When I moved to Atlanta three years ago, I didn’t see a city resembling the one I came from.  Knoxville, TN was small, bike friendly and environmentally conscious.  Atlanta was large, congested and did not seem eager to make room for their resident cyclists. I was disheartened.  But today, I am happy to be one of Atlanta’s many cyclists overwhelmed by improvements the city has made. We’re on the right track.

There’s so much that goes into why I bike to work. It’s difficult to decide where to begin. As an undergrad at UT Knoxville, my primary means of getting to work and around campus were by walking or biking.  During my junior year I got to take part in some event coordination through the Tennessee Clean Water Network (TCWN).  While I wasn’t working, I was studying logistics at the business school.  The ideas instilled in me academically, and further molded by the philanthropic initiatives spearheaded by Renee Hoyos at TCWN, crafted a commuter concerned with efficiency, economic decision making and how all of these things play out in our environment.

Biking as a commute option not only whips you into shape, but saves you a ton of money!  It also keeps you away from the stress of traffic. While all is well for your waist line, wallet and worries, you should also feel good about doing your part for the environment. If you care about any of those points then there is plenty for you to gain from a cleaner commute.

According to The Clean Air Campaign’s commute data, I have saved nearly $800 dollars on fuel alone over the past three years. But what’s even less pleasant for a commuter than fuel costs is paying to park.  Had I chosen to drive myself into the office every day, I would have spent $3,240 to park at my company’s garage. Add that number to my fuel savings and we’re just north of $4,000.

If saving money doesn’t do it alone, then please know that the impact our cars have on the environment is HEAVY.  I appreciate The Clean Air Campaign for stepping up and further incenting commuters to choose more sustainable modes, but it would be nice if people just cared more.

Renee Hoyos, of TCWN helped me see the impact that we have on our environment while I worded with her to protect Tennessee’s water ways. She even managed to make me feel guilty for mountain biking after a storm. Apparently the tires do more damage after it rains than any other time. Plus, the additional sediment run off is bad news for the fish that keep our mosquitoes at bay. The point being, she helped me understand that the decisions we make impact others.  We may not be confronted by who or what we harm day and in and day out, but there are consequences we should be aware of.

Robert Crocker works for Georgia-Pacific.

Governor Nathan Deal is helping The Clean Air Campaign spread its message about taking meaningful action for a healthier Georgia during Air Quality Awareness, taking place April 28 - May 4, 2014.   

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signs 2014 Air Quality Awareness Week proclamation.  Pictured from L-R: Brian Carr, Director of Communications, The Clean Air Campaign; Tedra Cheatham, Executive Director, The Clean Air Campaign; Governor Nathan Deal; Mike Williams, Director of Employer Services, The Clean Air Campaign

The state has much to celebrate about the improving quality of the air we all breathe, thanks to advances in technology, regulatory controls and voluntary programs like those administered by The Clean Air Campaign.  We're thankful for the 400,000 commuters and 1,600 employers in metro Atlanta that are using Georgia Commute Options programs.  We're inspired by the 400+ schools in Georgia that are participating in Clean Air Schools programs.  We're grateful for the productive relationships that have been cultivated with transportation, sustainability, economic development and education partners.  Over the past decade, air quality has improved dramatically.

But there is still more work to be done, as young people, asthmatics, the elderly and others with respiratory illness need everyone's help to breathe easier.  Choosing alternatives to driving alone and lending your voice to the policy discussion about Georgia's long-term transportation needs are two important ways you can make a difference ... during Air Quality Awareness Week and every week.

The “Going Green” movement beginnings are hard to determine – was it in the 1970s when the National Environmental Act, the Clean Air Act and the founding of Earth Day were initiated? Or was it in the 1990s when groups like PETA, Earth First and ELF began getting media attention. Or has it been more recent with the gas shortages, catastrophic weather, and debate of climate change? No matter when the movement began, it’s here and prevalent around the world.

