Southern California environment news and trends

Angelenos get open-access electric vehicle charging stations in Hollywood, Santa Monica

lacarguybegley Want an electric car — but fear your car will run out of juice and leave you stranded? Electric car enthusiasts will assure you that an overnight charge at home’s plenty of go for the average commuter and in-city driver, but cautious Angelenos got an extra jolt of assurance yesterday, thanks to the locally-famous LACarGuy. Drive your 2010 model electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle in to LACarGuy’s Toyota of Hollywood or Toyota of Santa Monica, and you can plug in — free of charge — at the dealership’s electric vehicle charging station.

That’s right — Angelenos got the very first open-access electric charging stations in the U.S., when actor Ed Begley, Jr. plugged in a plug-in Prius for the first ceremonial charge at Toyota of Hollywood yesterday. And you too can do as Ed did — simply by stopping by and plugging your plug-in or EV into either of the two Level 2 SAE J-1772 chargers in an electric emergency.

What are the chances you’ll be close enough to Toyota of Hollywood or Toyota of Santa Monica to take advantage of these charging stations when your car’s about to run out of juice? Well, that would depend on how often you’re driving in Hollywood or Santa Monica. But rest assured that more charging stations are coming — at least to Santa Monica. LACarGuy promises to add charging stations at Lexus Santa Monica and Fisker Santa Monica soon.

Why’s LACarGuy doing this? And does an actual LACarGuy exist? Yes, he does — and his name’s Mike Sullivan, president of LACarGuy. Back in July, I asked Mike about his plans to install these chargers. Here’s what he said:

We thought it was unfair to only sell a product. We thought you had to be involved in the infrastructure, and changing people’s driving habits. And if you only sell something, you don’t really effect change.

So I bought seven chargers this week and we’re installing them next week. Two at Toyota Santa Monica, two at Toyota Hollywood, one at Lexus Santa Monica, one at Fisker Santa Monica, and one at my house. So now, we’re going to open those up not only to our clients, but anybody who needs a charge. So we’ll have the ability for someone who buys a Nissan to stop by and come by and have a cup of coffee and visit for an hour, and get at least enough charge to go drive their 20, 30, 40 miles, whatever their car takes to get back home.

I think it’s just one of those little things, candidly, that we have to do to truly allow people to have the ability to change. You can’t make it difficult for people. Even if they like it, they can afford the car, you still have to make it easy for them to do it, to live it.

If those new public chargers make you more interested in getting a plug-in or electric car, you can check out the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and other electricity-sipping cars at the upcoming 2010 LA Auto Show.

Photo of Mike Sullivan, President of LAcarGUY, with actor Ed Begley, Jr. at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the electric vehicle charging station at Toyota of Hollywood (Credit: Julie C. May)

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Morning greens: L.A. looks at life outside the car

The U.S. EPA plans to reject San Joaquin Valley and the South Coast District’s pollution reduction plans. Why? NY Times’ Green reports that the EPA’s regional office found “the science supporting the air districts’ plans of action was inadequate,” among other issues.

bikesontheroad morning greens

Harrassing an L.A. cyclist could soon cost you cash. LAist reports that the L.A. City Council will today consider creating an ordinance “making it a civil violation of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, including a fine of up to $1,000, for anyone to harass, threaten, or assault a bicyclist.” KCRW’s Shortcut has more details on the history of this proposed ordinance.

Santa Monica holds a town hall meeting to make bicycling safer. The city’s Recreation and Parks Commission’s Bicycle Committee held a meeting on Monday to start addressing the high incidence of bike and pedestrian accidents. “Recreation and Parks Commissioner Richard McKinnon opened the meeting by noting that the California Office of Traffic Safety found that Santa Monica was ranked third in the state for 2008 for bike accidents and number one for pedestrian accidents in the same year when compared to other state cities of similar size,” reports SM Mirror.

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Is the best defense to climage change a good offense? Or is it God?

Politico had a story the other day about John Shimkus, a Republican congressman from Illinois "signalling his desire" to be in charge of the Energy and Commerce committee in the new Congress. I thought he sounded familiar: yep. In a hearing last year of a House subcommittee, he invoked God as the best and perhaps only defense against climate change:

First, he noted God’s post-Flood promise to Noah in Genesis 8:21-22.
“Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though all inclinations of his heart are evil from childhood and never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done.
“As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease.”
“I believe that’s the infallible word of God, and that’s the way it’s going to be for his creation,” Shimkus said.

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Green picks: Eco Echo Park, green biz meetups, etc.

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

ecoechopark eventsTue, 11/9: Get to know your fellow eco-preneurs at Green Business Networking over organic nibbles and drinks. The casual social event happens from 6 pm to 9 pm at Berkeley Mills, 1330 4th St., Santa Monica. Cost: $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

Thu, 11/11: The Burbank Green Alliance will host a film screening and discussion on Toxins in Your Home. Watch eco-documentary “Chemerical: Redefining Clean for a New Generation” and Annie Leonard’s “Story of Cosmetics,” then hear a talk titled “Toxins, Your Health, & the Answers” by nutritionist Rachel Avalon. The event happens from 7:30 pm to 10 pm at Fletcher Jones Auditorium, Woodbury University 7500 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank. Cost: $5-$10 suggested donation at the door. RSVP to info@burbankgreenalliance.org.

Thu, 11/11: Photographers and documentarians Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson will present “In the Footsteps of Giants: The Last Stand of the African Elephant” and talk about the dwindling population of elephants. The free event begins at 6:30 pm at the Annenberg Space for Photography. RSVP required.

Sun, 11/14: Get a guided tour of the L.A. River with Hidden L.A.’s South LA River Tacos & Paletas Tour. You’ll get to see the river from Downtown LA to the River’s mouth in Long Beach. The day-long tour goes from 8:30 am to 4 pm. Meet at the L.A. River Center, 570 W. Avenue Twenty-six, Los Angeles, to form carpools. Cost: $25.

Sun, 11/14: Tour 10 eco-fied homes and gardens at Eco Echo Park: Urban Sustainable Living Home and Garden Tour. The event goes from 11 am to 4 pm, starting at Williams Hall, 2000 Stadium Way, Los Angeles. Cost: $15 in advance, $20 on day of event.

Tue., 11/16: Sustainable Business Council LA presents Tools & Tips for Building a Sustainable Business — “an evening of insightful discussion about how to get: SBA loans, angel investors, corporate sponsors, affordable yet good IP/business attorneys, marketing, social media strategies and ultimately a successful, sustainable business model.” RSVP required. Cost: $25.

Send event suggestions to Siel at greenlagirl@gmail.com.

Photo: A home on the Eco Echo Park tour (Courtesy of Eco Echo Park)

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Environmental regrouping: on the California model

From the weekend: Greentech money and venture capitalists may have defeated proposition 23, but environmental cause took a shellacking (thanks Prez O, and check this story from my pals at NPR on the meaning of the term) everyplace else, just about. The National Journal reports that the national environmental policy lobby is looking to taste a little bit of that victory - and the green backing enviro causes in California. In other words, Tom Steyer and friends might get turned upside down and shaken once again. "[T]he green groups ... hope to join forces with — and perhaps be bankrolled by — the coalition of clean technology executives who just raised nearly $30 million in a successful effort to defeat a California ballot initiative that would have gutted the state’s cap-and-trade law." More:

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