Southern California environment news and trends

L.A. County bans plastic bags

plasticbagintree L.A. County bans plastic bags

It’s official! The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to ban plastic bags this morning.

“We spend $18 Million a year to clean up and prevent litter in Los Angeles County,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas in today’s press release about the Board’s decision. “This bold measure is an economically and environmentally sustainable alternative to such a wasteful habit.”

Neighborhoods in Los Angeles County unincorporated areas will no longer get single-use plastic bags (except those thinner produce bags) at supermarkets and large retail pharmacies come July 1, 2011, and at liquor stores and food marts by January 1, 2012. Paper bags, so long as they’re made with 40% post-consumer recycled waste and 100% recyclable, will be available — for 10 cents each, with the money collected going to pay for the cost of the bags themselves, as well as the cost of complying with the ban and of educating customers about reusable bag use.


Green picks: Great L.A. Walk, 350 Earth, green biz tips, and more

Where to go, what to do, how to green. Our event picks for the coming week:

greatlawalk events

Tue., 11/16: Get “Tools & Tips for Building a Sustainable Business” at Sustainable Business Council Los Angeles’ next event. A panel of experts will discuss everything from SBA loans to social media strategies while attendees mingle and nibble on snacks and organic drinks. The event happens at Valcucine, 9030 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, from 7 pm to 10 pm. Cost: $25 advance tickets.

Wed., 11/17: Organized by Move LA and the Los Angeles Business Council, the annual Mayoral Sustainable Housing and Transportation Summit will focus on building sustainable communities this year. The daylong event happens at Korn Hall, UCLA Anderson School of Business, Los Angeles from 7:30 am – 2 pm. General admission tickets cost $250 each.


Morning greens: Toll lanes, condor trouble, and Schwarzenegger's climate summit

schwarzeneggerSchwarzenegger is at the Governors’ Global Climate Summit in Davis, “where representatives from more than 80 regional and local governments have come together for two days to try to figure out ways to reduce emissions and put the brakes on climate change,” according to Gretchen Weber of KQED’s Climate Watch.

L.A. could get more freeway toll lanes to reduce congestion in a plan that includes more clean energy buses, reports LA Times. “A preliminary study by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has recommended that five locations be explored in detail for the installation of high-occupancy toll lanes or so-called HOT lanes.”

What now for the West Hollywood Transit Corridor? Since the Metro Board’s decided to go with Westside Subway Extension plans that don’t include a “pink line” down Santa Monica Blvd., Dan Wentzel examines the possibilities for a “Hollywood-WestHollywood-SanVicente-Crenshaw-LAX-SouthBay-LongBeach light rail line” in Streetsblog LA.

New hurdle for California Condors may be DDT from years ago, reports NY Times.

In national news: At least one green energy measure will see congressional action this week, reports Greenwire.

However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to announce an agenda that attacks federal energy regulations this week, reports LA Times. And a climate change skeptic seeks to be the next House Energy and Commerce committee chairman, reports NY Times’ Green.

Lastly and frugally: Can tourists visit L.A. for $100 a day? Yes, says a NY Times writer who got to know L.A. by bicycle. “Seven days and six nights without a car turned out to be not only possible but in many ways afforded me a more unfiltered view of Los Angeles than I would have gotten behind the wheel, taking highways rather than local roads and further buffered from my surroundings by a windshield and a loud radio.”

Photo: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)


L.A. Eco-Village: Living green in the city

Our weekly Everyday Heroes series highlights one remarkable local environmentalist a week — but often, these environmentalists are remarkable in more than one green way. Take Joe Linton, for example. His Everyday Heroes profile focuses on his work with the L.A. River — specifically kayaking down the whole waterway! But Joe’s not only a river activist but a bicycle and green living activist as well.


If you’re curious about how an Everyday Hero lives, watch our 4.5-minute companion video about Joe Linton and his environmental activism. The video starts at the L.A. River — Joe talks about how the waterway can serve as a “connective tissue running through the neighborhoods” — but quickly moves on to the Los Angeles Eco-Village, an intentional green living community where Joe lives!


Everyday Heroes: Jane C. Doe, anonymous pubtran rider & blogger

Could you get out of your car and get to where you need to go for six months in Los Angeles? Jane C. Doe has: she's halfway through an experiment to go 180 days carless in LA - and writes a blog of the same name.

"Jane" came to LA from a southern state to work in the entertainment industry. She says you can usually find her in West Hollywood, though I suppose you'd have to know what she looks like. She does "editing, producing, writing, (and a bit o' directing) in both the long and short-form world." Her posts on her blog are loaded with references to art and architecture, design and dance. And her challenge to skip driving a car in L.A. is a self-imposed one: this isn't a bet or a contest.

Jane's not a full-time activist. You wouldn't pass her going into a supermarket, holding a clipboard and looking for your signature. (And she didn't trade in her car for a bike, like someone did at Tour de Fat, either.) She's just a woman working in Los Angeles, figuring out how to live and move around on LA's busses and trains - everyday.