  • Paris has taken urban sustainability to the next level with their new team of municipal workers: sheep. Instead of investing in another fleet of gas-guzzling lawnmowers, the city acquired four large sheep to take care of its green spaces.
  • An Amsterdam-based company developed a special garbage bag for items that are still usable. The Goedzak, meaning both ‘good bag’ and ‘do-gooder’ in Dutch, is a way to give products a second chance and stimulate sustainable behavior. So when people are getting their trash ready for garbage pick-up, they just throw still usable items that have no value to them anymore into the Goedzaks so passer-bys can take them.
  • Cermak Road in Chicago has been dubbed “the greenest street in America,” as the street uses a pavement that reduces air pollution and was upgraded using various green technologies.
  • And of course we have Georgia Commute Options—free services to help improve how you get to and from work. By trying an alternative to driving alone, like carpooling, vanpooling, riding transit, biking or walking to work, you’ll get more out of every mile. You’ll save money, reduce stress, have time to work and relax while someone else drives, and for every mile we aren’t driving alone, a pound of pollution won’t be released into the air we all breathe.

Check out GaCommuteOptions.com for alternatives to driving alone to and from work. And stop by CleanAirCampaign.org to get the latest in air quality and green activities around the state.

Jenny Schultz is the Communications Specialist with The Clean Air Campaign, one of several organizations in the Atlanta region that deliver Georgia Commute Options programs and services in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation. Jenny commutes by MARTA rail and currently spends her time on the train reading "Grimms' Fairy Tales."

National Weatherperson's Day is observed on February 5th. It recognizes individuals in the fields of meteorology, weather forecasting, and broadcast meteorology. This week, The Clean Air Campaign will be featuring local meteorologists in recognition of National Weatherperson's Day.

My path to becoming a meteorologist may have begun without me really knowing it. When I was young, I was always interested in math and science, but never had a particular interest in weather. Instead, my passion was the outdoors. Fishing, hunting and outdoor sports was what I was crazy about from an early age. Anyone who likes to spend time outdoors naturally comes to marvel at the weather as well as respect, and to some degree understand its nuances. Looking back I think it was my time spent outdoors as a child that drove my curiosity about the weather and the need to know more as I grew older.

I first thought about becoming a meteorologist after my first year in college. I initially went to Kent State University in Ohio to major in architecture. I have always loved architecture, and still do, but after taking an introductory course in meteorology I fell in love with weather more. Plus, that was in 1982 and the prospects for a career in architecture and building in general were bleak to say the least. After talking to my college counselor I determined that meteorology was what I wanted to do. There were very few universities offering meteorology at the time, but one of the best was in my home state and that was Penn State. I applied, was accepted, and spent the next three years getting my degree in meteorology.

My first job out of college was working with a bunch of fellow Penn State alums at a private forecasting firm in Pittsburgh called Air Science Consultants. We forecasted for various industry and media outlets, one of which was a local TV station. I knew I wanted to give TV a shot so they encouraged me to give it a try. I listened and sent a tape that I had made in college to a TV consultant and the next thing you know I had my first TV job in Sioux City, Ia. I spent about eight months there, followed by stops in Richmond, Va., Pittsburgh, Pa., Raleigh-Durham, NC. and most recently Atlanta.

Every stop along the way has had its own unique challenges, but one thing stays the same. When you are a broadcast meteorologist people depend on you to warn them in times of bad weather and help them in their daily planning. To know that people depend on you, and to know that you have built a trust in the community is a very gratifying thing, and that is what I think keeps me going after 27 years of broadcasting the weather on TV.

Jeff Hill of FOX 5 has more than a decade of experience in Atlanta. Following graduation from Penn State, Jeff's meteorological career began at KCAU in Sioux City, Iowa. From there he ventured to WWBT in Richmond, Virginia then to WTAE in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Jeff returned to the south making a stop at WTVD in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina before reaching Atlanta. Jeff is a member of the American Meteorological Society and was awarded the AMS Seal in 1988.

National Weatherperson's Day is observed today, February 5th. It recognizes individuals in the fields of meteorology, weather forecasting, and broadcast meteorology. This week, The Clean Air Campaign will be featuring local meteorologists in recognition of National Weatherperson's Day.

