Green Light New Orleans + 11 Western Michigan University students = 1 impactful week of environmental stewardship!
Did you know New Orleans is sinking about half an inch a year? Green Light New Orleans is a nonprofit organization that provides energy efficient light bulbs, community gardens, and rain water barrels to the New Orleans community in an effort to combat the devastating effects of climate change being felt in real time.
Where do Michigan residents fit into this mission?
Alternative Bronco Breaks is a student organization on Western Michigan University’s campus that allows students to volunteer in another community across the United States during the student’s scheduled winter break. We decided to spend it with Green Light New Orleans because of their dedication to their local community and the environment.
Since 2006, Green Light New Orleans has invested energy in people by assisting New Orleans residents in person, one household at a time. Their volunteers install free energy efficient light bulbs, rain barrels, and backyard vegetable gardens to demonstrate that a mass movement of individual actions creates a significant impact on our environment and community. Through this work they connect New Orleans residents to relevant, local opportunities and encourage individual actions so that everyone can benefit from a vibrant, resilient, and sustainable community.
Not only is this work important for the residents of New Orleans, from their efforts they have reduced over 280,000,000 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. This is a massive win for all human beings who call this planet home. The light bulb installations are only the tip of the iceberg (no climate change puns intended). Rain barrel production is one of the most impactful ways Green Light New Orleans changes the ecological makeup of the sinking New Orleans landscape. Rain collection is a eco-friendly way to reduce water table exhaustion when those precious resources are no longer disturbed, and in the grand scheme of things we will all need to be conserving these irreplaceable necessities.
This past week volunteering with Green Light New Orleans has given us the crucial perspective needed to feel connected to ecosystems unlike ours in Michigan. For example, Michigan is not sinking. However, we now have the knowledge to recognize the importance of rainwater collection in regards to both water table management and food production. With Michigan housing the largest freshwater sources in the world, we can learn from this organization. These lessons can be carried over to our Michigan community. Every year our production of cherries, apples, blueberries and corn is negatively affected by climate change. If we were to implement these ideas of rain water conservation and community garden care we could effectively manage our precious resources in a community centered way.
Small changes lead to big impact, and that is where you come in. Please consider donating to our fundraiser so we can prove that this sort of community involvement and environmental conservation makes change in a positive and meaningful light.