Southern California environment news and trends

Greening faith

A month and a half ago Heal the Bay's Mark Gold wrote on his Spouting Off blog:

I’ve always been struck by the fact that so much of the local environmental leadership is Jewish (Andy Lipkis, Felicia Marcus, David Nahai, Adi Liberman,  Fran Diamond, Madelyn Glickfeld, the late Dorothy Green, Sara Wan, David Beckman, Laurie David, and so many more). Clearly, the importance of social action in the community means a lot more than Tikkun Olam and Tu Bishvat.

He had a religious experience at temple, of all places:

Joel asked simply: “How can we claim that our righteousness flow like a mighty stream when our streams have been flowing to create destruction or our streams have dried up?”
Because my life has been water for many years, the rabbi’s words resonated with me strongly. His powerful use of the water analogy and connecting to the impacts of climate change on water were extraordinary.

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Morning greens: Wilshire bus-only lanes, sunburned whales, toxic blowouts

What is Los Angeles’ green future? “In a way, because Los Angeles is so complex, so diverse, so big — that if you can get a sustainability process underway, if you can make Los Angeles sustainable, then you can do it anywhere," says Futurist Jamais Cascio, before warnng “The worst case scenario for Los Angeles is….” Watch the 15-minute video below to find out what that sad scenario may be.

Wish the Metro Rapid 720 bus moved down Wilshire Blvd. more rapidly? Metro’s The Source blog announces Metro staff’s new recommendations for rush hour bus-only lanes on Wilshire, running the 8.7 miles between Centinela and South Park view between 7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 7 pm on weekdays.

Brazilian Blowout gets sued for formaldehyde content by Calif. Attorney General. The company’s popular hair-straightening treatments are now under attack, after numerous salon workers complained about health problems. No More Dirty Looks blog has a copy of a formal complaint, which alleges that “high levels of formaldehyde” are found in the company’s products, which are marketed as containing no formaldehyde or harsh chemicals.”

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Council steps into DWP's solar incentives discussion

A challenging part of having the highest profile, most politicized utility in the state is that more people make decisions together - and so it goes with solar incentives. The city council vote was 11 in favor of reviewing the scheduled step-down in incentives. LAT's David Zahniser blogs:

Councilman Paul Koretz agreed that the DWP's solar program, which currently has 1,500 applications, has been a "victim of its own success." But he said he had received dozens of calls from residents, business owners and environmentalists who warned that the reductions, which are slated to go into effect Jan. 1, are too much too soon.

"From everything we've been hearing from the environmental community, this would pretty much gut the program," said Koretz, who represents a district that takes in much of the Westside.

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Morning greens: LA Free store, GM salmon, cool cats

freesign Morning greensHave no money and nothing to do this fine Saturday? The first LA Free Store will pop up today, Sat. Nov. 13 in Eagle Rock. Stop by outside the Casa Princessa Cafe between 10 am and 2 pm today “to get some goods, services, and smiles,” says LAist. Take your no longer used stuff with you so fellow Angelenos have a chance to give the goods some reuse.

Two San Joaquin Valley farmers want to sell their water to developers. From NY Times’ Green: “The farmers pay a maximum of $500 per acre-foot of water from the state water project, KFSN-TV reported. But the Tejon Ranch is paying the farmers $5,850 an acre-foot, meaning that the sellers will net $11.7 million. ”

The genetically-modified salmon debate heats up. As the FDA considers approving GE salmon for human consumption, the Center for Food Safety says the FDA “knowingly withheld a Federal Biological Opinion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) prohibiting the use of transgenic salmon in open-water net pens pursuant to the U.S. Endangered Species Act.” Grist reports on the debate in a less jargon-y, more lay-reader-friendly summary post.

Americans don’t know much about genetically-modified food — but are wary of it, reports NPR. “More than 80 percent of people with a college degree say they were aware that some modified food is on the market. By contrast, only 45 percent with a high school education or less knew that.”

In BP Oil Spill news: Oil burned after the spill didn’t create cancer risks, according to new studies from the EPA. “The reports are the latest in a series suggesting that some of the lingering effects of the BP spill and cleanup have been milder than feared,” reports NY Times’ Green. Meanwhile, three Republicans say the BP oil spill report was manipulated, reports NY Times.

Lastly and cattily: Cats drink very efficiently, says an MIT engineer. Reports LA Times: “Unlike dogs — who use their tongues like ladles, scooping water into their mouths in a characteristically straightforward manner — cats apply an instinctive understanding of fluid mechanics to take the biggest sips.”

Photo: takomabibelot/Flickr

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E-waste wanted: America Recycles Day comes to L.A. Live 11/15

recyclebins

Recycling’s the third of the three R’s — and arguably a lot less important than the first two R’s, reducing and reusing. And in fact, some environmentalists will argue that companies’ pro-recycling messages are actually smart ways of greenwashing — that excuses the same companies’ refusal to reduce and reuse! Old(er) Pacific Swell readers may remember that back in the day, beer and soda bottles got reused. As Heather Rogers exposed in her essay “Message in a Bottle” (published in “Trash“), companies decided they’d make more money by making us buy new containers with every drink, then funded Keep America Beautiful, smartly putting the cost and responsibility of dealing with the extra trash on consumers and taxpayers.

Sill, recycling’s a big part of L.A.’s landfill waste reduction strategy and an important part of environmentally conscious living. That’s why in downtown L.A., America Recycles Day‘s going to be celebrated on Monday in grand style — with lots of “interactive stations” sponsored by large corporations at L.A. Live!

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