I grew up in Atlanta fascinated by what I saw on television news. I was curious about the people, the product, and how it got from the TV station to that little box that sat in our den. When I was around 6 or 7 years old, I was at the grocery store with my mom. I wasn't big enough to play football at that time, but I was wearing a football jersey. The jersey had my name on the back thanks to my mom and some iron-on letters. As I was pushing a shopping cart down the aisle, a man quickly walked by, tapped me on the shoulder and said "Hi, Chris. How are you?" I looked up at this man with bright white hair who tapped me and I was shocked. It was Guy Sharpe. Guy was the legendary weatherman I grew up watching. I couldn't believe that my favorite weatherman was at the grocery store and HE KNEW MY NAME! After he walked by, I looked at my mom and said, "See mom, I told you he could see us in our den while we are watching him on TV." I thought that's how he knew my name. My mom finally reminded me that my name was ironed on to the back of my jersey!

That exponentially grew my interest in television news. In sixth grade, I had to do a career day project. My teacher challenged us to think of a career that we would enjoy doing for the rest of our lives. I thought it was ridiculous for a 6th grader to even have to think about a job. I accepted her challenge and decided to do my project on television news. We had to call someone in our chosen field and interview them about their job. My favorite anchor at that time was Chuck Moore. I called the TV station and asked to speak with him so I could ask him some questions. I never dreamed that I would actually get through to him. I was once again amazed when Chuck Moore answered the phone and actually answered questions from a little 6th grade kid. I did my project and made an A.

Those two encounters were very memorable events that guided me into this profession. I went to UGA and majored in broadcast news thinking that I would be a reporter or anchor. I ended up doing three internships in college and finished my four year degree in three years and one quarter. I couldn't wait for TV stations to be knocking down my doors to hire me. I ended up unemployed for six months after I graduated early from college. I finally got an opportunity to work at a radio station in Macon and less than a year later, there was an opening for a reporter and weekend weather anchor at the dominant TV station in Macon, WMAZ-TV. I jumped at the chance, even though I had never done TV weather. I was hired for the job.

After covering murders, house fires and city council meetings during the week, I grew to enjoy the weather part of the job more. I was diving in to learn all I could about weather forecasting and how to present it effectively. It soon became my passion. The reporting part of the job took a back seat. I realized if I was going to continue doing weather, I needed to have the education, too. I completed my meteorological education through Mississippi State University.

After working for three and a half years at WMAZ-TV in Macon, my dream came true to actually work in my hometown of Atlanta in 1991. I was hired to work with Johnny Beckman, another legend who I watched while growing up. I couldn't believe I got to work with him day to day preparing his graphics and presentation for the weathercast on 11Alive News! I learned so much from him about forecasting and presenting the weather. Throughout the years, I transitioned from being "Johnny's Map Boy" to working weekend mornings, followed by weekend evenings. I was able to get the AMS Seal of Approval and the upgraded Certified Broadcast Meteorologist designation from the American Meteorological Society. Now I do both shifts on weekends.

I'm coming up on my 23rd anniversary at 11Alive and I love having the responsibility and privilege to deliver important information every day that affects everyone's lives. Whether it's a nice sunny day, a winter weather event or a tornado outbreak, there is no place I would rather be than in the 11Alive studio delivering up to date weather information to our viewers.

You want to know the coolest part about this story? I actually had the opportunity to work with Guy and Chuck at 11Alive before they retired!"

Chris Holcomb is the weekend meteorologist on 11Alive/WATL. You can see him mornings and evenings on weekends and filling in for Chesley McNeil during the week. In 2007, Chris received the upgraded "Certified Broadcast Meteorologist" designation from the American Meteorological Society. Before that, Chris held the AMS Seal of Approval since 1997. Chris resides in Gwinnett County with his wife, son and daughter.

National Weatherperson's Day will be observed on February 5th. It recognizes individuals in the fields of meteorology, weather forecasting, and broadcast meteorology. This week, The Clean Air Campaign will be featuring local meteorologists in recognition of National Weatherperson's Day.

I am the “new kid on the block”, here on Atlanta television. I just recently moved up from Panama City Beach, Fla. to take on more of an “out in the elements” meteorologist role. So far, the weather in Georgia has not disappointed. Between snow, ice and severe storms, everything is taking shape in my job just as I envisioned.

