Southern California environment news and trends

Santa Monica signs resolution towards sustainability bill of rights

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Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica

The city of Santa Monica has signed a new eco-positive resolution that aims to guarantee citizens a series of environmental rights based around sustainability — and the right to sue if they’re not met:

The right to clean, affordable and accessible water from sustainable water sources for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes; the right to a sustainable energy future based on sustainable renewable energy sources; the right to a sustainable natural climate unaltered by fossil fuel emissions…the right to clean indoor and outdoor air, clean water and clean soil that pose a negligible health risk to the public; and the right to a sustainable food system that provides healthy, locally grown food to the community…

So goes the ambitious new bill, which builds on Santa Monica’s already robust commitment to environmentalism, with the city’s first sustainability plan established back in 1994. Presented to city council this past January, the bill passed unanimously and will be reintroduced as an ordinance for another vote before the end of the year.

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Sustainable garden planned for Manhattan Beach post office

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In an effort to encourage sustainability and water conservation, the Manhattan Beach city council has approved a new sustainable garden to be installed in front of the post office at 15th Street and Valley Drive. The update is not without controversy, however, as the landscape renovation will require the removal of two 30-year-old trees. (The city’s arborist, on top of having a really cool job, has determined that one of the trees is already dead and the other is diseased and dying).

Started by the Manhattan Beach Environmental Task Force and continued by Leadership Manhattan Beach, a non-profit community organization, the $20,000 renovation will feature more sustainable foliage like deer grass and coffee berry. A new drip irrigation system looks to reduce the garden’s water usage by as much as 70%.

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IBM, Coca-Cola and more lead new corporate sustainability council

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Tech giant IBM and the World Environment Center (WEC) announced today the development of the Innovations in Environmental Sustainability Council. Made up of global corporate giants like Coca-Cola, Boeing, GM, Disney and more, this new council is committed to finding new solutions to sustainability issues into every aspect of their business: energy, water, infrastructure, materials, etc.

“As part of IBM's broad based commitment to environmental leadership, we are always interested in how today's best practices can transform sustainability in business,” explained Wayne Balta, IBM's Vice President of Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety in the press release. “Innovation goes a long way to accelerate sustainability, and we look forward to collaborating with other like-minded companies.”

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San Jose among '10 Sustainable Cities To Watch'

Everyone loves a list. Ranking, rating, arranging – there’s something about putting things in a neat, numerical sequence to bring a little sense of order to the world.

The start of a new year is always a great time to make lists. Having already categorized the year that was, now is when we start looking forward and making predictions of what is yet to come. Which is why I was excited to peruse environmental blog Triple Pundits list of the 10 Sustainable Cities to Watch in 2012.

It’s an exotic list that spans the globe, including Doha, Qatar, and Accra, Ghana. It’s so much so that only two American cities make the list: my beloved Detroit, MI and our very own neighbors in San Jose, CA. Focusing on the city’s light rail system and robust Green Vision Goals, they term San Jose “one of the greenest, cleanest and safest cities in the USA.” (The blog also a point to call L.A.’s sustainability a miserable failure). 

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Walmart goes green with new sustainable website

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Whether it’s your dirty little early morning secret to save a few bucks when nobody’s looking, the place you proudly shop to take advantage of those notoriously deep discounts or somewhere in between, everybody seems to have an opinion (and a rather strong one at that) about Walmart. It’s usually not very positive, considering websites like “People of Walmart” or the PR nightmare that results when an idiot customer decides to pepper-spray the place for a waffle iron. Obviously, the real people of Walmart who run the company are well of their public perception, and they’re ready to change it.

Leading with the mission statement: “Together, we will create a more sustainable world to help people live better”, Walmart has launched a new blog called “The Green Room” to start an open dialogue with those “who want to share ideas and partner with us in helping people live better lives around the world”.

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