October Bike to School Challenge

So the old folks over at The Clean Air Campaign have issued an October Bike to Work Challenge. I figure if they can bike to work for an ENTIRE month, we have to be able to bike to school…right? I mean, after all, we are far younger, fitter, sprightlier, and can certainly bike circles around every one of them. Not to mention, we are far better looking.

Why should you bike to school? Well for starters, it’s awesome. But if you need any further persuasion, here you go:

1. Biking is fun. There is nothing more exhilarating than working hard to get up a hill, and then flying down the other side. For you thrill-seekers with a need for speed, you will greatly enjoy it. If you prefer to be a bit more cautious going downhill, then no worries, that’s what brakes are for.

2. Biking gets you in great shape. Now I’m not saying that biking a mile or two a day is going to get you looking like King Leonidas or the women’s Olympic track team (that takes a ridiculous diet and exercise routine, who knew), but biking to and from school is an incredible way to get in some daily exercise. It helps to tone your core muscles, as well as boosting your cardiovascular fitness level.

3. Biking is good for the air. Naturally, this is our favorite reason. The only pollution that comes from riding your bike is the CO2 that comes from your heavy breathing – which gets sucked up by trees and converted into oxygen. Riding your bike means one less car on the road, and one less pound of pollution per mile. Imagine how much air pollution you WOULDN’T create if your entire school rode a bike for just one day.

4. Biking is social. Riding in groups can be great fun. It’s an excellent way to show up your friends in a nice “last-one-there’s-a-rotten-egg” kind of way. And that victory tastes so much sweeter when you’re sucking down clean air instead pounds of pollution.

5. Biking gives you your own ride. If you’re not old enough to drive, haven’t gotten your license, or just plain don’t have a car, biking is a great solution. No more waiting around for your parents who bother you with their intrusive questions, no more waiting for your friends to pick you up. Just hop on your bike and you’re on your way.

In addition to bombing hills, getting ripped, and beating your friend in an all-out race, you can earn Air Creds for every day that you bike to school. Rack up enough Air Creds, and we will send you some sweet On Air swag to help support your clean air message.

So there you have it. Zero reason not to bike to school this month and show all those adults how youthful you are, and they once were. Remember to always wear a helmet. I know, you don’t look as awesome in a helmet (no one does), but it will sure save your good-lookin’ head in the event of a fall.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your pedaling. Because really, we ought to be able to beat this guy:

 

Today is International Walk to School Day!

Need some inspiration to express your individuality as a walker? Boom:

Walk on friends. Get creative, and share your walking style with us via Facebook or on Twitter: @OnAirGa

Tomorrow is International Walk to School Day!

Guess what? Tomorrow is International Walk to School Day!

But of course, you already knew that.

So we want to see you strut your stuff to and from school tomorrow. It’s good for you, and it’s good for the air.

In case you need some more encouragement, below are a few things that you may not have considered yet–but first, see what one of our student bloggers, Zoe Spencer, has to say about clean commuters at her school:

And now for some walking facts:

Walking to school promotes physical health: Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well walking to school is a great way to get some easy exercise in each and every day. While it may not seem like you’re pushing yourself too hard, every little bit helps.

Walking to school keeps our air clean: Walking to school throws a huge punch on behalf of our environment. For every person that walks to and from school, that’s one less car on the road emitting toxic fumes and polluting our air.

For every mile you drive, your car puts 1 pound of pollution in the air. That is a ton of pollution! Let’s face it, no one likes breathing polluted air, so why not drive less?

Walking to school is social: Get together with some of your friends or neighbors and walk to school in a group. It’s a great way to socialize and catch up on things you’ve missed (gossip), and to get your day started with a positive attitude.

Walking to school makes a statement:  Stand up for our environment. You can show your parents, teachers, and community leaders that we don’t have to rely on cars for everyday transportation. Your example will show everyone how easy it is to walk in your community. You could be a trendsetter!

#GetOnAir Video Challenge: DEADLINE EXTENDED

Hey there, OnAir community!

So, remember when we told you about our #GetOnAir September video challenge? The one where you could show off your camera skills for a good cause? Oh yeah–the one where you could win a Sony HD pocket camcorder? Remember that?

Well, we’ve got good news for you. If you didn’t get the chance to work up an entry in the first half of September, you’re in luck! Because we’ve now extended the deadline until September 30.

That means you’ve now got all the way until the end of the month to whip out that smartphone, wake your inner Tarantino, and hit “record” on your very own save-the-air message. And once you’ve entered, the Internet will vote on whose video is best.

Need more info? You can find all the contest rules here.

