Sunday, September 14, 2014

gardening by luck

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A few months back, I unpotted a gerbera daisy plant in order to make room for a new plant. The flower had died already and didn't seem to be coming back, but the leaves still seemed healthy, so I planted them in our front flowerbed without expecting too much.

Imagine my surprise when this beauty popped up within the past week! Gardening by luck seems to be how I roll (except that most of the time, my luck goes the other day! Ahem, cilantro and dill.)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

taking the walk

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I'm not much of a risk-taker by any means, but I can manage to push myself when it's necessary. After all, the tattoo on my wrist refers to a song about a tightrope walker, with my favorite lyric being, "On the tightrope, your goal is quite clear: Don't lose yourself in your fear."

Leaving anything after almost seven years is tough, no matter the stress, tears and crap you went through. It's still a long relationship by any standard. But it was time to move on.

I'm grateful to have stayed at my previous job for so long, and I'm proud of the green efforts I brought to it. There was always more I wanted to do, but the impact I was able to make still makes me proud. Hundreds of pounds of paper, cardboard, cans and plastic were recycled. So many sheets of paper were conserved by printing double-sided, or by not printing at all. Energy was conserved through setting my computer to sleep at night and by turning off as many lights not in use as possible.

As I settle into somewhere new, I'm getting a broader understanding of recycling in a different environment. There's no recycling bin picked up weekly, but there's a dedicated recycling bin next to the printer that the department handles. I took a plastic storage bin I already owned (and used to move in my desk accessories) and made it my personal desk recycling bin.

There's a greater amount of disposable coffee cups, plates and forks than I'd like, so I brought my own silverware and coffee mug for my desk, along with a towel. (I'm hunting for a plate and bowl to keep at my desk!) I've also been extra diligent to bring a Kanteen full of water every day, along with snacks in reusable containers (instead of single-serve snack bags).

I needed a pen cup, but instead of ordering one, I found a spare mason jar in my cabinet and gave it a cheerful blue coat of spray paint!

One thing I love is some of the office lights being on a motion sensor. If you're out of your office or a room for a certain period of time, the light automatically turns off until you walk back in again. Saving energy without having to do any work!

While being overwhelming, it's been inspiring and invigorating to start anew. I'm broadening my experiences, and I've also been getting new ideas for my blog and content. There's so much I want to do and write about, and get further involved in the green scene.

Today is the two-year anniversary of the official Eco Cajun relaunch, and I'm so thankful for everyone who reads my posts, follows me on Twitter, likes me on Facebook and follows me on Instagram. Y'all are so great, and y'all keep me going when I'm not feeling very wordy!

So here's to at least another two years of being Eco, being Cajun and rambling too much!

Friday, September 5, 2014

green celebrities

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Celebrities are not always known for the good things they do, but there is a great group of celebrities who have made headlines for their green efforts.

Instead of trying to share the most comprehensive list of eco-friendly celebrities, I'll focus on a select few (some of my favorites!) and what they're most known for.

Jack Johnson is one of my favorite eco-friendly musicians. A section of his website is dedicated to his green efforts on tour and with his All At Once campaign. Jack lives in Hawaii, and his record label, Brushfire Records, is headquartered in a renovated green building, including a number of innovative features to keep the environmental impact low, such as solar panels providing all power for the offices and studio, interior and exterior wall insulation made from 100% post-consumer waste (cotton from blue jean scraps), a Duro-Last green roof and recycled shingles. The past few Jack Johnson albums were recorded with solar power!

The Dave Matthews Band works in partnership with Reverb to put on the Bama Green Project. Created by the Dave Matthews Band, REVERB and IZSTYLE, the Bama Green Project encompasses all of the environmental efforts of the band while on the road, in the studio or at home. In addition, the Bama Green Project educates DMB fans around the world about how to take simple and positive environmental actions. Dave also rides his bike while on tour and made headlines last year when he was stranded before a show with a flat tire, and got a ride to the venue with a fan.

Brad Pitt has focused some of his green efforts close to home, with his Make It Right Foundation in New Orleans. Following Hurricane Katrina, the Make It Right Foundation worked to build eco-friendly homes in the Lower Ninth Ward. Over 100 homes were certified LEED Platinum, the highest level of green building certification by the US Green Building Council.

