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!

New Driver? Interested in Carpooling?

Of course you’re interested! Why wouldn’t you be? After all, carpooling is great for the environment. It means fewer cars out on the road, which means less tailpipes emitting fumes, and cleaner air for us to breathe! Not to mention, it’s nice to have some company while driving, or someone to help kick in gas money! You could even call it a reason to spend a little extra time with that special someone…

Just got your license? You're free at last!

Regardless of your reasons, we’re excited that you’re excited about carpooling! We at On Air love to hear about students who carpool to school. But while you’re still in your teens, there are a few state laws you should know about before parking your friends into the back seat. We know a lot of you are new drivers, so here are a few Georgia laws to keep in mind as you start logging some time behind the wheel.

 

  • During your first 6 months of driving, you are only allowed to drive with ONE immediate family member in your car, and no one else. We know what a bummer it can be not to be able to drive your friends around, but if you’ve only recently gotten your license, someone who’s had their license for over 6 months will have to drive the carpool.

  • After 6 months you can drive as many immediate family members around as you want, however you can only have ONE other non-family member who is under 21.
  • After you have a year’s worth of legal driving under your belt, you are allowed to have as many as three other people who are under 21 in the car! That’s about as many as will fit comfortably in your eco-friendly ride anyway. It’s really not worth cramming in like sardines.

Keep in mind, until you’re 18 you aren’t allowed to be driving between the hours of 12:00am – 6:00am. So if you’re out late (parents permitting), be sure to have someone 18 or older drive!

Don’t have a license? No problem, there are plenty of other eco-friendly ways to commute to school. You can always catch the bus, ride your bike, or catch a ride with someone who can legally drive you.

Remember to always wear a seat belt, and NEVER text and drive.

Green Shopping

As of now, retail and department stores are advertising their great deals and back-to-school specials for the coming school year. However, due to the economy and price strategizing, we find ourselves driving to lots of different stores for specific items that we want to buy, alternating from the best jeans to the coolest shoes. So what’s the best way to go about this?

First, go online and price different stores for the items that you want and love. If you have a type of jean that you prefer in one store, see if you can find the other clothes that you want in the same store. While this saves a load of your time, it also saves the environment as well. You would be saving your car from running empty in the fuel tank; simultaneously you would prevent the amount of harmful CO2 emissions in the air.

Try and plan your major and minor shopping to all be located in one centered area and not scattered throughout your hometown. There are many advertisements stating the benefits of taking one’s business to individualized retail stores, instead of the mall. However, with some searching on the internet, you might find that the deals can be better. This is extremely helpful to the clean air cause because the mall has a multitude of department stores and other various items in one place without you having to travel that much by vehicle. Or, if you don’t care to shop at the mall, many stores are now teaming up to build their franchises next to one another in hopes of reducing the amount of travel that their customers have to endure.

Likewise, you could plan to do your shopping with a group of your best friends and decide to all carpool to the mall or store of your intention. It would be helpful to the cause and could be a fun day out with your friends. Better yet: if you don’t want to carpool, you could ride the metro line, subway, or even the bus.

 

OnAir says: When you bundle a lot of errands together to cut down on extra car trips, we call that “trip chaining”–and it’s a great, simple way to cut down on pollution. Also, who WOULDN’T prefer to go shopping in a group? Keep that in mind, and carpool next time!

My Generation

At my school, walking and biking to school is very common. There’s a massive group of students who live relatively nearby, and ride their bikes or come to school on foot almost every day. We even have one organized day a month where you get small prizes for using alternative, eco-friendly transportation when travelling to and from school.

(If you want to get your school involved, go to Georgia Safe Routes to School.)

I interviewed some of my friends, teachers and peers who are working every day to prevent air pollution by avoiding the harmful substances emitted into the environment by motor vehicles. Although many schools aren’t as environmentally conscious as mine, it’s clear that young people can have a lot of impact in the green movement. Let’s make our generation be the one to protect our future.

OnAir says: It’s Air Quality Awareness Week! Got any air-friendly ideas you’re ready to put into action? Tell us about them in the comments! And don’t forget to keep logging those clean, green acts for more AirCreds!

Save Time, Money, and the Environment by Carpooling

Do you and your friends all drive to school? Here’s a thought—carpool! According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if you carpool with four friends, you will be emitting 200 fewer pounds of pollution per week, assuming an average ten mile trip per person—or even more if you travel farther!

Have you ever run out of cash by the weekend because you had to gas up your car during the week? According to the American Automobile Association, it costs an average of $13.10 a week to drive a car, assuming the same ten-mile per day trip. So if you and four friends were to alternate driving each day, you would save $10.48 a week—that’s the cost of a movie ticket to the latest blockbuster hit!

Have you ever been stuck in traffic and missed the homeroom bell because of it? Carpooling can help with this stressful situation, too. Fewer cars on the road will lead to less traffic and congestion, which means you can make it school on time.

Talk to your friends and try to coordinate a carpooling schedule—you can even visit The Clean Air Campaign website to help you get started!

What’s your take on carpooling? Do you carpool now? If not, would you consider it?

A Cleaner Commute = Cleaner Air

Clean Commute options allow you to explore new ways to reduce idling cars in school zones, grocery stores, or even at the banks. Anywhere were you would leave your car running for a long period of time we recommend you use a clean commute option.

Here are four clean modes of transportation bus riding, biking, walking, and carpooling.

  • Bus Riding – Riding the bus is one of the safest modes of transportation and helps take cars off the road.
  • Biking – Whether you rely on your bike for transportation or exercise, riding your bike to school or the park can be fun and is healthy for your body.

  • Walking – Rethinking how you get to school, work, or friend’s house, etc. can help make a big difference in the air we breathe. Walking is one of the best forms of physical activity and it requires no preparation, no special equipment, and it’s free!
  • Carpooling – Sharing a ride with a friend or classmate 2-3 times a week can save you about $1,000 over the course of a year – but the equivalent of three months’  worth of groceries for a family of four. (Source- Food Food Marketing Institute, average weekly grocery bill for family of four is $115.00 – November 2010)

Every day, Georgians help to eliminate 1.4 million vehicle miles of travel (the equivalent of circling the globe 56 times!) by carpooling, teleworking, riding a bike, walking, riding the bus or riding public transportation to work and school. These actions add up to keeping 700 tons of pollution out of the air we breathe!

(Source: Center for Transportation and the Environment study conducted on behalf of the Georgia Department of transportation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration – global circumference at equator = 24,901 miles.)

Clean commuting not only means cleaner air for all of us to breathe, it also means less traffic, more exercise and more fun! How will you begin your clean commute?