Monday, April 27, 2015

Post-Festival International Blues

Welp, the five-day staycation is over and the real world has blown back in like a category 1 hurricane. My feet are slowly recovering, and my house needs some serious TLC.

Did you make it out to Festival International? Did you geaux green?

We recycled Festival cups and saved a bunch to reuse; I reused a plastic fork until it fell on the ground and then I recycled it; we used my clean cloth napkin as a sweat rag on the last day; I went for the refillable daiquiri cup so I could cut down on the amount of new cups to have to recycle; I found myself picking up litter and throwing it in the appropriate bin; we rode our bikes all five days; and I supported local vendors.

Project Front Yard conducted two trash mobs over the weekend, helping to pick up all the litter left around.

Be the Y in Lafayette. Y? Because you can make a difference!

All decked out in its Festival outfit.

The recycling volunteers and crews did a great job of emptying the bins once they got full. It was so great to see the bins being used, although I know there was a crazy amount of non-recyclable stuff in them...mostly styrofoam. If only we could work on the vendors to serve food in a styrofoam alternative!


The downtown parklet is still kicking, and it's been refreshed with some new plants and new sunny yellow umbrellas. It provided a great vantage point for the band on the first evening.


 The parking garage top level provided a unique vantage point to Scene Fais Do Do and the parklet.

The handy dandy backpack. Made from recycled cotton, this Baggu bag worked out perfectly. Added my own patches for some uniqueness, and it literally makes this the Eco Cajun backpack. Packed with my reusable water bottle and travel fork.

You know, the more you bike and walk, the more fried goodness you can eat!

Watching my frands Sean Bruce and Fawn Larson! I remember when Sean first played Festival five years ago...on the sidewalk in front of a bar. And now he's playing the big stages!

You can do more than just recycle Mardi Gras beads for reuse in future parades...they also make a great craft material. New Orleans' UP Unique Products makes lanterns, bowls and other home decor pieces by melting beads down.

At least there was really only one day of brutal Louisiana heat and sunshine...napkins work out great to keep the sweat out of your eyes.

Reusing the drink cartons as a makeshift bridge over the deep mud. It's repurposing, or coonass ingenuity! 

These guys walked around Festival all weekend, and they were made with recycled materials! Mrs.' hair on the left is made with soft drink cans. Her dress is made with rice bags. Mr.'s hat is made with Whole Foods paper bags. His jacket is newspaper.

By 5:30 on Saturday afternoon, you'd never have known it was pouring down rain just five hours earlier.

Heavy rain and cardboard trash bins may not be the best combination...

Until next Festival...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day | A Photo Essay

Happy Earth Day, y'all! While so many treehuggers joke that "every day is Earth Day", it's fun to have a day to just celebrate our planet and all it does for us.

Today, I'll share some photos from my Earth Month so far instead of babbling on for way too long.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bugs and Chemicals Be Gone

Mosquitoes are a common and serious problem in warmer, humid areas. If you're in Louisiana, you're no stranger to the annoying things. They tend to breed in warm, standing water...and you can find that anywhere right after a big rain, just like the past week of rain we've had.

Getting bitten by a mosquito is more than just itchy and annoying - it can make you sick. West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and though it's rare, it can kill. 

It's easy to grab a can of bug spray to help protect yourself from getting mosquito or other bug bites. But even that isn't the best idea. DEET is a common chemical found in most insect repellents, and its function is to mask your own scent in order to repel insects. While the EPA says the amounts aren't enough to hurt you, it still has poisonous effects. The National Institute of Health notes that people who use very high concentrations of DEET on their skin over a long period of time, such as military personnel or game wardens, can face more severe skin reactions that include blisters, burning and permanent scars of. Other symptoms associated with long-term use of over 50% concentrations of DEET include insomnia and mood changes. If you swallow a large amount, you could experience low blood pressure and a low heart rate, but the most serious complication of DEET ingestion is neurological damage.

While common bug sprays don't have that high a concentration of DEET, it's still a toxic chemical that you're spraying onto your skin, where it's then absorbed into your body. And that's not healthy or green!

So, what are the alternatives?

Monday, April 20, 2015

geaux green! | eco cajun's guide to festival international

Festival International Week is upon us! And coincidentally, this year it kicks off on Earth Day! All the more reason to go green this weekend.

My fiance and I are Festival fanatics, and it'll be our fourth year spending the whole final weekend of April together in downtown Lafayette, checking out new bands, hanging out with friends, eating really good food, and just enjoying the spirit and the culture of our home. We're also as eco-friendly as we can be, from being prepared and packing right to choosing better transportation.

Two years ago, I created the Eco Cajun Guide to Festival, and this year it's back and better than before!

Festival International supports and encourages all efforts to keep the area clean both before, and most importantly, after Festival has ended with the goal of leaving the area as clean as possible.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

live. love. local.

The push for supporting more local businesses has grown rapidly over the years. Eat Lafayette, Shop Lafayette, Small Business Saturday, etc. What's all the fuss about?

Supporting local businesses, both small and large, benefits the local economy and has a bigger impact on it than chain stores do. More of your money will stay local, especially if you support businesses that buy their goods and services from OTHER local companies. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

burn cleaner, burn brighter

I love candles. Like, LOVE them. I have an assortment for every season and rotate them out with a giddy look on my face.

In fact, I just cleaned the wax out of about 10 finished candles this past weekend so I can save the jars to use again. (And most likely, now that I've learned some tricks from Syrup Row, I'll be making a few of my own candles for my home.) (If you're my fiance...I promise I won't hoard the jars too long in the house!)

Did you know that not all candles are created equal? As Syrup Row demonstrates, there's a greener kind of candle, and a very big factor in a candle's sustainability is what type of wax you burn.

Monday, April 13, 2015

syrup row | local business spotlight

A lot of times, the people you know are the ones who help you meet other awesome people. Thanks to my fiance and a bunch of mutual friends, I met Shaylyn a couple years ago. During Mardi Gras this year, we got to talking and I learned she's the entrepreneur behind Syrup Row, a local candle venture. Shaylyn makes her candles as eco-friendly as possible, and I knew I had to feature her on Eco Cajun.

Plus, I really wanted to watch her make some candles!

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