The Weather Outside is Frightful

Running errands in the cold November weather is normal for a typical Atlanta go-getter.

However, when the November weather has results like freezing your car overnight, which may hinder your schedule.

Okay, now it’s mid-November and it is normal for temperatures to dropping a little. But the winter solstice is a month away. So why am I seeing icicles now?

You’ve heard of global warming and the Atlanta heat being a scorching 100 degrees. But did you know global warming could also affect the winter seasons?

It’s called Arctic Oscillation. This technical term is used to describe the interaction of the jet stream and Arctic air during the winter.

What does that mean? That means ridiculous cold air can be swept over normal temperature latitudes. This causes severe winter weather throughout most of the U.S.

Surviving these crazy temperatures is a must. I’m not talking about the short-term effects like wearing a jacket or scarf or carrying around an ice scraper. I’m talking about the long-term effects. How can we make it a little more bearable?

The thinning of the ozone layer in the earth’s atmosphere causes global warming. Tips and tricks on how you can reduce the heat and the freeze:

Recycle. Recycling can save at least 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere annually.

Check your thermostat. Keeping the temperature in your house 2 degrees lower in the winter and higher in the summer can save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Cooler showers. Using less hot water can save 500 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Carpooling. This usual tip can reduce 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and it saves you gas money.

 

OnAir says: You know we’re fans of the carpooling. What about the rest of the list? Have you thought about ways you can fight back against pollution? Or do you think it’s a bunch of hooey? Let us know in the comments!

 

Sources: http://www.weather.com/news/nasa-cold-snaps-global-warming-20130129
http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/tp/globalwarmtips.htm

The Government and The Environment… The Breakup

Hello OnAir readers!

After a long hiatus, I am so excited to be back! Hopefully you’ve all had a good start to the school year and you’re settling into your environmentally-conscious routines.

For this week I’d like to focus on something that I’m sure you’ve all read and heard about this week: the government shutdown. Now, you may be wondering how this coincides with the environment. The answer is simple: the government has basically everything to do with the environment, and this is the second major hit to the environment by the Federal Government this year alone (March 1st- EPA Budget was cut significantly). The EPA, which is of course a government agency, has also been shutdown; only 7% of EPA employees will continue to work as normal, at least until their contingency money runs out.

Due to this massive reduction, there will be no monitoring of water or air quality. This lack of monitoring will more than likely give many corporations a free pass when it comes to pollution production; after all, who’s to stop them now?

The other most obvious and instantaneous effect of this shutdown was the closure of every single national park and zoo. States’ local economies will lose $76 million per day in tourism revenue that would normally come from lodging and the sale/rental of recreational gear and services according to the National Park Service. This is doubly a shame since it was the anniversary of Yosemite this week.

The final major effect of this shutdown is that all those who have been working diligently on creating and passing laws and clean up efforts for the benefit of all necessary green sectors have been stopped short. Thus, the shutdown may not initially affect you, but the impact of reduced environmental protection and regulation definitely will in the not so distant future. We will reap the effects of our nation’s leaders choices.

 

OnAir says: What gets you fired up about the environment? What do you think the adults in your life–school, town, state–could do better? Let us know in the comments!

New School Year? New Ways To Be Green!

Hey Guys!

Since most of you, like myself, will be starting school very soon I thought we could talk about ways to make this school year your greenest yet!

There are so many easy ways to do this, like bringing a reusable water bottle and lunchbox. Most of those things you already know about, so I thought that I should bring up some ways you may not already know!

Before we get to go to classes and see our friends we have to GET to school, right? Well, how we choose to do that makes a huge difference and has serious effects on the environment as well as one’s health. Here are some ways to make sure that your carbon footprint is lessened this year!

1) Of course the best way to avoid releasing fossil fuels is by either walking, riding a bike or skateboarding to school. Obviously, if you live really far away from school, these aren’t options for you. However, if you live pretty close to your school, this may well be a good option. Not only are these your greenest options for transportation, you will also be getting some exercise! If you choose one of these three options, make sure to be safe–watch traffic, wear safety gear, and practice the buddy system!

