Summer Fever

Woohoo! School’s out! I know everyone is excited about what they are going to do over the summer. Maybe you’ll go camping with your family or go to the mall with your friends, and some of you guys might get a head start on all that summer homework.

Whatever it is, remember that helping the environment is still a main priority. No matter where you are, you are surrounded by air. Here are a few summer fever + helping the environment tips to keep in mind!

1. Keep hydrated! Instead of buying plastic bottles, get a reusable one!
2. Don’t want to hold onto your wrappers while camping? Don’t throw them on the ground–find a trash can!
3. Travel clean! Instead of taking the car for short distances, try the bike (you don’t need to pay for the gas!). Heck, you could even walk if you wanted to!
4. Going to the mall to meet up with friends? Try carpooling, it’s much more fun.
5. Plan your errands to avoid going around in circles to save gas and time.
6. Recycle all and everything you can! Trying to get rid of all the notes and tests from your classes? Recycle!
7. Improve energy efficiency. Instead of cranking up the AC, buy your own fan. Don’t turn on the lights in the morning and afternoon, there’s plenty of sunlight so pull up those curtains! And don’t forget to turn off and unplug stereos, radios, and televisions when leaving the house.
8. Don’t spend 1 hour in the shower. I repeat: no 1-hour showers! As tempting as it sounds to cool off in the summer, cut down the water usage to about 15 to 25 minutes.
9. For those who are doing summer homework on their computer, make sure to turn off and take off the power supply after work. And try using eBooks and soft copy versions of books before printing hundreds of pages out!
10. Plant a garden (or tree, which ever you prefer).
11. Collect rain water for use in garden and watering plants.
12. Not going anywhere special? Find local communities that are helping out with the environment (it’s a great way to get community service hours too).

 

OnAir says: So what’s your planet-saving list for the summer? Let us know in the comments! And whatever you do, don’t forget to log those AirCreds!

Greener on this side too…

The grass always looks greener on the other side…especially after a day or two of rain and especially in Georgia. Sometimes I take all the green for granted…sometimes I think it will always be green. But, a few days ago, on my way to school, I noticed something silver peeking out of the green. Actually, it was not just one, but several. Upon a closer look, those silver things turned out to be cans and other waste that were thrown on the ground. It may not seem like it, but waste like these can actually be detrimental to Mother Earth.

How does garbage have an effect on the environment? Well, for starters, garbage pollution can increase toxic fumes in the air as well as contribute to harmful diseases to circulate around.

Land wastes cause chemical contamination. Plastics and toxins in wastes like anti-freeze and other chemicals seep into the ground where they remain. Many modern-day chemicals either do not biodegrade or break down and if they do, they break down into several smaller chemical particles. These particles poison the ground itself and everything that touches it. It could cause contamination in areas like polluted water ways or acid rain created from air pollution.

Contaminated water that evaporates into the atmosphere can fall back to the earth as acid rain, causing the cycle of contamination and pollution to continue. That means the nutrients that plants and trees soak up become contaminated and start dying. If trees start dying, then it would cause an even more detrimental impact on the air. And the green? It’ll become a rarity, thus it’s important to not take the green environment for granted. Click here  for more information.

It’s important to recycle cans and water bottles and properly dispose other things. Plus, if you see cans and plastic bottles lying around, don’t just saw eww and ignore it. Go ahead and pick it up and properly dispose it. On the long run, you’re doing something good for the environment!

Photo credit: Masslive.com

Going to class? Go green!

So, a lot of you will be heading off to college soon. And campus life brings tons of new experiences. But how to make those new experiences eco-friendly? Let’s start by tackling a big one: getting to class.

Dorms are so expensive. A lot of students, looking for ways  to be more economically savvy, either commute from their parents’ houses (if they’re local) or get apartments off campus.

Either way, the journey to campus usually takes a little longer. Many will opt for walking, but sometimes the apartment is too far. Sometimes it will rain. Sometimes, you’ll just be having a bad day.

