Earth Month 2020 kicks off today!

This Earth Month is certainly unlike any other in its history. It's a strange time, with all of us sheltering at home for the greater good.

Although Louisiana remains under a stay at home order through April 30, much of the country is under the same restrictions, and Earth Month events are canceled, it's still possible to celebrate the spirit of Earth Month.

With the quarantine and being home, we've remained as eco-friendly as usual: making sure not to waste our paper goods, using reusable dinnerware and coffee cups, recycling, not wasting food and conserving energy as much as possible, although we're having to run the air conditioner more since we are home.
I'm washing my cloth shopping bags extra to make sure they are clean. We've been saving on fuel since we don't need to drive anywhere.

Appreciate the nature around you

I wrote about this a couple weeks back, but especially during Earth Month, get outside in your yard or nearest safe green space. Even the smallest bits of nature are providing a lot of comfort right now. Take a break from work and family pressures and help your mental health by getting outside.

We're still going outside daily, either playing in the yard, going for a walk or going for a bike ride as a family, staying away from any neighbors who are also out. I'm grateful that we've had overall great weather these past few weeks, and extra grateful for the cool front that passed through today!
While we can't hug our loved ones, we CAN still hug trees! I most definitely am teaching my daughter about being a treehugger.

Love the Boot

This year, Keep Louisiana Beautiful launched Love the Boot Week for April 20-26. The original intent was to engage all citizens to show love and respect for their home, city, parish and state. In communities throughout Louisiana, thousands of citizens will organize or volunteer for events to clean up and beautify public spaces.  

All cleanup and beautification events have been canceled, but Keep Louisiana Beautiful has a list of 21 ways you can still Love the Boot while staying at home.

Share any photos or posts on social media with the hashtag #LoveTheBoot and join in the fun that way!

"Travel" on social media

Over the weekend, I saw a post going around Facebook about sharing a photo you've taken from somewhere in the world with the goal of traveling around the world virtually. I don't join in most Facebook things like that, but this was a fun one to participate in. Why not use Earth Month to share some of our favorite nature photos online and really put a spotlight on the planet and nature?

Practice conservation

Being at home is a great time to put conservation measures into practice. Make your groceries and toiletries last as long as you can, especially while being home is the safest place. Use rainwater for your plants. Turn off lights when you don't need them.

Hang in there

I know it goes without saying, but hang in there! Don't stress to accomplish a lofty to-do list right now. I'm surely feeling the survival mode vibes, and there's nothing wrong with that. Prioritize your sanity and take a deep breath when you need to. My top ways to attempt to stay sane are to stop reading every news article (you seriously don't need by-the-minute updates!) and get off social media every once in awhile.

Happy Earth Month everyone! I'll be sharing some of my favorite nature photos, both in Louisiana and from travels on social media this month, as I balance out every day survival.

Earth Hour 2020

With everything that's been canceled this spring, it's comforting to know that one event is still going on - Earth Hour!

Started by WWF and partners as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment, engaging millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories. It has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact, driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the people.

Many physical community events were planned to honor Earth Hour and have been canceled, but every year, millions of people participate at home. It's the perfect event for this crazy time. On Saturday, March 28, at 8:30 p.m. in your own time zone, turn out the lights for the hour.

Since we're already all staying home, might as well turn off the lights! The Earth Hour website even has 20 ideas of what you can do during that hour.

Other ways you can participate in Earth Hour:

 How will you celebrate Earth Hour?

Keeping Somewhat Calm

In a culture that prides itself on how busy we always are, or how many things are on our calendar, it surely feels weird to be told to stop and stay put for the next few weeks and months. It's weird to see our calendars emptied all of a sudden, although it is for the greater good.

Every day is uncertain, and like everyone, my anxiety is running high as well. I'm glad that my daughter is young enough to not understand what is going on, although I know she can sense the heightened feelings of worry.

As an eco-friendly blogger, it's sad to see all of these Earth Month events being canceled or postponed, but it doesn't mean we can't love the our planet all the same. I'll be looking forward to celebrating Earth Month virtually this year! Not to mention, Earth Hour is scheduled for Saturday, March 28, and can still be celebrated while everyone is social distancing!

In times like this, single-use items are an absolute necessity. For the sake of cleanliness and sanitization, it makes sense to rely on these items. This is what single-use should be for, not for simple convenience. It's the same reason I think bottled water is perfectly acceptable in times of disasters, like following a hurricane or other natural disaster. It's there to help and be a safe way to get a necessity.

While it's absolutely vital to give yourself grace and allow yourself some flexibility during this time, there are some ways you can incorporate eco-friendly practices while maintaining cleanliness, social distancing and self-care.

Conserve your resources

In a world where toilet paper is being hoarded like diamonds or gold, it's important to remember conservation practices. Make your toilet paper and paper towel stash last as long as possible by not going overboard when you use them. And maybe keep the TP away from toddlers and pets who like to unravel the whole roll! If you do run out of TP and can't get more, just saying, an old raggedy T-shirt cut into squares will work in a pinch.

