By Raleigh Keagan, LABB Member Action Associate
At this year’s New Orleans Earth Day Festival and Green Business Expo, we thought it was important to convey some of the environmental issues in a more interactive way. Several art installations were displayed during the fest, with an impressive reception from attendees. There were photos from the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill; a patchwork quilt where individuals could add their own square, also in remembrance of the spill; and a Pledge House, made from repurposed and recycled materials.
The House was meant to signify the impacts from environmental degradation and disregard, and how simple awareness could drastically shift the mindset. Building a house had a dual purpose: it was something everyone could relate to, but it was also a play on words: ”Bring sustainability home.”
LABB staff, volunteers, several organizations, as well as individuals helped put together the house the day before the fest on-site, in the glorious rain and wind. It was a feat, but well worth the challenge. Structural materials and labor were donated from The Green Project, Rebuilding Together , The Preservation Salvage Store, and 1239 Congress. Recyclables were gathered from Allied Waste. John Bukaty, a local artist, helped with the project from idea to build, and was responsible for the iconic pelican painted on the Pledge House door. We send a BIG and sincere thanks to all those who helped us accomplish our vision!
With attendance at this year’s festival double that of last year, we were able to share our message with over 6,000 people! Aside from simply building the house to have on exhibit, we also wanted to give everyone the chance to make a pledge to bring sustainability into their own lives. Festival-goers had the opportunity to write their pledge on a dry erase idea bubble, and take their picture in front of the house.
The pledge was also a challenge to industry. LABB Event Coordinator, EvanMarie Allison, explained the idea behind incorporating industry in the pledge: “Oil refineries have a tremendous impact on the environment and there are multiple ways they can clean up their act.” Individuals could write in what they wanted to do to make their lives greener this year, but they also could write in a recommendation for what industry could do to improve their practices. Over 100 people took a photo with their pledge in front of the house. All can be viewed on our Facebook page.
We are incredibly happy with the response to the Pledge House, and feel proud to have accomplished something that reached so many. We again thank those who helped us, for we could not have achieved it without the amazing partnerships we have. This year’s Earth Day Festival and Green Business Expo was an undeniable success, and we are thrilled that so many visited the house and took the pledge. Be sure to keep an eye out for next year’s art installation at the 2013 Earth Day Festival and Green Business Expo!