by Van Scholten
What do you call a Swiss musician looking to offset his carbon emissions from his combined European tours as a way to help New Orleans recover sustainably after the devastating wake of Katrina? Andreas Hoffman. Ride for the Future had the pleasure of volunteering with the Green Light Project for a day, installing free compact fluorescent bulbs to those who applied. Taking advantage of this program is a no-brainer if you live in the New Orleans parish and have not yet switched out your inefficient incandescents for the less wasteful CFLs.
After a quick briefing, we split up into 3 different groups and headed to different homes around town, trailers hitched and bulbs packed. Then it rained. No worries, however, as we had come prepared with our…never mind, we got soaked. However, rain is no deterrent to good deeds. Pablo, Fernanda, and myself joined forces and took to the streets to deliver the lights to our faithful customers, while others did the same.
The first house we came to, the door was open and inside were two twenty-something aged women who were very kind to let us come in and make a sopping mess on their floor! Being our first time ever doing anything like this, the awkwardness set in quick. “Soo huh….got any bulbs that need replacin’ “, I hacked out nervously as their confusion became evident. It took a few minutes, but soon, the process became easy and familiar. Replace a bulb, write it down. Easy peasy. We only changed 2 bulbs in that house (new, only record!), despite their request to change 12. Stipulations require that we only change those bulbs that are incandescents and have the properly sized (regular) base.
The next house we hit was about 3 miles away. As we walked in, the Obama swag was overwhelming. There were posters and pictures and t-shirts and magazines with him on the cover, all laid out in a shrine within the foyer. The house was stunning on the outside, painted blue (probably to reflect her voting habits) and proudly clean. We only changed another 2 lightbulbs. Again, people, you have to know what you can and cannot do if you want to take advantage of this program! The majority of her lights had bases that were too small for the new bulbs, so they got overlooked.
Our third and final house was in a nice part of town, just off of N. Jefferson. We were greeted by the applicant as he was heading out to the bank via bicycle. We knew this was going to be a cool place. Our instincts were spot on. His roommates were there to greet us happily with a ferret, which, I must admit, is ridiculously adorable. We scorched our old record by installing 20 new, shiny, beacons of hope! Now they can shine brightly, illuminating the problems that surround our broken social structure and shed light on the way we use energy! Ok, maybe I’m overdramatizing it. Regardless, we came back to the home base to report our work and dispose of the old incandescents. Being the only team that accomplished anything greater than replacing 2 bulbs, we deserve something special. I’m thinking cake.