Need inspiration? Take a look at this video made last spring by one of our awesome student bloggers:

So get out there, get filming, and #GetOnAir. Do it today!

REPOST: Introducing AirCreds!


We’re pretty fired up over here at OnAir, now that we’ve launched the AirCreds system! We know what you’re thinking: ‘What’s an AirCred?” Don’t worry- we’ll break it down for you, and we know that once you understand how AirCreds works, you’ll be excited too.

Basically, the AirCreds system awards you points when you enter the positive actions you take to contributing to improving our air and our environment in general. For example, if you invite a friend to join OnAir, you earn 5 points. If you take the bus to school, you earn 10 points. You can even rack up points by planting a tree, working in a community garden, or skateboarding to school. The possibilities are endless, and the awesome part is that not only will you help save our air, you’ll have fun in the process.

If you’re already an OnAir member, simply go to the AirCreds tab and start recording your AirCred actions! If you’re not yet member, join here, then sign up for AirCreds and get to crushing the competition!

So- that just leaves one question: are you up for the AirCreds challenge? And how do you think you’ll stack up against your OnAir competitors?

 

Green for clean!

As we all know, trees are an important part of cleansing our air by way of the “carbon cycle.” They take in carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen!

But I recently found out that there are a lot of other garden plants that are good at taking toxins out of our air too! Lab tests have shown the following to be particulary adept at reducing airborne contaminants:

 

English Ivy (Hedera helix)
This one is actually really common! I’ve seen it in lots of places around Atlanta neighborhoods and parks.

 

 

 

 

 

Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
Although it’s not native to America, you might see this type of tree around the city because it’s a popular plant for landscaping and decoration and often seen in malls!

 

 

Flamingo Flower (Anthurium)
This flower is particularly interesting to me because of how unique it looks! Although not necessarily common in an urban or wild setting, many people have put these in their yards or gardens.

 

 

 

Overall, I’d say good job, Mother Nature!

Indoor Air Pollution

The summer really seems to be flying by! Hope everyone is having a great vacation.

The weather’s been pretty hot lately, and you may be spending lots of time inside. But did you know that indoor air can become polluted, too? This happens when contaminants build up inside buildings. Homes and schools can be affected by it!

Things like dust, other particulates, and carbon monoxide are quite common pollutants, while asbestos and lead are showing up increasingly less due to people’s knowledge of their dangers. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for industrial purposes. But in the early 1900s, people in asbestos mining towns began dying and having severe lung problems.

Paint and cleaning products are also big hazards when it comes to indoor air pollution. A way to avoid being affected by this is to use organic cleaning products and things without harsh chemicals. Distilled vinegar, for instance, is a completely natural substance used to kill mold and germs. It’s great to dust often and add fans in your house, to keep air circulating and minimize particulates.

Remember, have a safe, happy and green summer!

How green is your school?

So…sorry to bring this up, guys, but it’s almost back-to-school time. And while the end of vacation might be kind of a bummer, we’ve go a project for you to tackle that might make the school year pass just a little quicker. How about making this the year that you try to green-up your school?

It might seem like a big job. That’s because it is. But just because there’s lots to do doesn’t mean that you can’t make a difference. Here are some tips and tricks you can try this year to make your school a greener place:

Don’t Idle

Idling, or leaving the engine running while the car isn’t moving, emits 20 times more pollution than if you were travelling at 30 miles per hour. And it happens every day at your school, when students get dropped off and picked up. You can help cut down on that pollution by getting people to turn their cars off when sitting for more than 30 seconds.

Cutting back on idling can make a HUGE difference in the air quality at your school. Wanna get the word out? Try Facebook, Twitter, even YouTube to get people talking. You could even create a #noidling hashtag and make the idea go viral!

Walk, Bike, Pool, or Bus to School

Everyone has the option of riding the bus – so, hop on. One full school bus takes approximately 36 cars off the road. That’s 36 fewer cars emitting harmful pollution into the air. Plus, that morning and afternoon ride gives you optimal time to listen to your favorite tunes, look up game cheats, catch up on celebrity gossip …you get the picture.

If you live within walking or pedaling distance of your school, walking or biking can be easier than you think. Just make sure to map a safe route, and don’t be afraid to scout the neighborhood for walking and biking buddies. Try downloading the Map My Ride app to find the best route to your school.

If you’re not close enough to walk or bike, consider carpooling. This is another area where you could utilize Facebook—try creating Facebook groups for people to safely link with others in their area.

Recycle

If your school has recycling bins, use them. And encourage your classmates to use them too – especially for paper. If there’s no recycling service at your school, petition your school principal and superintendent to get one. Remind them that adding a recycling service could save their budget up to $7,000 a year, according to Mass Recycle.

