EVERY DAY GREEN. BY CHERYL PERRET
Monday, June 2, 2014
[Editor’s Note: When it came time to find people really living the green life, we turned to Cheryl Perret. Mother of two and married to Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court Louis Perret, Cheryl learned early in life the importance of not being wasteful. Couple that with a passion for the green life and you have a woman doing more than talking about the green life; you have a lady who is living it.]
I would say that we live green. For me personally, it began with a spiritual conversion and the realization that we are each morally responsible not only for our own physical and mental health, but also for the health of the natural environment around us and that the two are reliant upon the other. Living a green life is one thing, but teaching our children to be responsible citizens in that way was another. It is very simple — the best way to teach your kids is by example. If you set the example — make it fun for your children to participate and sometimes offer a reward — there is no way that what you are teaching them about living green will be forgotten.
It starts at birth with the foods you feed your child. I am sorry to say that very little of what I fed my children was local, fresh or organic. Working as a nurse, I just didn’t have the energy to prepare foods this way.
When they were in preschool, I wanted my children to understand where their food came from, so I took an LSU Master Gardener class to learn about organic vegetable gardening and entered them in the 4-H Club gardening program, where they competed in gardening and environmental stewardship. The kids were excited about winning awards in these areas, and we have had a home garden since. As teenagers, they automatically go to the garden to water the garden and watch the magic.
Both of my children were scouts. The amount of programming in scouting is overwhelmingly pro-environmental stewardship. My son would collect aluminum cans from the neighborhood, our home and my parents and he would exchange them at the metal recycling business on Cameron Street for money (part of which he kept and part of which he donated to scouts). As a family, we regularly would participate in the annual LCG Trash Bash, and one year we organized a scouting project picking up litter inside the coulee in our back yard. We filled up truck loads of trash and dropped it off with Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Environmental Quality Department where giant piles of litter were on display, hot dogs were served and the annual Trash Bash T-shirt was distributed.
I helped to start Earthshare Gardens so that I could educate my children and our entire community about sustainable gardening practices and often took them with me to volunteer and learn in the garden.
Helping to establish TreesAcadiana, I felt we should promote the urban forest not just for its beauty, but for both the human and ecosystem health benefits. Our children helped annually to plant trees — at the Cajundome, near the City Police Station, on Louisiana Avenue, at schools, etc.
In our home and on vacation we recycle all plastic, paper and aluminum, and when we are at a place that does not recycle, we bring recyclables home.
We have not converted to using reusable grocery bags at the store and still on occasion buy bottled water in plastic, but I am constantly encouraging my family to help convert our habits in this area. We use water from a cistern to water our potted plants and to wash our hands when gardening. We throw our food scraps in a compost pile and recycle our yard waste. We have invested in a solar panel system, Energy Star appliances, a source point water heater and a new energy-efficient air conditioning system. We use natural light inside of our house during the day and energy saving light bulbs at night. We built a fence with someone else’s old fence wood.
Quite simply, we teach by example.
We ride our bikes to the neighborhood grocery store and my daughter rides her bike to college. My children and I drive small vehicles and hope to purchase more energy-efficient vehicles in the future.
My parents taught me not to be wasteful, and if you ask my siblings or my friends, they will probably tell you that I take this to the extremes. Those extremes, I believe, are the responsible thing to do.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,312 from the previous week's total of 2,543. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,627.
In a statement, Michael Ranatza, executive director of the association, said Landrieu's "senior status" and her continued support for the sheriffs throughout her career were deciding factors.
The position puts him at odds with GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal, but could bolster support from the business community as the senator raises money for the 2015 governor's race.
On the cusp of a new school year, with the fallout from The IND’s special report, “What’s the Matter at Fatima,” still settling, the administration at Our Lady of Fatima is reaching out to the school “family” to offer reassurances about the academic and spiritual health of the institution.
The Hayride — Louisiana’s one-stop shop for far-right perspectives — has come to the defense of state Rep. Lenar Whitney following her embarrassing, early-exit interview last week with Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman.
Bright colors, ecletic prints
The Catholic Diocese of Lafayette says a 1992 investigation cleared the Rev. Gilbert Dutel of pedophilia allegations, yet when asked to produce those records, church officials came up empty-handed.
The former president and longtime board member of the Council on the Development of French in Louisiana has taken a Texas lawmaker to task over his use of the slur “coonass” during a legislative hearing.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hundreds of new laws take effect Friday, with the start of August. A look at some of the changes on the books:
Marques Colston let out a laugh and shrugged his shoulders when the subject of his NFL longevity arose.
The state is accepting public comments on a plan that would invest $1 million in a new Homeowner Rehabilitation Program for low- to moderate-income residents whose homes were damaged after Hurricane Isaac.
A Senate Bill passed Thursday now awaits the president’s signature authorizing long-awaited reforms of the Veterans Affairs Administration, including new clinics for Lafayette and Lake Charles.
The DIY birthday done right
Bump and baby friendly wares
A comprehensive listing of special menu features, pairings and events for the week of Aug. 4-9
Behind the scenes a growing number of parents are saying, ‘We want our school back!’
Is sending a 16-year-old boy to prison with men for up to 99 years really the way to address juvenile crime?
How Lafayette’s family businesses have survived despite the odds
Lafayette is ready to embark on a master plan for growth, but will old habits impede our progress?
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The IND's Nick Pittman weighs in on new records from Taylor Verret, Plush Claw, Steven Joubert and Lee Benoit.
The Cajundome rocked in July when the first ever Girls and Guys Rock Louisiana Awards Show hit the place.
Allen & Gooch reunites with Whitney Bank to sponsor the sixth annual event honoring Acadiana’s top companies.
Juicing’s health benefits lead to a proliferation of sellers in the Lafayette market.
‘The Tribe’ reflects on Fred Daspits incalculable contributions to Lafayette’s cultural life.
The recently concluded World Cup is awash in analogies.
Style that shines
Go inside the kitchen with chef Michelle Youngberg
It’s an exciting time in life as you prepare to meet your new bundle of joy — get ready to plan out the next nine months so when your baby arrives, you can stress less and love more.