Southern California environment news and trends

California schools vie for national green awards

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Four California schools (including two from Manhattan Beach) have been nominated for the new federal Green Ribbon Schools Program.

Grand View Elementary and Environmental Charter High are the Manhattan Beach representatives; private Danville institution the Athenian and Longfellow Elementary in Long Beach round out the four California finalists chosen by Tom Torlakson, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The U.S. Department of Education rolled out this new program last September after collaborating with various state agencies. The award criteria is to “focus on measurable outcomes wherever possible, and based on a comprehensive approach incorporating environmental learning with maximizing positive environmental and health impacts,” according to a department press release.

"Our state has always been a leader in environmental protection, and these four schools are proof positive that California's schools are still leading the way," Torlakson said in the release. "As a science teacher, it is heartening to see how these schools are weaving sound environmental practices into the lessons in their classrooms and the daily life of their campuses.”


Grant program brings free solar panels to East LA homes

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Photo: Mike Spasoff/Flickr

During a time when the use of solar energy in America is at an all-time high, a new community development program has retrofitted nearly 90 homes in East L.A. with solar panels, attic insulation and a tankless water heater.

As reported by CBS Los Angeles, the Community Development Block Grant program provided the upgrades for free to single-family homes with an income of less than $67,000 in the L.A. County’s 1st District. The grant operator, Enterprise Community Partners, estimate the panels will eliminate 1200 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over their 30-year lifespan.