2) Another way to cut emission production is by riding a school or city bus. Although they may not be as “cool” as driving a car, you will have time to socialize with your peers and even potentially get some extra study time in the mornings/afternoons. Mass transit is also another way to cut your carbon emissions by two-thirds!

3) The third way to reduce your carbon emissions is by creating a carpool. Carpooling makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. It is a time and money saver, reduces traffic congestion and pollution, and is a way to get to know your neighbors better!

So, there are several ways for you and your friends to make the most of this year by becoming more eco-friendly! Not only will the earth thank you, but you can also wrack up a bunch of points on this website by doing all of the above activities! Think about it… Why wouldn’t you want to make a positive change this year?

 

OnAir says: What’s another great reason to do all this stuff? Say it with us: AirCreds! Start earning points for your air-friendly acts today!

Golf Carts Go Green

In the recent past, people have become more aware of how they hurt the environment; this is why we have thousands of websites, like OnAir, and thousands of organizations to help us see how we affect the Earth and its delicate ecosystems. As more of us are starting to lean towards more eco-friendly products, companies have noticed this and are rapidly creating products that will please consumers. But in Peachtree City, Georgia, there is already a product that is rare for a family not to have: golf carts.

The intended use for golf carts is self explanatory: they are used by golfers to save time and not walk to all eighteen holes. They are charged electrically, and most models used nowadays do not use any gasoline, which would emit harsh chemicals into the air. In Peachtree City, where I live, people use golf carts as a major source of transportation. More than 9,000 households own golf carts– more than any city in the world! This lowers air pollution, while also providing a more scenic road to take. Golf cart paths cut through some of the forests, but are skillfully made to leave as many trees up as possible. There are approximately 90 miles (145 kilometers) of golf cart paths that web throughout Peachtree City.

At one of the local high schools, more golf carts are driven to school than cars and buses combined! Students and teachers are encouraged to drive golf carts due to limited parking space; the plus is improving the air quality. This is not the only city that is practicing eco-friendly transportation. Lafayette, Louisiana and Goldsboro, North Carolina are two cities outside of Georgia that practice this, but there are not many other cities that actually do. Less than twenty cities in the United States have most of their population owning and driving golf carts.

Peachtree City has been ranked in the Top 100 places to live in the United States for six years, usually at a very high ranking. It is awarded this prize along with other factors, but its environmentally friendly transportation has contributed a lot to its ranking. Maybe you can try to introduce this eco-friendly way of transportation to your community and other people around it. If you can do this or attempt to, know that you are a responsible person that cares for their environment. Safe driving!

 

OnAir says: Golf carts are great for not emitting exhaust like cars do. What exhaust-less ways can people get around in your town? Got some new ideas? Let us know in the comments!

Water and Air Pollution

One might think air pollution is different than water pollution, but that person doesn’t realize that everything in the world is correlated.

First, let’s see what air pollution REALLY means. According to Princeton worldwide net, it defines air pollution as pollution in the air. Meaning, the greenhouse gases released by the machines go in the atmosphere.

So then what happens? The gasses actually condense like oxygen, and then become clouds. As the cloud gets heavier, it starts raining. The rain is not just water, but it is mixed with the gasses. Finally, the rainfall which is contaminated goes into water bodies which contaminate the whole area.

See how it is related? One problem causes the other which causes another whole different problem.

Which should we work on first? Air or water pollution?

OnAir says: What do you think are the biggest causes of air pollution, OnAir community? Let us know in the comments. Also, give a big welcome to our new blogger Rasika! We’re excited to have her on the team. If you’d like to apply to be an OnAir blogger, click here to get started now!

Arbor Day

So the last Friday of every April is Arbor Day! (Arbor Day = trees, fyi.) We celebrated by taking a walk around our OnAir offices and capturing some of the greenery in downtown Atlanta.

Like…

and…

The greenery around here really makes Atlanta even more beautiful. And it helps improve the air quality!

What did you all do for Arbor Day? If you live in a sprawling city like Atlanta, did you try planting a tree? Let us know in a comment below!

What’s the deal with pollen?

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/KuA6J5

Hi OnAir Community!

