Introducing Bitlock, “the world’s first keyless bike lock”.

Here are a few reasons WHY YOU NEED THIS.

1. All you need to unlock it is an app on your phone.

2. So…you don’t have to remember a code anymore.

3. It’s faster to unlock because it’s all electronic.

Super fast.

4. You can share your bike using the app with your friends when your friend needs a bike.

See that? True friendship.

5. Hence…automatic, personal bike-sharing system!

All the love.

6. Although it’s made for bikes…you can virtually use it on any item you have.

That just about sums it up. Would you get this for yourself? Share your thoughts with us in a comment below!

Source: http://grist.org/list/this-cool-keyless-bike-lock-lets-you-create-a-personal-bike-share-system/

6 Cool Things About a Customized Bus Route

We’ve heard plenty of excuses before–people just don’t want to ride the bus. And as transit riders, we understand your pain, too.

We know.

In Helsinki, Finland, they have come out with a new bus program called Kutsuplus, and it essentially does all of the things that you complain about regarding your bus commute.

6 AWESOME THINGS ABOUT KUTSUPLUS

1. It’s a personal service as opposed a set schedule with set routes.

2. You can install an app that lets you set your pickup and drop-off location.

3. It’s much more inexpensive than similar services we have here in the United States because it’s a bus, not a cab or a black car like they use for Uber.

4. It’s calculated the same way taxis calculate fees, per kilometer or mile. Which actually makes a lot of sense, and can ultimately save you money.

5. There’s space available for your bike, your stroller, etc.

That feeling when you can stretch out your legs. ^^ Yep.

6. Free WiFi.

Yes.

Thoughts/opinions/questions/ideas? Share them with us below!

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/public-transportation/newest-city-mobility-bus-goes-where-you-want-it.html

For Those of You Feeling Fracked

Hello OnAir Readers!

This week, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about fracking. No, that is not a typo nor an allusion to anything suggestive. Fracking is, in fact, its own thing–and boy does everyone seem to have an opinion about it. It’s been in the headlines an awful lot these past few weeks, but the mass majority of the general population really doesn’t know for certain about the oil and gas extraction technique and its health effects. It can be pretty difficult to sift through all of the scientific jargon and find out the truth among the sometimes violently opinionated articles and commentaries. I’m hoping that this brief summation of what is most important in the fracking process will serve you well in your future research endeavors!

To be completely honest, much of the “facts” you will read or hear about fracking in the media have very little basis in science or actual data. Part of this due to the fact that the concept and application of fracking has moved so quickly, and the both the research community and the media are playing bit of catch-up on water, air, and health issues.

The process itself is divided in different areas of study between geologists, hydrologists, and air-quality experts who are studying the chemistry and the physical properties of fracking in the ground, water, and air. Then there are the toxicologists, researchers in occupational medicine, epidemiologists, etc.

I think you get the point: there are many tiers of this whole process, and thus it’s hard to fully understand where to begin with the information given. I will try my best to give you the absolute basics so that you too can understand a pivotal part of our new national energy policy.

Fracking was first developed during the 1940’s, and is literally just the process of breaking apart rock with water. Today, it’s used in 9 out of 10 natural gas-wells (according to the EPA). In theory, it’s safe to do, but of course accidents happen, and people are inherently prone to danger and illness. However, when done properly, it squeezes natural gas out of layers of rock much farther down than we have previously had access to.

What people are most concerned about is that chemicals will enter our water supply and taint it. This isn’t completely unfounded, as there have been studies that show contamination from fluid spillage at fracking sites. There are also rather frightening studies that prove that it can trigger earthquakes; however, they’re usually minute and don’t cause a whole lot of damage.

There are some upsides though! Natural gas burns a lot cleaner than say coal or oil, producing less Carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide (triggers asthma- see previous blog on how greenhouse gasses affect asthma!). It has become more competitive with coal for electricity and the USA has reduced it’s emissions because of this.

But, when one really looks at the whole process it’s fairly easy to see that fracking takes a toll on the environment- massive amounts of water are used, chemical spills occur, the machines produce hydrocarbons, etc. So, I’ll leave those facts and a task of figuring out exactly how you feel about the processing, refining, and use of natural gas in this manner. Leave your comments below and enjoy your week!

Sources:
http://www2.epa.gov/hydraulicfracturing
http://www.thinkbeforeyoufrack.org/about-hydrofracking/

 

OnAir says: What do you think? Do you agree with Peyton’s position on fracking? Or do you think there’s more to know? Let us know in a comment below!

A flourishing relationship on bikes.

Aw, look at this cute couple biking together. Wait, why do they have all those bags? Like they’re ready to take on the freaking world?

That’s because they don’t just bike for hobby. It’s their lifestyle.

Behold, the Oguchi couple. This couple has been biking around the world for the past five years, logging over 60,000 miles in the process. And they did it in 84 countries overall. EIGHTY-FOUR.

Laura Scott from the blog Locals interviewed Ryohei Oguchi (the boyfriend), and what was his reasoning?

It was his dream.

What does his boo think? Well, I can think that’s clear by the picture.

Their next stops include Morocco, south of France, Spain, Ireland, and eventually Latin America.

