By Raleigh Keagan, LABB Member Action Associate
Last Saturday, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade hosted the first annual Green Places and Spaces Bike Ride. LABB staff and members, as well as those involved in the Better Future Project headed out for a tour of NOLA, stopping at some of the more sustainable-focused businesses and non-profits around town.
The Better Future Project is a non-profit based in Boston that hosts a summer bike ride from New Orleans to Dallas, Texas. Ride for the Future, as the summer program is called, is a 1000-mile bike ride where individuals from all over the country come together to take a tour of the Southern United States, while stopping at different fenceline communities and talking to individuals about the impacts of industrial pollution. The ride will finish out in Texas at the headquarters of ExxonMobil, where they will have a creative action to let the industrial giant know there are people who find their practices unacceptable.
LABB decided to organize a bike ride for our June monthly event to celebrate these riders and their mission, as well as introduce the non-NOLA-natives to our city and the largely unknown, yet burgeoning sustainable movement occurring here in the Crescent City.
We met at Bayou St. John on a sunny, yet comfortable morning, greeting by WWL. Be sure to check out the news coverage of the event. I was pleasantly surprised with the turn-out, and would like to sincerely thank all those who came out, as well as those who gave wonderful presentations to our group.
We had the privilege of hearing from Mike Murphy, owner of Solar Alternatives. The business is focused on providing solar energy throughout our city, and informed our group of some of the unknown incentives to this more sustainable form of energy, such as the Louisiana Solar Tax Credit.
We also heard from Prisca Weems, Founder and Principal of Future Proof, a company that works to create earth-friendly architecture design, among other things. Our visit to The Building Block (aka The Icehouse) was both educational and interesting. Having worked with Solar Alternatives in the past (for the Earth Day Festival, among other occasions), I expected to be familiar with much of the presentation. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn more about solar energy and our state than I was previously aware of.
Our next stop was to Greenlight NOLA, informing our riders about the work they do, and the importance of energy-efficient florescent light bulbs. We finished out the ride at Hollygrove Market , hearing from Market Manager Alyssa Denny. Even some of the local attendees were unaware of this hidden treasure, and were amazed with all the market had to offer.
In organizing this ride, I felt like it was a wonderful opportunity to introduce people from outside the state, as well as those living within our city, to some of the amazing projects and businesses going on here. New Orleans has been slow to adopt the “green” movement, but signs of a new era dawning can be seen. It was not very difficult to find sustainably-minded businesses and non-profits to introduce our riders to, and I was incredibly proud to do so.
Recently coming from Colorado and Oregon, where one is shunned if they are not involved in the “green wave”, it was a shock coming to New Orleans to find recycling still being a hassle and/or unavailable for a large part of the city. But upon closer inspection, I was thrilled to find so many green-minded organizations that are doing their part to retrofit the city I now call home. It was my pleasure to be able to share these discoveries with fellow New Orleanians and visitors alike.