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

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!

Rent-A-Bike

Have you heard about the newest eco-friendly thing going on in the big cities? Well, here’s a hint: rent-a-bike. That’s right! You can rent a bike from one part of the city to get to the other part and return it to its “slot”. It’s a lot like renting out a car on a trip or those shopping-car things in the malls for little kids. It’s a great idea for a step forward in helping the environment.

This mean of transportation has become popular in cities like Chicago, New York, Washington DC and Miami. Specially designed to have a little basket for briefcase and book bags in the front along with a GPS, this is one of the coolest ways to help lower air pollution.

This bicycle-sharing rental program has swept several big cities into frenzy. According to the Chicago Tribune, the federally funded program is envisioned for the public to ride the bikes on short trips of mostly 30 minutes or less, instead of taking a taxicab or a bus or, worst of all, driving.

This new way of transportation is definitely geared towards saving the environment and keeps a couple of bills in your pocket. According to Denver’s B-Cycle bike sharing program, a 4-mile bicycle trip keeps 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air that would have been emitted by a car driving the same distance. On top of that, it’s not just a great workout but a way to avoid that nasty traffic congestion. It’s more convenient, affordable and helps overcome theft and storage barriers.

This is a great idea and I hope it comes to Atlanta soon as well. As they say, one pedal forward for a man, one giant race for mankind.

Upset about emissions? You should be.

And there goes another one.

Oil refineries and chemical processing plants on the Gulf Coast are bringing another industrial byproduct into the air: ‘upset’ emissions.

What are upset emissions?

In lamest terms, they are chemicals released into the air by industrial establishments when something goes wrong. And apparently, there is a lot that goes wrong. In an extreme case, at an ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge, LA, there was an average of two accidental releases per week for a certain period of time.

Even in an extreme case? Not cool.

The leak marks the 1,068th upset emissions event in the past eight years at the compound. And they are becoming more and more routine, apparently.

Even though the upset emissions pose a lot of health risks for us and, obviously, a huge risk for the environment, the oil and chemical companies say that this is not true. However, evidence provided by experts like Dr. Mark D’Andrea from the University of Texas Cancer Center shows that residents of Texas City in the aftermath of the 40-day release from the BP refinery (another upset emissions event) had a significantly higher white blood cell count than their Houston neighbors.

That basically means that the residents of Texas City have a higher risk for developing cancers like leukemia.

This is what we’re talking about, people. All tree-hugging aside, air pollution is a huge threat to our health. It’s time to pay attention.

What do you guys think? What can regular people do about emissions like these? Share your thoughts below.

Source: http://grist.org/news/gulf-coast-refineries-accidentally-belch-out-a-lot-of-chemical-pollution/

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!

93%

Here in the United States, we tend to go all out for a variety of things. Big cars, big houses, big highways, big buildings…you name it.

I mean, look at it.

©barfblog.com

 

©Time Magazine

See what I mean?

So it shouldn’t be surprising that 93% of transportation in the United States relies on oil.

Check out this short clip:

According to the video, the amount of CO2 emissions released by all that oil-fueled transportation in the U.S. adds up to more than that of the entire rest of the world combined, with the exception of China. Also, the United States has seen a 19% increase in the use of gas since 1990, because of a variety of factors.

What do you think regular people can do to cut back on pollution? We talk about carpooling, riding our bikes and using public transit as much as possible, but what are your ideas? Share your ideas in a comment below.

Source: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/stories/8-vacation-spots-powered-by-renewable-energy

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!

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!

What Hurricane Sandy Could Say About Global Warming

Hey everyone, so as you guys know, Hurricane Sandy has been all over the news, and for good reason. It’s been wreaking havoc in the New York and New Jersey areas, and has really established itself as one of the worst storms the U.S has faced in recent times.

One of the issues that has been raised in Sandy’s aftermath has been whether the storm was closely related to climate change, or global warming. One research scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University, Radley Horton has been studying the potential causes and conditions that resulted in Hurricane Sandy. In an interview with NPR Horton told them that while it couldn’t be stated that global warming was a direct cause of the powerful storm, connections between the two could be made.

The rising sea levels and temperatures of the world’s oceans were said to be connected to the storm. As the planet warms up, the oceans heat up as well, and warmer water strengthens the power of storms like Sandy. Increased flooding could be the result of higher sea levels in the future.
In a separate article, researchers at Beijing Normal University in China found that the frequency of large storm surges has increased since 1923, and that in warmer temperatures large storms are more likely.

With these recent studies and with America dealing with Sandy’s aftermath, I think we should all look for climate change discussion to increase and hopefully gain a more important place in government policy. While we can’t know for sure that global warming is putting us at bigger risk of large storms, we can’t look past the connections. The articles are below if you guys want to read them, they give more examples of possible causes of storms such as Sandy and how climate change plays in.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=hurricane-sandy-spins-up-climate-discussion

http://www.npr.org/2012/10/31/164043372/sandy-raises-questions-about-climate-and-the-future

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!