D’awww, good luck you little scoundrels. :’)

Just goes to show you that a lifestyle involving bikes is extremely possible. We’re not saying drop everything to ride around on your bike (although that would be pretty great), but if these guys can go place to place on bike, then so can you.

Thoughts/opinions? Inspired yet? Share with us below!

Source: http://grist.org/list/this-couple-has-been-biking-around-the-world-for-five-years/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=update&utm_campaign=socialflow

Cows, gas, and the environment–and what can be done.

So Fly: Cow Butts

Awww. Cows. Sweet-natured mammals that just eat grass (well, they SHOULD just be eating grass). But there is a harsh truth with these mother-vibing-creatures: their farts are polluting the planet.

Yeah, I said it. I know. And I’m sorry. Okay not really, it’s pretty funny. #sorrynotsorry

It was estimated in 2006 that 14.5% of greenhouse emissions came livestock emissions. (“Emissions” is a nice way of saying “farts”.) Think I’m lying? Here’s the report.

Apparently cows belch and fart…a lot.

latimes.com  “Hey can I come to your party?” “….no. I’m sorry.” #sorrynotsorry

And yeah, cattle ranching is a huge industry in this country. So it’s not likely we’ll be reducing the number of cows out there any time soon. But before you argue that this whole thing is a “moooooooooooot” point (#sorrynotsorry), read on–THERE IS HOPE.

Greenhouse emissions can be reduced by up to 30%. How, you may ask? Here is the quote from the FAO: “Wider adoption of existing best practices and technologies in feeding, health and husbandry, and manure management — as well as greater use of currently underutilized technologies such as biogas generators and energy-saving devices — could help the global livestock sector cut its outputs of global warming gases as much as 30 percent by becoming more efficient and reducing energy waste.”

Translation: If we make a little more effort to keep cows healthy, scoop their poop out of the way, and switch to energy-saving machines, cows hurting the climate can become less of a thing.

PROGRESS.

OnAir: Thoughts/opinions/remarks of disgust? Share with us below!

Source: http://grist.org/news/cow-farts-still-stink-up-the-climate-but-relief-is-possible/

More workout, less energy. And we’re all for it.

So I’m sure you’ve been hearing all the rage about this new type of workout called CrossFit. There is a very hardcore regimen involved, and it’s supposed to give you incredible results.

It also has a no-frills approach, where you will often hear “Shut up and train” shouted out, willy nilly, at normal people with feelings and everything.

So why do we kind of like it? Because it’s a green workout, that’s why.

Lots of gyms are packed with electric-powered equipment that uses batteries/electricity. Blasting stereos, arctic-level air conditioning, and large flatscreens in every corner are the norm.

(Seriously, have you ever thought how much ENERGY your workout is using–and not even paying off in burned calories?)

CrossFit gyms tend to have no warmed towel service, no televisions, no air conditioning, and no vending machines. They also typically utilize large, abandoned, industrial buildings instead of multi-level suites. Here at OnAir, we are all for that.

What about you? Have you thought about ways to take energy OUT of your workout? Let us know your ideas in a comment below!

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/culture/crossfit-new-eco-friendly-gym.html

Parking Space = Tiny Park

I think it might be safe to say that parking lots can be wasted space. If you take a step back and really think about it, they’re these huge swatches of land that only get used for one thing. And that one thing is storing the things that keep spouting pollutants into the air. FAIL.

So when we heard about Parking Day 2013, we were all about it. Parking Day is an event that originally took place in San Francisco and spread all over the United States. The idea behind Parking Day 2013 is to turn parking spaces into “public parks” or whatever else would be a better use of space.

Check it out.

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

San Francisco – A goat parklet

Phoenix

San Francisco – Free braiding

Phoenix – A bike parklet

 

No Atlanta representation yet, but that’s all the more reason to have an epic showing for Park Day 2014.

What would your Parking Day park look like? Share your ideas in a comment below!

OnAir: Also, as long as we’re cutting down on parking spaces…you know what super-fun transportation mode doesn’t need a parking lot? BIKING. Join the Teen Bike Challenge today!

blogonair.org/bikechallenge

Source: http://grist.org/slideshow/park-get-set-go-heres-what-it-looks-like-when-the-weird-and-the-car-free-steal-your-spot/

10-year-old eco-warrior is the best kind of overachiever

This environmentalist is only 10 years old. Yep. She’s younger than us. Way younger.

Her name is Hannah Alper. She’s Canadian. And here are a few of her projects:

-She started a green blog dealing with environmental issues like clean water, child labor, green living, and fair trade.

-She organized a shoreline cleanup in her community.

-She was the youngest WWF Earth Hour Team Captain of 2013.

-She spoke at the WWWF Earth Hour event in Toronto.

-She is the official “on the go eco-blogger” for the JUNO Awards.

-She launched We Create Change.

Yep. She’s more accomplished than some adults we might know. And that’s amazing.

It definitely inspires us to take more action in our communities. How about you?

Thing you can bat to that? Share your accomplishments or plans regarding the environment in a comment below!

Source: http://grist.org/list/this-amazing-green-blogger-activist-and-speaker-is-only-10-years-old/