earth hour 2014

This year's Earth Hour is happening this Saturday, March 29. Are you unfamiliar with Earth Hour? Watch the official video above! Other key facts for you:
  • Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and is organized by WWF. Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. In seven short years, Earth Hour has become a larger, worldwide environmental movement. 
  • Earth Hour aims to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.
  • Earth Hour takes place from 8:30-9:30 in your local time zone. Why is it different? Because to make a bigger impact for Earth Hour, it should happen at night while people are still awake, and of course, no one's nighttime happens at the same time!
  • To participate in Earth Hour, all you need to do is turn off the non-essential lights wherever you are for one hour. What you do in that hour is up to you! To really take a stand, don't just watch a movie or TV in the dark. Instead, spend time with your loved ones, light a candle and read, think about ways to be greener and live with the spirit of Earth Hour every day… or whatever you can think of!
  • The World Wildlife Fund oversees Earth Hour activities in the United States. 
  • On a bigger scale, cities, businesses, colleges and famous landmarks are also participating in Earth Hour. Landmarks from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (be still my heart), to Niagara Falls in New York, to the Space Needle in Seattle will all be going dark for one hour.
  • You can help spread the word about Earth Hour by using the hashtags #EarthHour and #YourPower.
  • Follow the Earth Hours around the world by following Earth Hour on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook
  • For other information, visit the Earth Hour FAQs!

If you're participating in Earth Hour, be sure to share pictures and Tweet or Instagram them to me (and to #EarthHour, of course!)

royal teeth on american idol

In the nature of supporting local businesses, I also love to support local musicians and artists. Some friends of mine, Royal Teeth, are performing tonight on American Idol's results show! This is a huge performance for them, and we are all so excited to watch tonight. I do hope you'll check them out, and I'm not sorry if "Wild" is stuck in your head for the next 24 hours. :)


world water day

The annual UN World Water Day is happening this Saturday, March 22. The event is in its 22nd year, so let's give a happy golden birthday to World Water Day!

The objectives for this year's World Water Day are:
  • Raise awareness of the inter-linkages between water and energy.
  • Contribute to a policy dialogue that focuses on the broad range of issues related to the nexus of water and energy.
  • Demonstrate, through case studies, to decision makers in the energy sector and the water domain that integrated approaches and solutions to water-energy issues can achieve greater economic and social impacts.
  • Identify policy formulation and capacity development issues in which the UN system, in particular UN-Water and UN-Energy, can offer significant contributions.
  • Identify key stakeholders in the water-energy nexus and actively engaging them in further developing the water-energy linkages.
  • Contribute as relevant to the post-2015 discussions in relation to the water-energy nexus.
One of the key messages of World Water Day is that water requires energy to get to us, and energy requires water. Therefore, conserving water is also a way of conserving energy. The less you need, the less needs to be produced. And so many people throughout the world don't have access to clean water. The more we save, the more can be shared with those who need it much more.

How can you individually participate in World Water Day? Easy! Conserve water and share the message. Visit the WWD website to get banners or facts to share on social media, and let everyone know you're celebrating this Saturday!

But don't forget to actually conserve water. Use rain water to hydrate your garden. Don't let your sprinkler run out of control - especially if you are in a drought area, or conversely, if it's raining. Use as little water as you can when washing dishes and laundry (fill the dishwasher completely before running it to maximize water use, and set your washing machine on the lightest load setting you can). Take a quicker shower than you might normally. Spare yourself of drinking bottled water, and tote along some tap or Brita-filtered water instead.

Spread the word and let's all celebrate World Water Day together this year!

water conservation solutions

As spring kicks into gear (at least in the South), and yards and gardens start getting attention again, water conservation will become an important subject again.


Oh, Milo says hello.

While using a hose or a watering can is an easy way to keep your yard looking green and fresh, there are better, more environmentally friendly ways to achieve the same goal!

Rain barrels are becoming a popular option for storing collected rainwater to use for irrigation and in gardens. The benefits to using collected rainwater instead of tap water include saving money on your water bill, providing fresh, (mostly) chemical-free water for plants, and helping to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff entering the watershed system. While tap water does contain more chemicals than rainwater, I question the validity of rainwater being truly clean and free, thanks to the amount of pollution being dumped into natural waterways that gets sucked into the natural water cycle.

