After Learning How Peat Cn Be Used As A Fossil Fuel, Carlos And Lynda Searched Online

What’s on Kickstarter? A student’s ambitious plan to bring back coal in 25 years.

After Learning How Peat Cn Be Used As A Fossil Fuel, Carlos And Lynda Searched Online

This week, a group of students, led by architect and New Orleans resident Carlos and wife Lynda Searles, took part in HuffPost Media’s Young Voices panel on energy sustainability. Assembled from varying ages, backgrounds and interests by HuffPost reporter Stefanie Murray, the panel discussed the energy-efficiency education and innovation that the Searleses had become known for, and which those same students represented. One student, Kylie, explained that her family was horrified to learn that, despite their best efforts, the family’s waste-free approach to cooking, with all of its dishes rinsed in a bucket of tea, wasn’t sustainable, and that, in fact, U.S. waste is at a record high.

After revealing the media company’s study, which found that the U.S. wastes 9 percent of the per-capita energy supply, a horrifying message appeared on Lynda’s computer screen — and there was nothing left to do but search.

Surprised, Erica Rangel, our host for the day, took the opportunity to ask Lynton to tell Carlos about his searching:

Right. And that one hit was four minutes ago.

A hectic shift, to be sure, but it’s not a situation the Searleses are unfamiliar with. After Katrina hit New Orleans, and after finishing school and working on and off for two years, the couple started building an eco-lifestyle business in New Orleans. Thanks to Lynda, known as L.D.A., thematic tours and farm-to-table restaurant concepts such as Eat in My Mind became a hit and have been featured on events as diverse as Oprah’s Farm to Table Tour.

She’s still working on the idea behind the Thoughtful Revolution farm, a hub where local architects, farmers and artists meet.

Carlos, Lynda, L.D.A. and Henning Kärtel Credit: By Tariq Paracha, courtesy of Daryl Kärtel

Speaking about the catalyst behind the venture, Carlos told HuffPost that there was no shortage of to-do lists: “We’d had all of this energy from Katrina and people still on top of staying afloat, and not really paying attention to things they could be doing. So we figured we’d make something happen.”

That day, Carlos and Lynda drove to Mission Street Studios, the same iconic studio where L.D.A. had made a name for herself painting people and animals, and helped Lynda craft a spazzy neon sign. Their first order of business was to transform the massive white brick space into a community farm, a location that launched their company’s name. Two years later, that farm, which was originally called “The Catalyst,” closed.

Though their first journey in sustainability, however, came at a high cost. “By the time Katrina was over, we were earning, if you count rent, a little over $150,000,” Carlos told HuffPost. “You’re constantly cutting corners and you’re always making the difficult decisions, and you’re never quite enough.”

“After Katrina, by the time the first show was shooting, we had probably dropped down to about $40,000,” added Lynda. “We didn’t have the luxury to take on anything. It was things like: How do we afford to be here and make a living?”

Today, the couple is active in both the art and energy industries, and talking to both was part of our Young Voices panel. When we asked them about their mentor in sustainability, Carlos told us, “L.D.A. is the person. She’s the first person I asked to do my television shows, I’ve worked with her since I was 22 years old.”

Lynda’s camera/motorcycle-ready smile was evident as she reflected on her husband’s encounter with sustainability on the panel.

Carlos began talking about a conversation he had with L.D.A. when he had recently started traveling, prompting Lynda to pose the question, “Are you ready to retire, old man?”

“I don’t have time!” Carlos reassured her. “So when this peace thing comes, I just want to sit in the sun and listen to music and read.”

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