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/

Bike-Powered Elevator

Yes, we know what it sounds like initially. Like…why in the world would you have a bike powered elevator when you could just walk up the steps?

Thing is, this isn’t just a normal elevator. It’s an elevator created for a treehouse. SO NO STEPS, Y’ALL. NONE.

When Ethan Schlussler of Idaho was building a treehouse, he got tired of climbing up and down the tree to do work. So naturally he decided that pedaling into open air would be the way to go. We love it.


(Also, maybe don’t try this at home.)

OnAir: Oh, but speaking of bikes…and how they basically solve all of life’s problems…please tell me you’ve signed up for our Teen Bike Challenge. If you haven’t, YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD. Click here to learn more and join now!

Thoughts/opinions? I’d love to see what you guys have to say 🙂

Source: http://grist.org/list/bike-powered-treehouse-elevator-is-the-worlds-coolest-way-to-climb-a-tree/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=tweet&utm_campaign=socialflow

Did they really just upcycle another bus?

Okay, it’s really not that surprising, actually. We’ve seen buses decked out rooftop gardens, bus parts being used for a variety of things, etc.

But how about a bus being upcycled into a living space?

Quaint, right?

Two women in Even Yehuda, Israel, decided to upcycle an old, run-down bus into this cute, minimalist living space. This is incredibly important as the housing situation for Israel isn’t exactly the most efficient or accessible. Ever since 2011, there have been protests in regard to the rising cost of living.

All of which makes bus living even more attractive. Especially when it’s so beautifully designed. Check it out.

Yeah, okay. This looks nicer than my house. Whatever. It’s cool, it’s fine.

Tell me what you guys think!

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/interior-design/tali-shaul-and-hagit-morevski-convert-public-bus-into-house.html

This cute hobbit house may have to go.

Would you ever build a house without the authorities knowing about it? Apparently in the Welsh countryside (and everywhere else), there are rules that outline how an area can be developed. Basically, it’s there to make sure that the area doesn’t become a low-density suburb.


Yes Wales, we know you’ve got beautiful landscape. Sigh.

However, Charlie was so sure that the authorities wouldn’t let him build the house, he did it anyway. And it looks straight out of a storybook.

And hey, he ended up building this beautiful home. It’s sustainable, low impact, and made out of upcycled materials as well.

Unfortunately, the trouble might not have been worth it. Since Charlie built the house illegally, authorities are saying it will have to be torn down in accordance with the zoning laws. So although the house is beautiful and eco-friendly, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to do it without permission.

Can’t always fight environmentalism with environmentalism.

What are your opinions? Should the house stay, or should it go? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/should-hobbit-house-be-demolished-flouting-planning-rules.html

Self cleaning items are not better

Hello Everyone!

As you all know by now, I love all things good for the environment. So, when I read a recent study from Indiana University that has revealed that self-cleaning paints and other building surfaces are problematic, I was sure I had found my piece for this week.

Titanium dioxide coatings, which have been previously seen as helpful in breaking down airborne pollutants, are now revealed to not be among the many technologies that are recognized by researchers to be helpful in eliminating harmful ozone pollution. Rather, the titanium dioxide most likely accounts for up to 13% of the nitrogen oxides and that it could contribute significantly to the degradation of the ozone layer.

This new research is especially timely, as the EPA has begun making stricter regulations for ground level ozone smog, which of course seriously negatively affects lungs and the heart. Just in case you’re not entirely sure how ozone is produced, here’s a quick summary: ozone is caused by a series of reactions involving nitrogen oxides which come primarily from vehicles and the volatile chemical produced by industrial processes. While putting catalytic converters in cars has successfully reduced ozone in most urban areas, there is still a great need for technologies that meet the tighter air-quality standards of the future.

Now, back to the study itself. Other studies have missed the negative effect on ammonia due to the fact that the reactions occur with high levels of industrial emissions rather than in average humidity levels in urban areas. The lab at Indiana University hopes to better understand how the molecular processes involved when titanium oxide catalyzes the breakdown of ammonia. I know that at least I will be very interested to see how this situation pans out and I will definitely make a point of doing some further research in my spare time.

A fuzzy building.

© Belatchew

This building…in my opinion anyway…is probably one of the strangest, prettiest, weirdest buildings I’ve ever seen in my life. Is it just me or does it look like a building that would be in a Dr. Seuss book? Or a weird breed of a Truffula Tree?

