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

BayCycle: Bike by Land or Sea

Want to bike to school, but there’s a river in the way? Fear not: meet BayCycle. This bike features a raft, which means you can pedal by from land to water and back.

Learn more about BayCycle here.  Would you paddle/pedal on one of these bad boys? Let us know in a comment below!

 

Lower bills and lower CO2 levels- Who doesn’t want those two things?

Hey everyone,

Since it’s finally getting colder, like myself, I’m sure that you all are probably trying to keep warm. Heating your whole house is expensive, so wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to keep warm and keep your bills more reasonable? Energy conscious engineers in Madrid may be able to help you out!

Many people have been using solar panels to heat the water in their bathroom for several years now, but the engineers at the Madrid University Carlos III and Politécnica say that they can also be used to heat in the winter and cool in the summer large inhabited spaces. They’ve incorporated solar panels into a gas-based system within a larger absorption machine. This would reduce both energy expenditure and CO2 emissions!

The gas engine within this system generates electricity and can in use the residual heat that is produced in the conversion process during winter months. Then, in summer when we are sweltering, the residual heat powers an absorption machine which cools the water to provide air conditioning.

Pedro A. Rodriguez, the primary author of the study, explained that although it is only compulsory for establishments in order to meet the demand for hot water, a very limited number of them escape this by not having either showers or kitchens. In order to make establishments utilize this new energy system, the energy needs of buildings, one must consider the temporal trends in a specific area.

Although at the moment only businesses, train stations such as the Atocha Station in Madrid, and shopping malls have been utilizing this new green technology, maybe someday soon we all will have the ability to use solar panels to reduce both our energy bills and our carbon footprint!

Source: http://www.uc3m.es/portal/page/portal/actualidad_cientifica/noticias/solar_panels

 

OnAir says: How can you stay green as it gets colder? Let us know your ideas in a comment below!

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!

I waste, you waste, e-waste

When it comes to technology, we’re constantly upgrading. It felt like only a month after I’d bought a Samsung Galaxy phone that the shinier, larger, improved version of it came out. There’s nothing wrong with upgrading, but with the limited life spans of our electronics, most of us are just throwing away old electronics without thinking of the whether that’s the best method of disposal. Most discarded electronic products end up in landfills or exported to other countries where their toxins are released into the air, soil, and water.

Electronics waste represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills, but makes up 70% of overall toxic waste. Almost all electronics contain toxic materials that can be harmful to people and the planet like lead and mercury. Smartphones and laptops even contain heavy metals like cadmium, beryllium, or arsenic, which can build up in our bodies and the environment. The disposal of electronics from the United States is rarely handled within the country but instead sent to developing countries where the metal is extracted or burned producing dangerous toxins.

Some companies are moving in the right direction and removing certain toxins from their products, and others have started take-back programs that aren’t merely green washing but showing sincere changes.

These are great steps, but you can also get involved by holding an e-waste collection drive like my local elementary school or even handing down or reselling your technology. As consumers of these products, it’s our responsibility to make sure that our gadgets are being handled properly after they’ve served their purpose and that they’re also being made with less toxins before they enter out eager hands.

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.

Eating like you mean it

We all know eating organic and local is the way to go when buying food because, as a teacher once told me, “every time you buy something, you’re voting for the kind of world you want to live in,” and making those decisions is choosing healthier plants, animals, workers, bodies, and planet. But do you know how you can supercede that decision to make even better eating and lifestyle choices? Stay tuned to find out.

Organic farming is designed to reduce pollution and conserve water without releasing harmful pesticides that harm health and wildlife. When buying organic, you also avoid the risks associated with pesticides, herbicides, additives, preservatives that come with conventional agriculture. By becoming an informed and aware consumer, you support practices that ensure your health and that of the world you live in. Here are some examples of how to start:

  • Look for the USDA Organic label on a product. It means that at least 95% of the food’s ingredients were organically produced or that the product was “made with organic ingredients,” which means the product contains at least 70 % organic ingredients.
  • Avoid the Dirty Dozen–and check out the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” cheat sheet of fruits and vegetables to determine which produce items have the highest and lowest pesticide amount.
  • Buy local and get better food while also ensuring that the money you spend brings twice as much economic wealth to your community. Moreover, purchasing locally and organically raised meats and produce reduces oil consumption significantly as the food industry consumes nearly a fifth of all the petroleum used in the United States.
  • Find out about and combat factory farming. An animal raised on a farm has its weight increased through a daily ration of antibiotics. Such unsustainable and unethical methods are only about maximizing profit and deeply neglect the condition or cost of the food produced.
  • Try meatless Mondays. Think about how far the food on your plate has come and if you’re a major carnivore, take a day or more break off meat a week. The production of meat, especially beef, uses humongous amounts of water and energy.

Your food will surely taste better when you know it’s been treated well and you feel like you’re making a statement of health and care just by eating it.

Sources:
http://www.organic-center.org/
http://www.jamieoliver.com/foundation/
http://sustainableagriculture.net/

Break the ice

Did you know you can socialize and help the environment at the same time? Yeah, it’s possible! Spreading the word is one way to raise awareness. Like us green bloggers, make it a point to reach out to your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc. about environmental awareness. Make social gatherings at a park or volunteer area for environmental causes – extend party invitations in a green way.

One way that I reach out to raise awareness – besides blogging about it – is tweet a helpful tip every Friday to my followers. On other social media platforms, I hold a special day for raising concerns about anything that reaches my ear. Make it a new fad on Instagram where posting pictures of helping the environment is the coolest thing; it’s a great way to spice things up in your dashboard. You might even find that some of your friends hold the same interest as you.

Can social media save the world? Of course! The internet and social media provides individual donors and worthy organizations the ability to connect meaningfully on opposite sides of the world. Social media is effective in expanding eco awareness and introducing sustainability concepts to others – that’s why we’re blogging about it!

So what are you waiting for? Break the ice!

Eco-friendly Ways to Keep It Cool

As much as we like to pump up the AC during the hot summer days to come, you can cool down in a variety of ways that feel good and lessen your impact on the environment. Here are some things to try:

  • Keep the windows closed during the day to keep out the heat, but open them at night to let in cool air.
  • Wear white or light colors to reflect sunlight and consider using white window shades or mini-blinds to reduce solar heat gain.
  • Take showers or baths during the cooler times of day so you don’t spend as much time in the water.
  • Keep lights off as much as possible and use candles at night. It can be nice and freshening.
  • When you’re not home, shut off as many electric appliances as possible. They’re probably generating a lot of heat.
  • Get rid of incandescent lights. They use more energy, but also generate lots of heat as compared to fluorescent or LED light bulbs.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and replenish your body with cool water on days like this.
  • Plant a tree if you can. They can provide ample shade for your home.
  • Picnic in the back yard or hang outside in the evening with family, friends, or a good book.
  • And finally, get wet! A swim is sure to cool you down.

Have a great summer!