Ian Somerhalder heads up the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, which focuses on animal welfare and the environment as interconnected parts the earth. A couple of years ago, he came to Lafayette as the emcee for Strut Your Mutt, an event that helped raise money for homeless animals in Acadiana. Yes, I missed it. Yes, I'm still a little mad about it. His foundation's environment work helps promote different issues, such as solar energy, bees, native plants in your garden and composting.

Ed Begley, Jr. is one of my favorite celebrity environmentalists. A few years back, he had a show on Planet Green called Living With Ed, featuring his wife Rachelle. I remember episodes showing their green home renovations, and they installed solar tubes in the ceiling for light and wind turbines for energy. Ed is someone who very much practices what he preaches.

Alicia Silverstone is known for her vegan diet and cookbook. Part of her reasons for her vegan lifestyle include health improvements and environmental concerns. A section of her blog, The Kind Life, focuses on Green Life. Alicia brings a refreshing view to environmentalism and ties it in to her vegan lifestyle beliefs. Her cookbook helps introduce newcomers to veganism and gives steps on easing the transition.

Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation focuses on environmental and humanitarian issues, including wildlife preservation, water access and climate change. He's also known for driving eco-friendly cars, like the Fisker Karma electric vehicle.

Natalie Portman is another famous (and gorgeous) vegan. She's a big supporter of animal rights, which inspired her to design a line of vegan footwear a few years back. It seems as though the brand, Te Casan, is out of business these days, unfortunately. She also had a vegan wedding a couple years back in 2012, where the dinner menu was all vegan and guests received packets of wildflower seeds as thank-you gifts.

Who is your favorite eco-friendly celebrity?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

no excuses!

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Despite a very rainy Saturday, UL's first home game was a blast. The man and I donned our rain jackets (his was school colors, mine made it feel like Christmas), got on our bikes and headed toward Cajun Field.

I was especially interested to check out the hundreds of recycling bins in action. I had brought my drink in an insulated Klean Kanteen (and it stayed wonderfully cold), but still had the chance to throw away some recyclables, thanks to a free beer and McCafe drink samples.

We stopped by one of the RV spots before the game, and I was delighted to see the owners bringing a full bag to their spot's recycling bin. I didn't even have to pester them!

But of course, the bad seemed to outweigh the good. I still saw recyclables being thrown in the trash, but moreso, I saw tons of trash and recycling on the ground. I compulsively picked up some recycling that I passed by, and I could have easily spent an hour or so walking around picking up much more. With so many recycling bins and trashcans around, it was extra frustrating to see so much litter everywhere, especially sitting in rainwater puddles. 

This pile of litter is literally right outside a trash can. Not in it - OUTSIDE IT. This photo sparked some good comments over on Facebook about how it's just unacceptable. I know that you'll never be able to convince everyone that recycling and proper waste disposal is simply the right way, but it should be common sense to not litter! It doesn't take any extra effort to go to a recycling bin or trashcan and throw away whatever you have, compared to dropping it on the ground as you walk. 

But I know that so many people just don't give a crap, and that's the problem. You SHOULD give a crap! Make Lafayette, or anywhere, a better place. Don't trash it! Literally all you need to do is throw something away where it goes - whether a trash can or recycling bin. If you don't see one around, hold your stuff until you do. Unfortunately, tailgating at Cajun Field is the only place so far where there's an equal number of recycling bins as trashcans around Lafayette. Let's change that and make it the norm as well! One for one.

We're one game down for the season, which means there are more chances to improve on game day recycling! LESS LITTER! UL's next home game is this Saturday - let's see how well we can do!

Once the rain finally stopped during the second quarter, the sunset was incredible! Saturday nights at Cajun Field are always wonderful, but when nature gives you beautiful sunsets, it's just a little more magical!

Friday, August 29, 2014


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In case you missed it, get tips on sustainable tailgating in this week's blog post!