Let’s go with the latter.

An architecture firm based in Stockholm called Belatchew is proposing to fix up a building known as Söder Torn by adding in 14 new floors—and millions of tiny, piezo-electric ‘straws’.

‘Twas named the Strawscraper. Cute.

So what do these straws do, exactly? The idea is that these electric strands would collect energy by vibrating. The research on pizoelectric microcantilevers is ongoing. This would turn Söder Torn into an urban power plant, and reemphasize Sweden and their dedication to energy efficiency. Plus, this electricity generation from the straws would be less harmful to birds and is pleasant to look at, especially when lit up at night with changing lights, as pictured above.

There are downsides, however. How much noise would these vibrating straws make? How efficient is it really? How do you clean it?

Despite these negativities, we must say, that here at OnAir we do applaud these efforts as they are unique and they get us one step closer to a greener world. And it looks like a Dr. Seuss building.

Would you want a fuzzy building flowing in the wind in your city? Share your thoughts on this in a comment below.

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/hairy-skyscraper-would-collect-energy-through-piezo-electric-straws.html

Sky City

Super-tall buildings can be super impressive. You know, places like this:

©tripadvisor.com; Burj Khalifa, Dubai


©Wikipedia; Tokyo Skytree

Yes, these are beautiful structures and definitely works of art. But if you’re like us here at OnAir, then your Green Radar has been blinking obnoxiously.

These aren’t exactly the most sustainable buildings, and they don’t really do anything for the environment. Actually, the construction of these buildings can cause harmful emissions of carbon dioxide into the surrounding areas.

But what about this?

The Sky City, which is to be built in Changsha, China, hopes to emphasize the importance of affordability, efficiency, and reliability. With the large population in China, it makes sense to go vertical to save space. With limited space, and to avoid using more land, as well as save energy to help the environment, this is a great solution.

What  do you think of Sky City? Do you think something like this would be useful in cities like New York or Atlanta? Let us know your thoughts in a comment below.


The home of a hipster Hobbit.

I love Lord of the Rings. I love everything about it. From the books, to the actual movies, to the characterization, to the whole story…it’s just amazing.

So what would the modern version of Bilbo Baggins’ house look like? Maybe something like this:


This home in Romania is created to be extremely eco-friendly, not to mention equipped with natural ventilation, thermal energy storage in the floors, LED lighting, rainwater storage, and cellulose insulation.

And if you’ve ever seen the Lord of the Rings movies, you’ll see that the structure of this home looks incredibly Hobbit-esque. With the dome structure and the greenery surrounding it, this would definitely be Bilbo-approved.

The Hobbits would be so proud.

Would you live in a home like this? What have you implemented into your household that is green? Would you move to Romania for this? Let us know in a comment below.

Source: http://grist.org/list/if-bilbo-baggins-built-a-zero-energy-hobbit-home-this-is-what-it-would-look-like/

A DIY project for the summer.

Gardening is so green. Plants are good air purifiers, growing veggies means cutting down on energy waste and air pollution used to ship veggies from big farms, and also…you know…leaves.

Staying home for the summer and looking for a project? Here’s a great idea:


What’s that, you say? Oh just a way to plant your plants SIDEWAYS.

What is so great about this idea is that it takes up less space and you can keep it in your home as well. Also, it’s a great DIY project for the summer. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Bamboo Stick
  • 1 Pot
  • 1 Gardening Net
  • Twine
  • Soil

There’s a slideshow here to walk you through it.

Try it and let us know what your results look like!

What is Fenugreen?

© Kavita Shukler

Like we said regarding teens doing big things in our previous post, it seems like everyone is finding ways to make our planet a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable place to live in. This. Is. Wonderful.

Kavita Shukler, has created a “fresh paper” which is used to store food and to maximize their preservation period by inhibiting bacterial and fungal growth. And it’s infused with organic spices to help with the preservation.

Shukler was inspired by her grandmother when she broke the “don’t drink the tap water” rule as a kid in India. Her grandmother prepared a concoction of different herbs and spices for Shukler to drink, and she didn’t get sick. This sparked her interest in the impact these spices have on the growth of bacteria.

This led to this invention called Fenugreen, named after fenugreek, a spice that is commonly used in India.

Inspired? What green traditions (or even things that are just really great, potential green inventions) do you have in your family? Let us know in a comment below!