Southern California environment news and trends

San Francisco tops list of US cities with most eco-friendly services

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Daniel Romero plants flats of plants on the living roof of the new California Academy of Sciences building in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California.

San Francisco has long been a pioneer in urban environmentalism, including being the first American city to ban single-use plastic bags. A new survey finds that the city by the Bay is the country’s most environmentally friendly location — literally.

As reported by Treehugger, website Thumbtack.com rated America’s largest cities in terms of the “highest per-capita prevalence of eco-friendly services,” ranging from green architects to housecleaners who only use biodegradable, non-chemical cleaning agents. When the dust cleared, the top three spots were all in the Bay area: San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.

“These rankings match up well with other city rankings for sustainability. Nine of the top ten cities on our list are also cited by the National Resources Defense Council as examples of smarter cities,” said the report, which is not without a sense of humor.

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Celebrating sustainable California wines

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John Rabe

California has long been recognized for producing some of the finest wines in the world. Now there’s a new campaign that shines a spotlight on the wealth of sustainable winemaking practices throughout the state.

A host of winemakers and growers have come together for "California Wines: Down to Earth,” a month-long and statewide event that will include eco-focused vineyard tours and wine tastings, “green wine trails,” hands-on workshops and wine and food festivals to celebrate Earth Day, which falls on Sunday, April 22 this year.

"These experiences make April a great time to learn about our California wines and the environmentally and community-friendly practices used to grow and produce them," said Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute (who created the campaign) in a press release. "More than two-thirds of California's wine-grape growers and winemakers have adopted our sustainable program and participation is increasing, making ours one of the most widely adopted in the wine world."

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Leonardo DiCaprio launches sustainable coffee line for charity

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It wasn’t all that long ago that Paul Newman was the first (and last) name in charitable food lines. Launching Newman’s Own back in 1982, he famously directed all of the proceeds from his salad dressings, lemonade and the like to charity, with an emphasis on “conservation and ecology and things like that.”

Now, you can’t launch a web browser without seeing another celebrity shilling foodstuffs, especially when it comes to caffeinated gold, coffee. It was only a few months ago that Hugh Jackman introduced his Laughing Man brand of “charity coffee” as well as a Manhatten café.

Not to be outdone, young(er) Hollywood is getting into the act. Leonardo DiCaprio has partnered with the coffee roasters of La Colombe Torrefaction to introduce Lyon, a high-end coffee blend. 100% of the profits from the sales of Lyon will go environmental charities already supported by the Leonardi DiCaprio foundation.

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Sustainable L.A. after dark: Eco-barhopping with Riding Green

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There’s a famous scene in the movie Swingers where Vince Vaughn and his entourage head out for a night of partying. The punch line comes when each guy hops in a different car to caravan towards the evening’s debauchery.

16 years after the release of Swingers, and L.A. is still notorious for congestion (among the worst in the country) and too many cars with just one passenger. It’s environmentally crushing, and becomes deadly on the roads when alcoho factors into the situation (which it does far too often).

Thankfully, the progressive party people of grassroots L.A. organization Riding Green are on the case. With a mission of encouraging more people to utilize public transportation when barhopping around town, they partner with different bars to create incentives. Specifically, discounts with proof of public transportation. Less stress on the environment and your wallet – everybody wins!

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When big companies do good things: Coors aims for world's largest landfill-free brewery

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(http://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/)

Bill Coors is something of an OG in the environmental world; disgusted with the empty cans he saw littering the landscape Colorado back in the late ‘50s, Coors was inspired to create seamless, recyclable cans. Coupled with a “Cash For Cans” program where Coors paid one cent per returned can, Coors opened the door for companies to take a personal responsibility in social concerns.

Having carried that tradition throughout the years to the point that all MillerCoors breweries reuse and/or recycle 99% of all wastes. With four of those breweries already achieving “zero to landfill” status, MillerCoors has set a new goal of their biggest brewery in Golden, CO, reaching that 100% mark as well.

“We’re aiming for 2015 to accomplish becoming a zero-to-landfill brewery but don’t be surprised if we hit that goal ahead of time,” says the Colorado Brewery’s Environmental Health and Science Engineer, Fred Linton in a press release. “We want to give our employees one more thing to be proud of when they come to work for MillerCoors at the Golden Brewery – and our customers yet another reason to pick up one of our great beers.”

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