Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

pumpkin display: photo friday


I got to celebrate the first day of fall in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and it was beautifully appropriate! Crisp weather, a Saints win (finally!), outdoor farmer's markets and pumpkin displays!

Can I go back now?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

autumn lust

Autumn, it's about time you showed up. Although this summer has been more rainy than others, keeping the temperatures from reaching a billion degrees, I'm ready to transition to fall colors. It's almost October, my favorite month!

I'm enchanted with crisp evenings, adding a scarf to every single outfit, wearing my dipped leaf necklaces, wearing tights and seeing the few leaves in Louisiana that change color. What's always even better is getting to see the New England trees full of shades of red, orange, yellow and purple.  

I want to brew pumpkin coffee, and decorate the house with orange and maroon leaf-adorned items, and wear boots and scarves, and ride bikes more often, and go to more football games.
 


I couldn't wait until the official start of the season to decorate my desk.


Don't judge if I make Thanksgiving-style dinner a month or two early. It's my favorite, you see. And, there will be more slow-cooker dinners in our future.


Summer, you brought good times and an unforgettable Hawaii vacation, and I'll look back fondly. And after many good things coming our way, I'm excited to see what autumn holds.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

lafayette recycling 101

I was speaking with my friend Liz recently, and she asked me for some pointers about setting up curbside recycling for and her husband's and her home in the city of Lafayette. Her biggest issue was that she wasn't sure just where to start. She also felt the Lafayette recycling website was unclear about costs and pickup.

It got me thinking, what if you've just moved to town? What if you've never had a recycling bin before? How do you go about getting started? It's easy to talk about ways to go green, but sometimes I really just need to step back and start at the beginning!

"I want to help with the recycling process because I care about the environment and how we leave it for future generations," Liz said.

If you're in the same situation as Liz, needing to establish curbside recycling, or you're in another city but still have questions on where to start, sit down and take notes on Recycling 101, Eco Cajun style!

STEP 1

Who in Lafayette is eligible for curbside recycling? Residents in the city of Lafayette, as well in the cities of Carencro and Youngsville, who live in a house, a duplex or triplex, and have the Total Environmental Charge on their Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) monthly bill. The recycling fee is $2.37 per month.

STEP 2

Eligible? Call the Recycling Foundation at 337-234-0066 to get a recycling cart delivered to your home. Lafayette uses a 64-gallon SmartCart system now, eliminating the need for you to sort your recyclables into paper, plastic, aluminum and glass. Just throw it all into one bin! Liz says, "I am sure that between just my husband and myself that we would use a full trash can of recyclables." My boyfriend and I fill up our recycling bin between pickup most of the time, but sometimes we don't have enough in the bin to put it out every week.


STEP 3

Now that you have your bin, make sure you know what's acceptable in the bin. Currently, the city of Lafayette has the following recycling rules (your city may differ, so check first).

YAY

  • Plastic containers numbered 1-7 inside the recycling symbol. Rinse all plastics, and remove tops and lids. (Example: food and drink containers, bleach and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, soft drink and water bottles)
  • Newspaper and magazines (but tear your name and address off first!)
  • Catalogs, phone books
  • Mixed paper
  • Cereal and soft drink boxes
  • Cardboard (flatten any box!)
  • Shredded paper (this is only recyclable item that should be bagged)
  • Aluminum cans (rinse cans first!)
  • Steel/tin cans
  • Aluminum foil and pie pans (make sure it is clean and free of food debris) 
  • Glass food and beverage bottles and jars, all colors. Rinse them first and throw away the lids. (Examples: beer bottles, wine bottles [UM HELLO, LIKE ALL OF MY RECYCLING], pickles jars, jelly jars, baby food jars)

NAY

  • No plastic bags (even if they have the recycling symbol), no styrofoam, plastic packaging or saran wrap, six-pack rings or petroleum product bottles (motor oil, brake fluid, etc.)  
  • No plastic newspaper delivery bag
  • No wet or soiled paper
  • No pizza or burger boxes
  • No photos or carbon paper
  • No take-out food containers (which are most commonly styrofoam anyway - see bullet 1!)
  • No hardcover books (take 'em to the library!)
  • No lids from aluminum cans (you just gon' have to throw them away!)
  • No light bulbs
  • No drinking glasses
  • No window panes
  • No ceramics
Follow dem rules! It's important to keep the recycling stream free of contaminated or unacceptable materials.

The easiest way to keep your recyclable items together is to have a dedicated bin in your house, next to your trashcan. That way, you have the same amount of work to throw away as you do to recycle.

Lid: trash, Jar (rinsed!): recycling 

Household chemicals, paint and other hazardous materials are picked up once or twice a year (usually April and October) at Cajun Field. In the meantime, collect your materials for pickup and DON'T dump them in the ditch.

 

STEP 4

Now that your bin is full, when are you supposed to put it out for collection? It depends on where you live! Lafayette Consolidated Government has a GIS map that allows you to enter your address, and it will inform you which day is collection. Be sure to give it a minute to load!

http://gis2.lafayettela.gov/PW_CityOfLafayetteCurbsideRecyclingMap/default.aspx

STEP 5

The last step is to put your bin out the night before your pickup day! Then you can sit back and be satisfied that you're successfully reducing the amount of trash in your household.


The Lafayette Consolidated Government Environmental Quality Division Recycling Section oversees the curbside recycling contract with the Recycling Foundation. If you have problems with your recycling service or if you have recycling questions, please call the Recycling Foundation at 234-0066 or the Environmental Quality Division at 291-8529.

Do you have questions on recycling or other sustainable practices? Email or Facebook 'em to me and I may feature you in a future How Do I post!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

gardening by luck

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

taking the walk

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

Friday, September 5, 2014

green celebrities

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.

http://instagram.com/p/nKMlSjN7C6/?modal=true

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!

http://bamagreenproject.org/

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.

http://makeitright.org/see/new-orleans/

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.

http://www.paaw.org/events/strut-your-mutt-ian-somerhalder-in-lafayette-september-22

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.

http://www.energytimes.com/pages/features/1001/alicia.html

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.

http://www.eonline.com/photos/3106/hybrid-hollywood-stars-in-eco-friendly-cars/149468

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.

http://beyouthful.net/celebrity-beauty-secrets-nuts-about-natalie-portman-spills-her-secrets-of-perfection/

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

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

no excuses!

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.

http://instagram.com/p/sV4CnVN7CZ/?modal=true

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!

http://instagram.com/p/sV4CnVN7CZ/?modal=true

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!

http://instagram.com/p/sV4CnVN7CZ/?modal=true

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