I got my start in weather in a little different fashion than most. Growing up on the beach in Florida, my love for weather grew from tracking hurricanes and the surf they would bring to my beach. But, it wasn’t until my first year in college that I realized that this is what I wanted to do with my life. For a short time, I pondered a meteorologist route with the U.S. Navy. In the end, I pursued a journalism degree at the University of Florida and then my master’s degree in meteorology at Mississippi State.

My first real-world job was in Meridian, Miss. During my first week on-air, I found myself doing three straight hours of reporting on a tornado outbreak across my viewing area. My next professional stop took me to Mobile, Ala. where I came face-to-face with Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina in back to back years. After eight years in Mobile, I moved a little more east along the beach to the Florida panhandle.

I’ve been doing broadcast meteorology now for close to 20 years, and I just can’t imagine doing anything else. Coming to work, creating graphics, making a forecast and finding out what curve balls Mother Nature will throw at you. In this profession, each weather day truly is a different. I think that’s why I love it. It keeps you on your toes and thinking at all times.

Make sure to check me out on CBS Atlanta, weeknights between 4pm and 6pm and then on Saturday from 7am to 9am. And, look for me in your neighborhood chasing down the next severe storm!

CBS Atlanta’s Jim Loznicka is an AMS "Certified Broadcast Meteorologist", with more than 17 years of experience forecasting a wide-range of weather in the southeast.

Jim is very passionate about keeping viewers safe through social media outreach. So, be sure to "Like" his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter.

National Weatherperson's Day will be observed on February 5th. It recognizes individuals in the fields of meteorology, weather forecasting, and broadcast meteorology. This week, The Clean Air Campaign will be featuring local meteorologists in recognition of National Weatherperson's Day.

On National Weatherperson’s Day I was honored to be asked to write this guest blog about why and how I became a meteorologist.

Although I have always been interested in science and fascinated by weather, I didn’t consider it as a career option until high school. As a teenage surfer in Florida I studied the weather forecast looking to find any reason to hope waves were coming. Nearly all the weather information I got came from TV, this was in the 1980s, before the internet. From studying the weather forecasts came the idea that I could take something I enjoyed and make it a career. I clearly remember watching a meteorologist on TV and saying to myself, “I could do that, and how hard can that be?”

I didn’t know it then, but it turns out it’s harder than it looks. A meteorology degree is difficult. It involves years of math, physics, fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. I earned a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from Florida State and I ended up with a minor in math just from the prerequisites I had to take.

TV broadcasting, like anything, looks easy if you’re watching someone who is good at it. Actually doing it well takes a lot of practice and repetition. Try talking unscripted for three minutes without stopping while telling an interesting weather story. It doesn’t come naturally for most people, including me. Starting out, beginner’s nerves complicate things, but that goes away. Learning how to point at a chromakey wall with no “real” map feels backwards, like working in a mirror. That becomes second nature after a while, but certainly not at first!

I’m now 20 years into a career that has taken me to several different TV markets, that last eight here at WSB-TV in Atlanta. Over the past two decades the technology and tools have improved, but I still enjoy the challenge that forecasting brings. Although I like delivering the forecast anytime, I take special pride in bringing the best possible information during severe and life-threatening weather. I approach my job with a servant’s attitude, understanding I must provide the information my viewer’s need. I am always appreciative that people choose to get their forecast from me and take time out of their day to watch on TV, send an email or interact through social media. It’s something I never take for granted and work to earn every day. Thanks for watching!

AMS Certified Meteorologist Brad Nitz joined WSB-TV in January 2006. His forecasts can be seen every Saturday and Sunday morning, noon, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and whenever severe weather breaks. Brad and his wife Aimee, a Roswell native, live in East Cobb with their two daughters.

In collaboration with the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, Georgia Gives Day invited Georgians to support organizations and causes in our own backyard that are a part of our lives.

During Georgia Gives Day on November 13th, Georgians were asked to give back directly to the causes they care the most about. Over the 24 hours of online charitable contributions, $1,448,233 was given, nearly twice last year’s total. The 2013 goal was passing the million dollar mark, which was hit around 4pm.