Don’t waste food

You worked hard and paid good money to get those groceries - don't let them go to waste! Make sure to eat any leftovers or perishables before opening any canned or frozen goods. Check your expiration dates as well.

Reuse where you can and save the single-use for when you need it

Especially while at home, and provided you have the ability to wash things, choose reusable - like using a kitchen towel rather than a paper towel when washing your hands. Set out one towel for each member of the family.

Save water

While you're washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, turn the faucet off. If everyone has the faucet on while washing, can you imagine the amount of water being wasted?

Get outside

Social distancing is so important right now, but it doesn't mean you have to stay holed up inside your home. Go outside, even just to your backyard. With the time change, we have been spending so much time in our yard, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be outside in the fresh air, where my daughter can run around and enjoy herself safely. You can also go to a local park (just keep to yourself), ride your bike, plant flowers or trees at home, or clean up trash in your neighborhood (gloves of course recommended, or use a trash picker if you have one.)

Find the positives

They're still out there! Like I mentioned earlier, I'm grateful for the time we've spent outside lately. This past weekend, I was watching my daughter run around and play with sticks, and I felt a sense of calm and appreciation for our house with a large yard.

I'm also grateful that my husband and I didn't get rid of our deep freezer, like we've been talking about doing for a few months. It's certainly being put to use.

I think all of us have experienced really rough moments and hard thoughts during the past few weeks. I was feeling a lot of worry yesterday morning, but after talking to a few people and seeing that my fear was not real in that moment, I was able to release it.

My thoughts are with everyone right now. Be kind to others. Even if you personally feel less concerned, respect those who are extremely worried and taking extra precautions. Now more than ever, we're all in this together.

Starting Your Zero-Waste Journey with Curated Bundles

If you haven't made a transition toward being zero-waste, the idea can be extremely daunting. However, the goal isn't to become completely zero-waste in one day. Instead, look at it as making a few small changes at a time.

Break it down and make it a little easier on yourself. Maybe commit to making changes in one room of your house each month. Look around your kitchen and see what single-use items you can swap out, like using cloth towels rather than paper towels, or silicone baking mats rather than aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Starting off can be even easier with some starter packs from EarthHero! Earlier this year, they shared a collection of sustainable starter packs, and it's a helpful way for you to take that first step. They curated a few bundles, a few gift boxes and a few collections, ranging from Stasher bags to nontoxic laundry detergent to a very cute sustainable guru bundle.

Rather than picking each item individually, with a bundle you can make one click and be on your way toward being more earth-friendly. EarthHero is one of my favorite resources, because they make it easy to find what you're looking for, and everything is made by eco-friendly and sustainably minded brands.

Even beyond the curated starter packs and bundles, EarthHero has tons of sustainable items for every member of the family and every room of the house. Last year, I added some eco-friendly toys to my daughter's Easter basket, and I've gotten everything from clothes for me to household items to baby accessories.

I love that EarthHero goes beyond just carrying eco-friendly products, and they stay committed to their mission through the shipping process. Shipping is carbon neutral, offset through Their zero-waste office environment utilizes 100% recycled paper and refillable dry-erase markers, among other things. In addition, they partner with 1% for the Planet to donate 1% of their sales towards approved nonprofit initiatives that give back to the environment.

So now that you're ready to get started, head on over to EarthHero!

As you shop the site, get 10% off your EarthHero purchase by using my code, ECOCAJUN!

Secondhand Gear with SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange

SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange is not a typical retailer — they’re a brand-new, locally-owned consignment store that accepts and sells outdoor adventure gear and apparel.

If you’ve got unused gear sitting at home taking up space, now is the perfect time to clean out and make a little extra cash in the process.

SugarWolf expects to open in downtown Lafayette in early March, but they are holding three advance public consignment days THIS WEEKEND to help with stocking the store:
  • Friday, Jan. 31, from 2-6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 1, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 2, from 12-3 p.m. 

Bring your gear to Hub City Cycles, 208 E. Vermilion Street in downtown Lafayette, and bring your used gear for SugarWolf staff to review. If your items are accepted for consignment before the store opens, you will earn an extra 10% cash or store credit on the sale of your items.

Read more about SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange, the couple behind it and their inspiration in my weekly column for Times of Acadiana!

Having a consignment shop helps bring a focus to the conscious reuse of gear and apparel in our community. “We know that folks have a lot sitting in their closets and garages that they aren't using,” Co-owner Allison Nederveld says. “We hope this can reduce waste locally while outfitting those who would love some high quality gear at a more affordable price.”

Owners Allison and her wife, Wendy, look forward to helping people explore the outdoors, especially in our own state, and go on adventures at a much more affordable investment. They personally love anything that takes them far away from cars and the noises of a city: Allison loves the adrenaline that comes when you do something you never thought possible or that you struggled to finish, and Wendy thinks there's nothing like sitting around a campfire with friends and laughing. "We both love paddling out at Lake Martin and bringing our dog for walks in the woods," says Allison.


Opening in March 2020 at 501 Jefferson Street in Lafayette, LA


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