Pack Your Lunch

Eat a waste-free lunch everyday by avoiding packing things like plastic seal bags, plastic forks, paper napkins, etc. Instead, pack your lunch using:

– Reusable lunch containers

– Regular, washable utensils

– Cloth napkins

– Reusable drink containers

– Reusable lunch boxes

Basically, try to stay waste-free when you pack your lunch. Challenge your friends and classmates to pack their lunches too.

Bring in the Green

Plants are natural air purifiers. Their roots and leaves work together to soak up chemical pollutants in the air. Bringing any plants inside will help, but for the best results, have one plant for every 10 square yards of floor space.

So, try to get one plant in every classroom. The best air purifiers are spider plants, English Ivies and Gerbera Daisies. All three are low maintenance and easily found in stores.

How green do you think your school is? Let us know in the comments below. And, don’t forget to log your on-campus green activities in the AirCreds tool for points and prizes.

 

Have a Red, White, & Green Fourth!

Independence Day is just around the corner, and you know what that means: fireworks and outdoor cookouts galore! But since we’re in the middle of smog season, some may not look forward to an all-day, outdoor cookout followed by an evening filled with smoke-producing fireworks.

But, cheer up! Because here are some green solutions to help you breathe easier on the Fourth of July.

Fireworks

While fireworks are one of the best parts of Independence Day, they’re infamous for spreading dangerous toxins such as carbon monoxide into the air.

So, the best thing to do is reduce the amount of fireworks out there. Instead of buying individual fireworks, get a group together and head to the nearest large fireworks display. Imagine it – 100 people looking at one display of fireworks is better than 100 people each lighting their own fireworks. (Just like a bunch of people riding the bus is better than each one driving his/her own car. But we digress.)

You’ll be cutting down on the amount of air pollution while still getting into the Fourth of July spirit.

An even better option is heading to a light show or a laser show. Since lasers are light without the smoke, laser shows are the completely air-friendly way to see colorful, popping displays. Here in Atlanta, the ever-popular Stone Mountain Laser Show is a summer staple. Carpool in for an amazing Fourth of July view.

Barbecue

Having a green barbecue doesn’t have to be difficult. Just remember to try to stay sustainable!

  • Attempt to stay away from plastic and aluminum dishware. Instead, go with regular dishware and utensils – they’re reusable!
  • For the menu, stick to local food.
  • Use a gas grill instead of a charcoal grill for fewer emissions.
  • If you just can’t let go of the charcoal, try using a FSC-Certified brand such as Wicked Good Charcoal– it’s made from industrial scrap wood produced from clean-energy turbine heat!

And if you’re worried about smog on the Fourth, remember our tips for outdoor activities on high smog days.

What are your Fourth of July traditions? Leave them in the comments below. And don’t forget to log your air-friendly Fourth of July activities on the AirCreds tool for points and prizes!

 

 

 

 

 

The Air Games

As many of you sports fans know, it is now the time of reckoning for many in the 2012 Olympic Games located in London. For those who keep track, a major problem in the 2008 games in Beijing was the amount of air pollution and it dismal effects upon the athletes and tourists—such as smog and harshness to breath. As of now, the city of London is taking extra precautions to reduce the amount of pollution that the visitors will be experiencing with the leading levels of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx).

Some programs are initiated that travel around the city to spray a mixture that can soak up the amount of smog that fills the roadways in order to reduce the amount that has vaporized into the air.

Other actions taken by local environmentalist groups are trying to persuade companies to install filter caps onto the mufflers of transportation vehicles and company cars that are a leading factor of carbon emissions. Similarly, on the ground level people are now trading their boilers out for more efficient and environmentally friendly device that reduce the amounts NOx released while in use. All of these actions are in hopes to fulfill the city’s new program of Low Emission Zone for the pollution levels.

Also, companies are installing bike racks and designating other areas for specific use as a
placement for people’s bikes. Since this trend has started, the amount of customers and employees that use their bikes have increased dramatically. Likewise, the large law firm of Simmons and Simmons has started a program called Walk to Client, which allows the attorneys to use certain social media and communications to organize themselves and agree on a set location that is within walking distances for both parties.

So what can we learn from this? Simple: Try the same tactics. Now realize that it doesn’t have to scale large factories and law offices. It could, but you can start simply with your friends. Suggest that you all meet somewhere and that you are all going to bike there, or skateboard, or even just walk. You could even try petitioning the idea of installing some bike rakes and some of your favorite places. The biggest mistake anyone ever made was not trying. Give it a whirl, you might be surprised what happens.