The Clean Air Campaign works to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion in our state by reaching people through education, programs, and services that make the connection between individual actions and a healthier environment. We asked you to help continue our cause, and you gave back--The Clean Air Campaign raised $5,066 in donations!

Thank you to those who supported The Clean Air Campaign, as well as other not-for-profit organizations throughout the state of the Georgia. Your support and encouragement allows us to continue our goal for less traffic and cleaner air.

Jenny Schultz is the Communications Specialist with The Clean Air Campaign, one of several organizations in the Atlanta region that deliver Georgia Commute Options programs and services in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation. Jenny commutes by MARTA rail and currently spends her time on the train reading "The Righteous Mind." 

Global climate change is a huge, controversial issue, one that, according to Wikipedia, is caused by any combination of oceanic processes, variations in solar radiation, plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions, and human-induced alternations to the nature world. Cities all over the world are tackling this environmental challenge and reaping the rewards for their citizens. CDP has recently published a report. Wealthier, Healthier Cities, which shows cities that implement energy efficient policies have also seen an increase in financial savings and a reduction in health costs for their residents.

Of the 110 cities researched in this report, 55% are utilizing emissions reductions programs to decrease CO2 emissions, improve air quality, and progressing public health through growing local biking and walking behavior.

Here in the metro Atlanta region, we are also promoting more sustainable practices. To become more involved with biking, one can join The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition or take a ride on The Atlanta BeltLine. Look Up Atlanta is a great resource to find out what environmental campaigns are happening in your community and how you can become involved. Furthermore, Georgia Commute Options has resources to help one find a greener commute that will save money and improve the air we all breathe. 

Sarah Wilgus is a Commuter Services Coordinator for the 85N team at The Clean Air Campaign. As a MARTA rider, she uses her commute time to do schoolwork and listen to “Spotify.”

I woke abruptly at 7AM to the sound of what I imagined to be a gang of enormous killer crickets coming to attack me. It took me a few seconds to realize it was just my iPhone which I had set to what I thought would be a relaxing sound for my alarm - crickets. This was approximately 2 hours earlier than I normally wake up on a Saturday. Even my dog was confused, as he stirred from his snoring symphony to give me and my phone a dirty side look. I did a tuck and roll out of bed and zombie walked to the shower. As I rubbed sleep out of my eyes I remembered it was our team volunteer outing day!

It was a beautiful sunny September morning with a slight hint of fall in the air. I met about 20 of my colleagues and 2 dozen delicious Krispy Kreme donuts at the Angier Springs entrance to the Atlanta BeltLine trail. Our mission was to plant wildflowers and grass plugs along a segment of the trail just south of the skate park. For those who are not familiar, The Atlanta BeltLine is a combination of rail, trail, greenspace and art. It utilizes an existing 22-mile historic rail corridor that encircles the City of Atlanta. When it is finished, it will provide pedestrian friendly rail transit and 33 miles of multiuse trails. All in all, it is an innovative idea conceived by a Georgia Tech student Ryan Gravel and will ultimately connect 45 intown neighborhoods in a sustainable and intelligent way.

Our group, The Clean Air Campaign, was excited to work with not only the Atlanta BeltLine partnership but also with Trees Atlanta, a nationally recognized citizens group that protects and improves Atlanta’s urban forest by planting, conserving, and educating. Both of these local groups work hand in hand with our organization’s focus – reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality. It was an easy connection to make and even easier to coordinate.

Trees Atlanta provided our team with all of the equipment and supplies that we would need to get the job done. This included gloves, gardening tools, plants and more. They gave us a quick tutorial of the types of flowers we were planting, the correct way to measure the distance between the plants and in general how to get them in the ground safely. They made it easy for us to feel successful with our mission and this helped us leave with a great sense of satisfaction of a job well done.

All in all, it was a great day and our group was able to contribute to our community. It was well worth missing those couple of extra hours of sleep in the morning and the annoyed look I got from my dog.

Beth Ament is the Employer Services Team Manager at The Clean Air Campaign. She is the Sustainability Subject Matter Expert and also helps manage the outreach team as they deliver Georgia Commute Options programs and services in the Atlanta Region. A frequent teleworker and MARTA rail rider, Beth uses her spare time teaching yoga and hiking with her dog.

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