Rain barrels are large barrels that are either affixed to a gutter downspout, or placed under the lowest pitch on your roof. They come with a removable top; mesh screen to filter out leaves, bugs and other junk; overflow and drain valves; and a spigot. They can be used with hoses and watering cans; but don't provide enough pressure to work with a sprinkler system.

To help foster the use of rain barrels in Lafayette to improve water quality, Lafayette Utilities System is offering a deal to LUS customers to purchase a rain barrel from their chosen vendor at a group rate. The 55-gallon barrel comes in a choice of four colors and costs $54 - not a bad deal considering the size of the gallon and the water bill savings over a summer of lawn and garden maintenance.

To read the specific program information and to download the order form, visit the LUS website. Orders must be placed by April 25. All barrels purchased through the program will be available for pickup at City Hall on Saturday, May 3.

st. patrick's day

Happy St. Patrick's Day from eco cajun!

Don't just wear your green today; do something green today!

  • Pick up a piece of litter you come across.
  • Don't throw away something that could be recycled or reused.
  • Make sure to keep unnecessary lights off.
  • Use blankets to keep warm or fans to keep cool, instead of running your heater or air conditioner.

mardi gras recap

Another Mardi Gras has come and gone, and it was mostly…freezing. From wearing shorts on Sunday to wearing enough layers on Monday and Tuesday to rival Randy, we braved the elements and caught us a literal ton of beads. Not that see-saw weather is anything new to Louisiana, but since WHEN has there been ice on Mardi Gras…especially in March!?

We did pretty well being green on all of our outings, except that we couldn't recycle all the beads we saw left on the ground, mostly because my bike basket was already five times over its weight limit. Maybe next year I'll pull a bike trailer and scoop up more beads!

We also brought backpacks, which turned out to be a better idea than I even planned on. Plus, it felt like practice for Festival International in April!

My Kanteen kept my beer deliciously cold for the entire parade. Also, it is very important to always remember your bike lock. So you don't have to skip going to the fair after the parade to watch the musical acts and miss out on seeing your friends. (Still upset with myself. But at least we got to eat while we were out that night!)

Even the weekly Farmer's Market got in on the Mardi Gras spirit with some music and a traditional Courir de Mardi Gras.

We finally rode on the new dedicated bike lane through UL's campus. It's great to see the university embrace bicyclists by making this happen. 

Riding along the parade route to get home was a fun little adventure. The cars were confined to the outside lanes, leaving the float lane open for us to cruise down the busiest street in town on a Saturday evening. Look at all that litter I was so disappointed to have to leave behind. 

Monday night: 32 degrees with a 22-degree wind chill. It was almost as rough a bike ride as those San Francisco hills. But we made it, and we didn't freeze anything off in the process!

Aaaaand Mardi Gras morning. Hey wait, where is everyone!? Oh, the 32-degree temperature, steady drizzle and layer of ice kept them inside? Wusses. 

Even though there were barely any people out, it was a fun day. We threw in the towel on riding bikes and drove to a friend's house just off the parade route, where we could hang out between parades and stay warm (and dry our gloves off!) Even making it out to walk to lunch was a little adventure.

And the lack of a crowd meant more beads for us! Even if it stung like hell when they hit our hands. 

Icicles on the recycling bin. As you would on March 4.

The combination of winter and spring.

The majority of the donation pile. The contents of that milk crate are still sitting in the back of my car, because these beads will just never go away! Even with giving away an entire parade's catch to some friends in a parade the next day and keeping the really nice beads for decorations, we still had this much left over! It's truly insanity.

If you've also got a ridiculous pile of beads to get rid of, here are some handy places for you to recycle them in Lafayette:
  • If you are attending the Monster Truck show next Thursday, March 13, one of the trucks will be outside the Cajundome to be filled with donated beads. Bring yours to add!
  • Visit LARC's website to view their drop off points and dates.
  • Bring your beads to any area Goodwill. They will get to LARC as well.
  • Give them to anyone you know who rides in parades.
  • Send them to friends and family far away!
  • Save the nice ones to use as decorations. I like to use them in vases and jars as centerpieces, plus I like to adorn my bicycle with them!
Until next year, Mardi Gras.

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