LiveWell Louisiana


Green Light New Orleans plugs into an environmentally friendly way of life.
April 5th, 2015 by: Lianna Patch

Last year, a little New Orleans nonprofit celebrated a significant milestone — installing its five hundred thousandth compact fluorescent light bulb. Green Light New Orleans, started by Switzerland-native Andreas Hoffmann, relies on the enthusiastic help of local volunteers to swap incandescent light bulbs and other types of bulbs for free fluorescents. Repeated in thousands of homes throughout New Orleans, this small action has translated into big change. Switching to fluorescents doesn’t just save homeowners money; it also lowers carbon emissions.

Volunteer coordinator Rebecca Fisher-McGinty joined Green Light in 2013. “I have my degree in environmental policy, so I wanted to understand how meaningful environmental change could happen on an individual basis,” she says. She began as a volunteer, and now she helps raise awareness and sign up new volunteers who are interested in visiting local homes and giving away light bulbs.

“Currently, locally, we probably have around 30 to 50 volunteers work with us each month,” she says. Those interested in volunteering with Green Light can apply online or by calling (504) 324-2429.

True to its motto — “We change more than light bulbs” — the nonprofit has also expanded into other areas, including food access and agriculture. New Orleans residents can apply to have a 4-foot-by-4-foot raised-bed vegetable garden created in their yards, empowering them to grow their own food. “We are currently at about 300 gardens, and we have had a lot of positive feedback and energy around this program,” Fisher-McGinty says. The simple garden application is available online or by calling (504) 324-2429.

Green Light invites those who can’t volunteer their time to become sustaining members of its mission. “One of our main sources of funding is our membership program,” Fisher-McGinty explains. “So, our next milestone is building up a ‘monthly sustaining’ membership team of 500 people. This will be so powerful to our ability to continue and expand our services for folks in New Orleans.”