Happy football season!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

recycling touchdowns and sustainable tailgating

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Office of Sustainability has been busy making an impact on campus. And combined with the recent upgrades to Cajun Field in time for the 2014 football season, recycling is now readily available for tailgaters and football fans! (And you can bet that I cheered when passing by Cajun Field this week and seeing the perimeter lined with tons of trash cans and recycling bins! FINALLY!)

Recycling and waste bins will be available at every (yes, EVERY) tailgating spot and in other high-traffic areas. Tailgating spots will have green recycling bins and blue trash bins. Inside the stadium, recycling materials go into red containers, while trash is collected in black bins.

UL Lafayette will determine the volume collected during home games this season to compete in the Game Day Challenge, a nationwide college recycling contest. So, the more you recycle, the better UL will do in the competition!

Now, on to tailgate time! I cannot WAIT to get out to Cajun Field before the game! Tailgating is one of my favorite parts of football. You always see tons of friends, there's so much good food (and everything smells so good!), everyone is wearing the same two colors, and the festive spirit in the air can't be beat. 

There are many ways can you be more sustainable on game day, no matter which school you're cheering for.

  • Skip driving your car. Parking is already a hassle, so carpool with others, ride your bike or arrange to get dropped off. My boyfriend and I love riding our bikes because it's easier and we can park closer to the stadium. 
  • Don't use styrofoam cups for your drinks! They are not recyclable and not biodegradable. Bring a plastic cup, or a stainless steel bottle (insulated keeps beer cold for a long time, just saying). Beer cans are recyclable and safer than bottles. 
  • Pack tailgating food in reusable containers instead of disposable.
  • Bring napkins and paper towels made with recycled materials
  • Choose disposable plates/silverware made with recycled materials. (Or go for compostable, plant-based party plates from Susty Party. I LOVE this red party pack for UL!)
  • Don't litter! Whether inside or outside the stadium, put trash where it belongs. And on the ground is NOT where it belongs.
Items that go in recycling: aluminum, paper (as long as it's not wet), plastic and cardboard. 

Items that don't go in recycling: food, styrofoam, plastic bags, wood, bottle caps, disposable plates/silverware.

Glass is sometimes accepted and sometimes not; it depends on who is providing recycling services. But for tailgating purposes, it's best not to have glass at all. If it breaks it can cause injuries or flat tires.

So, all you UL fans…don't forget to wear red on Friday for the Cajuns!

And for any college football fan, tailgate sustainably! FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

motivation and recharging

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Don't you hate when time seems to run away from you? The end of summer is already creeping up, and I sometimes wonder where it all went. Between a very hectic, scatterbrained summer at work, general feeling like poop sometimes, and getting a lot of things done that needed to be done, I feel a bit disconnected from my environmentalism goals and habits.

Granted, I still make sure to recycle everything I can, and I conserve energy like crazy. But I feel like there's more I should be doing, and I need to refocus to get myself back in the game. This summer has been spent de-hotmessing myself, and I'm starting to feel like I'm achieving that goal, so now it's time to move back to being greener. There are so many things still for me to do and write about, and I am going to get there!

I drink green tea every morning instead of coffee. I felt the beginnings of a scratchy throat this week, so I added some local honey to my tea, and included a drop of doTERRA lemon essential oil. It might be the best tea I've ever made, and now it's going to be my morning standard! I'm also excited to try essential oils as alternative therapy and plan to share my journey with y'all!

I've felt like my weekends have become full of staying home and doing housework. I do enjoy lounging around with my little family, especially after a long week, and I love the feeling of completing housework and having a clean house, dishes and clothes, but I feel a little old and boring when it's all I have to do. This morning I went out for coffee with a friend, and it felt like a good mental recharging. It helped to motivate me a bit more in doing new things for the blog. I might have to make Sunday morning coffee a more regular event. (I also can't wait for the weather to be more bearable around here so I can have Sunday morning coffee in the backyard!)

Speaking of recharging: floating in a pool for a couple hours with a beer on a hot afternoon. Thumbs up.

A friend recently moved into a new home and found a basket full of bath products that had been left behind. He offered them to me, so I rummaged through and salvaged the bottles (and a couple candles!) that were still good. Now we're well-stocked for when guests come, and I had a relaxing bath tonight!

Big things are happening soon, and I'm ready to strap in and go for the ride!