Southern California environment news and trends

California Native Plant Week is ready to bloom

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Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

This Sunday, April 15, kicks off the second annual California Native Plant Week, which continues through April 22. Established as a result of the California State Assembly and Senate approved Resolution ACR 173, the goal is that the week "encourages community groups, schools, and citizens to undertake appropriate activities to promote the conservation, restoration, and appreciation of California's native plants,” according to the California Native Plant Society’s website.

True to form, there are a wide variety of activities lined up to recognize the occasion. This Sunday, landscape professionals and hardcore gardeners will lead a 1.5 mile walking tour of native plant gardens in Oceanside. Next Saturday, April 21, there is a free wild flower show and native plant sale at the Sepulveda Garden Center in Encino.


Public transportation use on the rise across America

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David McNew/Getty Images

In 2011, Americans took a whopping 10.4 billion trips on various means of public transportation. According to an update from the American Public Transportation Association this week, that’s an increase of 2.3 percent from the year before. It’s also the largest that number has been since way back in 1957. It should come as no surprise that the top spot is still held by 2008, when the U.S. saw gasoline prices soar north of $4 per gallon. Sound familiar? 

“Two top reasons for the increased ridership are higher gas prices and in certain areas, a recovering economy with more people returning to work,” said Michael Melaniphy, the president and CEO of the APTA in a press release. “Since nearly sixty percent of trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes, it’s not surprising to see ridership increase in areas where the economy has improved.”