Powershift2013

Powershift is an event where people from all over the WORLD with like minds come together to learn, hear stories, go to different workshops on the aspects of the environmental issues you want to solve and learn how to “SHIFT THE POWER” to a green economy, and climate justice in your community

This year I was able to attend w/ a free scholarship thanks to Alliance of Climate Education (ACE), and it changed my life. There was so many inspiring keynote speakers and even just individuals my age that told their story in a rap,poem, essay, dance, are, literally anything.

I learned that kids my age CAN make a difference in the world, and you can save the world while having fun!! I came back to Georgia not wanting to go back of course and with more knowledge and wanting to get out to my community and demand environmental justice! Cant wait to attend again in 2015 as a college student!!!

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!

Reduce, Reuse, Refashion

The start of summer is always exciting until you feel like you have nothing to do. Several summers ago, to stop my complaints of boredom, my mom encouraged me to learn how to sew and turn my outgrown jeans into a purse. I took on the challenge and made something that more closely resembled a sack, but a seed was planted and a hobby created. I spent the rest of the summer watching YouTube videos on how to cut up old shirts into necklaces and leaving a trail of fabric.

The emergence of an eco-friendly fashion industry that uses organic or recycled materials and doesn’t involve harmful chemicals is great and definitely something to cheer about. But for those who can’t afford to buy the occasionally overpriced products of that market or don’t want to, Do It Yourself fashion is the way to go. I realized only later on what a great thing “refashioning” was for the environment, but when you think about it, it makes so much sense. You’re keeping old clothes out of landfills while saving energy that could be used to make new ones.

Rather than heading to the mall for your next fashion find, repurpose rarely-worn clothes from your closet and turn it into something stylish you can be proud to wear. With a DIY spirit, not only can you find uses for otherwise untouched possessions, you can also join the battle against wasteful and materialistic behavior.

Websites like PS–I Made This, the YouTube channel ThreadBanger, and the book Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt are a great place to start. They offer many remarkable ways to bring out your crafty side even if you don’t sew or know where to begin. Next time you see something eye-catching way out of your price range, you might even be inspired to make it yourself.

Go Green–and Go Outside

Summer vacation is ALMOST HERE! Time to run around, roll in the sand at the beach, eat loads of ice cream, go to the park, and picnics…we love picnics.

Or you could be the one barricaded at home with the air-conditioner on, playing video games. And not showing off your tan because you don’t have one.

Air-conditioner = waste of energy. Especially if you can be outside and actually enjoying your summer vacation. So don’t stay cooped up this summer–go green by going out! Here are some suggestions:

  1. Have a picnic. All you need is a cooler (replaces the fridge), sunlight (replaces the light in your kitchen) and sandwiches (replaces the oven/stove). You’re set.
  2. Go tanning at the beach. Why do you need to go to a energy-hogging tanning salon if you can just step outside and get a bronze-y glow? What’s that? You don’t have a beach near you? Just step outside; an hour or two in the sun will get you all the glow you need. But make sure to wear sunscreen with a decent SPF–that’s no joke.
  3. Play sports. You know, instead of going to the gym or working out at home. First off, it’s beautiful outside, so why wouldn’t you want to? Second, being in a gym or at home wastes electricity because of the lights and the equipment. Third, for goodness’ sake, you’re outside. And you’re getting tan. And you’re playing volleyball with your friends. Just go.
  4. Start a garden. This is the perfect weather to do so, and plants help out the environment and produce clean oxygen. And you’ll be outside getting tan. (How many times have I mentioned this now?)

 

Got any more eco-friendly suggestions for summer? Let us know in a comment below.

Photo credit: National Geographic

Stay green (and calm) for finals

Finals.  Perhaps the most dreaded word in the history of forever for anyone enrolled in school or a university. They’re stressful, annoying, and unreasonably difficult. Plus, this is usually what happens on exams:

© prawfsblawg.blogs.com

Yeah. Story of my life.

However, when you’re taking a break, did you know that there are more eco-friendly ways of being stress-free? Here are some tips!