It’s that time of year again… yep, it’s pollen season. Now, I know that this might not be what many of you would consider worthy of a post where we usually discuss often life threatening environmental issues, but as a girl who has awful allergies, I’m here to tell you that pollen is no joke.

Assuming most of you live in Georgia like I do, you too are experiencing the joy that is the yearly “pollen dump.” Yes, every year I, along with thousands of other Atlanta natives, dread the spring dump of yellow-y dust which then proceeds to cover everything that will stand still long enough. You can see the clouds of pollen floating like smoke or like Egyptian sand storms through the air. Sure it’s annoying, and sure it makes lots of people sneeze, but what is its deal?

Scientists account for numerous variables when it comes to measuring the levels of pollution in cities throughout the world. However, it is understandably difficult for them to identify which minute particles are which while they are all suspended in the atmosphere. According to Scientific American, the most recorded types of these particles are soot, ash, and other man-made pollutants. However, they have now started identifying plant and animal particles such as pollen, bacteria, and skin cells that make up almost a quarter of the world’s atmospheric aerosols. German scientists collected data from cities around the world and, of course, pollen levels spiked in the spring and skin cells in the winter.

What does this mean for us when pollen season rears its ugly yellow head? Well, nothing per se, but it is interesting to know! However, I do have a few tips for those of you with allergies as bad as mine:

1.) Remember you are not alone; over 35 million other Americans are downright miserable during the spring and early summer months.

2.) Stay aware of the pollen counts. You can usually find the daily count on your local weather site and even download pollen count apps to your phone!

3.) Do your best to avoid long stints outside, especially on high pollen days. Yes, the weather is gorgeous, but if your allergies are bad enough, you may have to enjoy the sun rays while wearing a face mask.

4.) Know which parts of the day are highest for pollen. Usually the time between 5 and 9 AM is when pollination occurs, so try to eliminate outside activities during this time.

5.) Avoid bringing pollen indoors by heading straight up to the shower and changing your clothes after being outside for a while.

If you’d like to read more about the study done on air particulates, Scientific American has some cool data. Breathe easy!

Spreading the eco-mania on Earth Day

To commemorate Earth Day, my school’s environmental club holds an Earth Week. For the five days leading up to the annual celebration, we hold a plethora of lunchtime and after-school activities to build up the momentum and get fellow students to realize the variety of ways in which they can celebrate and develop green habits.

Image credit: http://bit.ly/13oxH2z

Last year, it seemed like we’d run out of new ideas and we’d have to resort to past activities until our teacher reached out to a high school climate education program called ACE (Action for Climate Education). We were ecstatic to find that they offered local workshops, carbon-cutting presentations, leadership training, and assistance for students to build action teams. By spring, we’d spent most of our funds so we were grateful to find out their help was free.

We met with their local representative Amber, and she helped up brainstorm refreshing and innovative ideas to spread our passion. The best part, though, was that she offered to be a guest speaker at a climate assembly our club could organize. Her presentation was amazing, to say the least. With engaging animations and an impactful message, it got the students so excited that we recruited 26 members for our club and our Do One Thing pledge board was covered with signatures and positive messages.

In this upcoming week, our Earth Week will be anything but boring. We’re having a shooting paper balls and bottles into recycling cans tournament, an organic foods picnic, a DIY Fashion Day where students can bring in old clothes and refashion them, and a movie night where we’ll be showing The Lorax and selling snacks to fundraise for storm water barrels.

No matter how small or even nonexistent the action in your school or community might be, reach out organizations such as The Clean Air Campaign or ACE to find imaginative ideas to get others excited about implementing change. Every day is Earth Day but it’s great to be able to have a time to come together and celebrate the preservation of what surrounds us.

Have a great Earth Day!

 

OnAir says: Earth Day is April 22, and there’s still time to put together something awesome at your school! Planning something special? Tell us about it in the comments!

Good, Green, Music

Have any of you guys wondered about the stance your favorite bands and artists are taking on the environment? Do your favorite rock bands do more than just write lyrics about trees and the evils of pollution? Does your favorite singer travel exclusively in biofuel tour buses, and release her albums in biodegradable materials only?

