remembering professor griff blakewood

On Monday, Griff Blakewood, the beloved University of Louisiana professor of geosciences, passed away after a year-long battle with cancer.

He was widely regarded for his activism in the field of renewable resources, and had a passionate insight about life and our community. He taught such classes as Environmental Sustainability, Biosphere Systems, the Environment and the Spirit, Love and Friendship, and Sustainable Futures.

He was also the outspoken faculty advisor for the UL chapter of The Society for Peace, Environment, Action, and Knowledge (SPEAK), an organization that was the impetus for the university's recycling program. His influence within the university's then-Department of Renewable Resources gained respect throughout Lafayette. In 2005, Blakewood handled, via SPEAK, all of the recycling for Festival Acadiens et Creoles.

The money he earned from recycling at Festival Acadiens funded the beginning of efforts to save the Horse Farm – an effort that was successful and kept the Horse Farm from being purchased for development. Those efforts will be remembered for generations to come, now that the Horse Farm is developing its own comprehensive plan to remain a family friendly green space for Lafayette.

He was also a bike enthusiast and was an important part of bringing bike culture to the forefront in Lafayette. He hosted bike repair workshops and was involved with environmental campaigns on local, state and national levels.

I did not have the pleasure of knowing Griff personally, but I knew of him from being involved with many community events, including one I attended for the Lafayette Comprehensive Plan a couple years ago at the newly saved Horse Farm.

I had to take a picture of his shirt. He led and believed in his mission to save the Horse Farm, and when the mission succeeded, he wore his pride on his shirt.

It's an inspiration to see the results of and the pride from such a passionate campaign. Don't think your voice is too small to be heard. Fight for what you believe in. Turn your plea into a past-tense triumph!

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