  1. Instead of going out for a drive…ride your bike or go for a run. This may be something that many of you do anyway, but if you’re trying to go somewhere to get some stress relief or to find another place to study (like a coffee shop) find another form of transportation that will give you some fresh air and sunshine. Plus, you’ll get a tan. That’s always nice.
  2. Instead of snacking on junk…eat fresh, organic produce. Not only does this give you good energy, but you are also helping local farms and promoting the idea of not putting harsh chemicals into our farmlands. Sure, this might be a one-time thing…but we hope it becomes into a habit!
  3. Instead of cramming all night…divide up studying for a longer period of time. Not only will you be able to retain the information longer, you also won’t be wasting electricity by keeping your desk lamp on over your work like it’s being interrogated. Plus, more sleep. We all like more sleep.
  4. Instead of printing all your notes…keep a digital copy! This saves a lot of paper. Plus, you will look super cool studying at the park with your Kindle, TOMs, and aviators.

 

Got any more tips? Let us know in a comment below!

Action Tips to Influence Public Policy

Our lifestyle choices are a huge part of living sustainably and contributing our part to improving the environment, but public policy also holds great potential for improving our cities as a whole.

Whether you can vote or not, elected officials at the local, state, and federal level are still responsible for representing your interests. So let them hear from you if you are concerned about a local issue or want more progress by communicating your knowledge and opinions to them!

There are multiple ways to contact and influence your delegates. First, go online and find out who your representatives or school board members are. Many politicians also have social networking pages which can be powerful tools for staying active. A letter or call with a brief, polite, and personal message brief can also definitely get your point across effectively.

State how an issue will affect you using personal examples of how similar proposals have impacted your community in the past. The more genuine and passionate you are, the more effective your message will be. By using facts and citing credible sources, you can be more persuasive. Also attempt to offer alternatives solutions to the problem at hand. Finally, include your name and address so they can respond accordingly.

Another option is to serve as volunteer representatives of your city or on the youth council as an advocate. One of the best experiences I’ve had in high school was being in the Model Atlanta Regional Commission. It helped me realize just how significant citizens’ voices were in determining how final results were carried out.

Putting in your two cents can help politicians get valuable and novel suggestions on what the city can do to improve its youth oriented efforts. School board members especially would appreciate finding out how their policies are affecting the students they represent.

 

OnAir says: What issues do you really care about? How do you think teens should reach out to local leaders and officials with concerns? Let us know your ideas in the comments!

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!

5 Eco-Friendly Holi-dates

Now that the semester is winding down, you’ve finally got some time to ask out that classmate that you’ve been eyeballing over the past three months. I know, I know, you’ve got a crippling fear of rejection and/or you’re worried that he/she won’t like you. So instead of asking your crush out, you’ve put it off, and put it off by telling yourself that you’re too busy, or that you really need to focus on school right now.

But guess what? The time is now. And once you’ve gotten the courage to ask this person out, you don’t want to botch the whole thing by planning a terrible date. We don’t want that either.

And now, thanks to your favorite earth-friendly blog, it doesn’t have to happen. Why? Because we’ve put together 5 awesome date ideas that you (our favorite eco-warrior) and your date are sure to enjoy. Regardless of whether he/she is into saving the planet too.

1. Take a trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

If walking around at night through some of the most beautiful gardens in Georgia, in awe if thousands of brilliantly shining LEDs, doesn’t spell romance, then what does? It’s packed with those air-purifying trees, of course, AND it’s MARTA-accessible, which makes for a great air-friendly trek to romance. Not to mention it will probably be a bit cold, giving you a convenient excuse to snuggle up against your date. Tickets range from $17-20, so it’s not super cheap, but definitely worth the cash.

2. Ice skating in Centennial Olympic Park

There aren’t a whole lot of dates more fun (or potentially humiliating) than going ice skating. For the low price of $10 each, you can get an hour and a half of rink time and skate rental. Remember to dress warm and be prepared to fall. Added bonus: if you go at night, you can take in the Christmas lights around Centennial Olympic Park. Keep in mind that it’s an outdoor rink, so the ice doesn’t get zambonied every couple of hours (read: it can get rough).


3. Stone 
Mountain Park

There is a ton of stuff to do at Stone Mountain Park. You and your date can hike the mountain, visit Snow Mountain, walk the trails, or experience any number of the other attractions. We suggest a romantic mountain-top picnic sometime near sunset. You’ll just have to bust it down the mountain before dark.