Well just in case you’ve been wondering, the music industry has been increasing its efforts to be more environmentally friendly, an example being Warner Music Group. One of the “Big Four” of record companies, Warner Music Group has been releasing its work with DVD liner notes made of 30% recycled paper that was taken from carefully selected wood chosen by the Forest Stewardship Council. It also runs a nationwide recycling program that has found success in decreasing waste, with a total of almost 4,000,000 pounds of waste removed.

In addition to the record companies themselves going green, the artists themselves have also been increasing efforts. Reverb, a non-profit, environmentally focused Portland, Maine organization has played a huge part in this. Reverb focuses on partnering with artists and fans to make concerts and tours more eco-friendly, and to inspire people to become more invested in the environment.

Green Music Group, a project of Reverb, is made up of some very high-profile artists from The Roots to Willie Nelson that, according to their website, are aiming towards:

1. Creating an engaging online community of musicians, music industry leaders, and music fans all committed to addressing our greatest environmental concerns.
2. Facilitating large-scale greening of the music community through touring, venue, and label standards, resource development, green grants mentoring, and viral video and public service campaigns.
3. Providing environmental nonprofits with a megaphone for their cause, allowing them to expand their reach and support base.
4. Creating a sustainable green music guild to support and inform the efforts of the music community and position leaders in the music industry as voices for change, working to shine a light on the most pressing environmental issues of our time.”

From human pedal-powered concerts (!) to musicians bringing representatives from environmental organizations to their concerts to educate fans, environmental awareness is very present in the music world. Here’s a Rolling Stone article on some of the most eco-friendly bands and artists; you may be surprised by a few of them.
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/the-15-most-eco-friendly-rockers-20101216

http://blog.wegowise.com/blog2/bid/122506/Greening-the-Music-Industry-Eco-friendly-bands
http://greenmusicgroup.org/who-is-gmg/all_members/

6 Insanely Awesome Bikes

Clean commuting. It’s the cat’s pajamas.

We know you’ve all been hustling to run errands, filling your cars to max seating capacity, and pedaling your hearts out all for the sake of clean air. We appreciate that, we really do (and so do your lungs).

As a thank you to you pedal-pushers and other clean commuters, we’ve put together a list of dreamy bikes that we know you’d love to get your hands on. Some of them are just concepts, but others are fully functional. You could even buy one…if you had Bruce Wayne’s credit card.

Speaking of Bruce Wayne, he – er… Batman – would probably love this ride: The Stealth Bomber. This electric bike would look great speeding down the streets ofGotham after the Joker. But in all seriousness, this bike is more than a fictitious prop. The electric cycle tops out at 50mph off of the battery, and can go even faster when you start pedaling.

You’re drooling. Stop it. We know the bike is beautiful, but it’s not polite to stare. The Aston Martin One-77 (why yes, they do make luxury sports cars) is a bicycle fit for James Bond. It’s considered one of the most high-tech bikes on the market featuring a high-tech computer system, complex array of sensors, and a carbon fiber frame to keep the weight down. So start saving—just $39,000 and it’s yours. (You’d better get an excellent U-lock.)

No chain? No problem. The CERV (continually ergonomic race vehicle) concept bike has no chain, and changes shape as you ride for the most aerodynamic position. Not to mention, it doesn’t have a front fork. Look out the CERV at the Tour de France in the next few years.

The Fliz Bike is hardly a bike at all. It’s more like something out of the Flintstones (in terms of foot-power, not rudimentary design.) The only components that this baby has in common with your everyday bike are wheels and handlebars. No chain, no seat, no pedals. Just get a running start and glide your way to wherever you’re headed. Good luck getting uphill, though.

The Audi Wörthersee e-bike is another sleek and stylish electric bike. Looks pretty sweet, but where do you sit?

The sleek, artistically crafted Axalko wooden bicycle is carved from Spanish ash wood. It’s light weight, super speedy, and looks great too. Just don’t go riding through any fires.

Let’s just get one thing straight. Biking is cool. It doesn’t matter if your cruising in a tricked-out, swagtastic, speed machine, or if you’ve dusted off your dad’s old 10-speed from the 80’s. Either way, you’re keeping our air clean, and lookin’ great doing it.