We know, it’s hard. #firstworldproblems

The point is, you want to get where you’re going without hurting the environment, right? So here are some suggestions for keeping it green:

  1. Ride your bike. Especially if it’s sunny out, why wouldn’t you want to? Riding bikes is just so much fun! What if it rains and the sidewalks are too slippery for bikes, you say?…
  2. …just walk. Take an umbrella. And put on your rain boots. We promise it won’t kill you. And sometimes it’s pretty soothing to go for a relaxing walk in the rain, especially if it’s just a steady patter. However, if it’s storming…
  3. …take public transportation. Many cities–especially ones with colleges and universities–at have bus systems set up to make campus more accessible. If this isn’t the case…
  4. …bum a ride off of a friend. (The buzzword here is “carpool”.) If a car is necessary, double-up (or triple-up!) on the way. You get where you’re going, you get some social time, and you keep a couple extra pollution-spouting vehicles off the road. And while you’re bumming rides…

Have any more suggestions? What ways are you getting to campus? Do you have a plan? Let us know in a comment below!

Garbage for Fuel, and What Happens When You Run Out

©Pavel Trebukov

Did you know that the city of Oslo, Norway is powered by garbage? Yes, guys. Garbage.

Okay, before anyone gets nauseous, let’s put this into context, shall we? Here’s Oslo’s reasoning: All garbage really does is fill landfills. Right? Plus, not everyone recycles (unfortunately). Right? So we just have a bunch of useless stuff that takes up a lot of space. So why don’t we put all that stuff into a giant incinerator and make some energy? It makes a whole lot of sense, right? The entire city of Oslo is occupied by over 650,000 residents, and they are all happy campers. What a sustainable way to have energy.

Just one problem though. They don’t have any more garbage.

Apparently this is because Europeans are so good at recycling and they tend not to waste so much. Alas, Oslo has created the seed to its own destruction. So what is Oslo doing now? Asking around for imported garbage. And the most valuable country for this is…

The United States of ‘Murica.

Sweden already imports garbage from us for their energy. So…should we be embarrassed that we have so much garbage or proud that we are helping out another country? Gosh, so much irony here. What are your thoughts and opinions? Let us know in a comment below!

Read more here.

Stay green (and calm) for finals

Finals.  Perhaps the most dreaded word in the history of forever for anyone enrolled in school or a university. They’re stressful, annoying, and unreasonably difficult. Plus, this is usually what happens on exams:

© prawfsblawg.blogs.com

Yeah. Story of my life.

However, when you’re taking a break, did you know that there are more eco-friendly ways of being stress-free? Here are some tips!

  1. Instead of going out for a drive…ride your bike or go for a run. This may be something that many of you do anyway, but if you’re trying to go somewhere to get some stress relief or to find another place to study (like a coffee shop) find another form of transportation that will give you some fresh air and sunshine. Plus, you’ll get a tan. That’s always nice.
  2. Instead of snacking on junk…eat fresh, organic produce. Not only does this give you good energy, but you are also helping local farms and promoting the idea of not putting harsh chemicals into our farmlands. Sure, this might be a one-time thing…but we hope it becomes into a habit!
  3. Instead of cramming all night…divide up studying for a longer period of time. Not only will you be able to retain the information longer, you also won’t be wasting electricity by keeping your desk lamp on over your work like it’s being interrogated. Plus, more sleep. We all like more sleep.
  4. Instead of printing all your notes…keep a digital copy! This saves a lot of paper. Plus, you will look super cool studying at the park with your Kindle, TOMs, and aviators.

 

Got any more tips? Let us know in a comment below!

Action Tips to Influence Public Policy

Our lifestyle choices are a huge part of living sustainably and contributing our part to improving the environment, but public policy also holds great potential for improving our cities as a whole.

Whether you can vote or not, elected officials at the local, state, and federal level are still responsible for representing your interests. So let them hear from you if you are concerned about a local issue or want more progress by communicating your knowledge and opinions to them!

There are multiple ways to contact and influence your delegates. First, go online and find out who your representatives or school board members are. Many politicians also have social networking pages which can be powerful tools for staying active. A letter or call with a brief, polite, and personal message brief can also definitely get your point across effectively.