4. Bike to your favorite park.

Bring your date to your favorite park. Fill up a backpack or two with a nice picnic, hop on your bikes, and go on a nice bike ride. (We don’t have to remind you why biking is eco-friendly, do we?) It’s a great way to get some exercise and experience nature together. If you both don’t have a bike, you could always walk. That’s a great opportunity to get to know each other even better. Once you get to the park, scope out a good picnic spot and have a nice meal together. Your date wants to know what you’re interested in, so why not bring them to one of your favorite places?

5. Take a trip to your local farmer’s market.

The Farmer’s Market is an incredibly cool place. They’ve got all kinds of locally grown produce, and a huge variety of responsibly produced goods. And remember: locally grown food is good for the air–because it doesn’t have to burn a bunch of gas traveling in from the farm. Take a trip (clean commuting, of course) to your local farmer’s market with your date, and bring back some supplies to make a delicious, home cooked meal. This is a great way to work together to create something that you both will enjoy and be proud of creating. Not to mention it’s a great chance to impress your date with your killer cooking (or recipe following) skills. I highly suggest the Dekalb Farmer’s Market because it’s MARTA accessible. But I hear great things about the Buford Highway Market, and there are tons of smaller, local markets to be found with a quick Google search.

So there you have it: 5 ways to totally impress that guy/girl that you’ve been daydreaming about all semester long. Now all you’ve got to do is go and ask them out!

 

Runnin’, Runnin’ and Runnin’, Runnin’

Over the past few months we’ve been doing our best to spread the clean air message. For all of you who have ditched your gas-guzzling cars for a chance to ride your bike, walk, skate, or carpool – we applaud you.

But we want to take things way back, to a time before the wheel. Before Fred Flinstone’s eco-friendly bedrock cruiser. What’s the healthiest, most eco-friendly way to get around? Foot power. We humans have been running for thousands of years.

Check out some of our favorite bi-pedal movie scenes.

Run, Forrest, Run – The iconic phrase that haunts all middle school track athletes. In this classic, Forrest Gump runs back and forth across the country in 3 years.

Rocky – He’s got the eye of the tiger, and he’s training hard for his big fight. In this scene, Rocky isn’t just running to get from Point A to Point B. He’s running to get to victory.

Chariots of Fire – These boys are going for a good old fashioned beach run in the opening credits of this movie. Nothing like a workout in slow motion.

Casino Royale –James Bond chases down a bomb-maker, parkour style, through a village in Madagascar. Epic

Indiana Jones – Sometimes we have to clean-commute ourselves right out of the path of those gargantuan boulders.

The Matrix – Trinity makes leaps and bounds, over buildings and through windows, in her escape from the evil agents.

Men in Black – NYPD all-star (played by Will Smith) chases down a super-speedy alien criminal.

Run Lola Run – It’s pretty much a whole movie about running…

Terminator 2 – Why are the bad guys always so fast? And persistent!

The Bourne Supremacy – Jason Bourne hits the beach for a morning workout, meanwhile his girlfriend finds out his secrets:

What are your favorites? Share them in the comments (and earn aircreds).

Running to Brook Run

What do dogs and skateboards have in common? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not the latest viral Youtube video. Still haven’t got it? It’s Brook Run Park! Brook Run Park in Dunwoody, GA is actually two separate parks. The first is a 4-acre dog park. The second is really cool skate park.

The Dog park is completely free. You can bring your buddy, and meet other loving pet owners such as yourself. There are trails and benches and you can bring toys. It is a great way to spend a Saturday and your furry friend will be forever grateful.

The skatepark is also a great way to spend time, and meet lots of cool people. It accommodates not only for skateboards, but also BMX bikers, and in-line skaters. It costs $3 for minors, and $4 if you are over 18. The crowd In the park is mostly teenagers, and everyone is very friendly.

I highly recommend visiting both websites to read all of the fun things the parks offers, as well as get your release forms for the skate park and read the reasonable regulations. Especially now that the weather is getting cooler, I’m sure you want to be inside with the heater cranked up but remember that you can stay warm, stay fit, and help keep our world cleaner if you get outside and get active!