State how an issue will affect you using personal examples of how similar proposals have impacted your community in the past. The more genuine and passionate you are, the more effective your message will be. By using facts and citing credible sources, you can be more persuasive. Also attempt to offer alternatives solutions to the problem at hand. Finally, include your name and address so they can respond accordingly.

Another option is to serve as volunteer representatives of your city or on the youth council as an advocate. One of the best experiences I’ve had in high school was being in the Model Atlanta Regional Commission. It helped me realize just how significant citizens’ voices were in determining how final results were carried out.

Putting in your two cents can help politicians get valuable and novel suggestions on what the city can do to improve its youth oriented efforts. School board members especially would appreciate finding out how their policies are affecting the students they represent.

 

OnAir says: What issues do you really care about? How do you think teens should reach out to local leaders and officials with concerns? Let us know your ideas in the comments!

More than Just Recycling!

When we think of saving the Earth and helping the environment, we come to a common thought: recycling paper. But did you know that recycling doesn’t necessarily mean just paper, cans/bottles and metal? There are more than 40 ways of going green other than just recycling!

Here are some interesting ways of going green:
• Don’t leave your computer plugged in! Even if it is sleeping, it’s still sucking up energy. Turn your computer off at the end of the day or better yet, use the charger sparingly.
• Look into carpooling with your friends or riding the bus home.
• Buy rechargeable batteries and dispose old batteries properly.
• Donate old newspapers to animal shelters.
• Convince your parents to use a cloth/canvas grocery bags instead of using plastic bags.
• Shop for eco-friendly beauty products! There are some great make up companies out there that support going green! Here are a few.
• Buy a new houseplant for a greener home. Here’s a list of great houseplants!
• Schedule your errands back-to-back to consolidate your trip and save gas or ride your bike or walk when possible.
• Buy used or e-books instead of new.
• Use compact fluorescent, LED or halogen bulbs instead of conventional incandescent.
• Don’t leave the sink faucet on while you’re brushing.
• Before turning on the lights in the morning or the middle of the day, open the curtains. There’s plenty of sunlight that can act as your light. While you’re at it, open up the window to allow a nice breeze of fresh air to come in instead of depending on your air conditioner.
• Buy a reusable water bottle instead of buying a plastic bottle every time.
• Make your own recycling bin from an old cardboard box!
• When you print paper, print conservatory. Start by printing front-and-back and fitting in as many document pages into one. Reuse scrap paper.
• Support green companies!
• Buy locally grown food. Foods grown from other parts of the world come here through air fright which contributes to more air pollution.
• Start your own little vegetable garden!

 

OnAir says:  Welcome to our newest blogger Bidushi! Want to blog for us?  Visit blogonair.org/apply to get the ball rolling!

Ice Cream + Bikes = Creamcycles?

©e-forwards.com

In downtown L.A., they seem to know what they’re doing. A man named Edward Belden has combined two of the most amazing things in the world in an eco-friendly way. Belden has created an ice cream machine that is powered by a bicycle.

Oh my god. Spring, bicycles, ice cream, what else does anyone need in life? Oh, a map you say? http://www.blogonair.org/bikes-are-in/

We already love bikes because they’re one of the air-friendliest ways to get around. Add in ice cream, and you’ve got a pretty sweet deal.

What do you guys think about this? Have you ever done anything similar where you found alternative sources of energy to make things you enjoy? Let us know in a comment below!

http://grist.org/list/a-bike-that-churns-ice-cream/

How important is Earth Day to you?

©parisdailyphoto.com

Actually, a better question: How important is the earth to you? According to this article Americans place less importance (gasp) on environmental issues than they did a year after 1971, when Earth Day was established as a holiday.

However, what is key here is that increased numbers of Americans today actually are taking advantage of more efforts to become more eco-friendly. More of us are recycling, taking alternate transportation, and using less electricity. So while people might be answering survey questions in a way that makes us seem less green, our behavior is saying that we’re growing greener by the day. Whether it is using green house cleaners or using public transit to get to work or school, we Americans aren’t doing too bad. That’s fantastic!

This brings up the question of what else could we do to highlight the importance of our environment to fellow Americans? And what about you? On your list of things that are important, how far up is the environment? Do you disagree with most Americans? Comment below and share your opinion with us.

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!