NPR's Scott Simon is a former colleague (going back a decade now, yeesh) and I've been touched to hear the emotion in his voice as he talks about the emotional choice of adopting children that he and his wife have taken. But Lisa Hymas of Grist has actually read Scott's book (I haven't had a chance yet), and the following passage stood out to her:
Adopting a child to prove something is not a healthy motivation. I would seriously consider alerting the authorities if I heard a prospective parent say, "We want to adopt because it's the most environmentally responsible thing to do. Don't want to increase our carbon footprint, after all!"
Heck, it would stand out to me too. I don't know if anyone on earth has ever said those words. But the discussion she had with Scott Simon about his book - which you can read in full on Grist.org - touches on a larger converation I've heard brewing about population growth and the burden it places on the planet - an intersection of health, environment, political issues and economic ones that is one of those fundamental, hiding-in-plain-sight kind of questions - like campaign finance reform, in a way.
Until last month, I lived in Santa Monica and ran down California Ave. in the mornings for exercise. During the school year, I had to wake up earlier for my run to hit the road long before first bell — because the exhaust from the cars driving students to St. Monica’s High School was too much for my lungs!
While I could avoid the air pollution by waking up at the crack of dawn, all the students at that school were, of course, breathing the exhaust I avoided every morning. Which is why I was really glad to hear about an event happening tomorrow, Wed., Oct. 13: Santa Monica Bike it! and Walk it! Day.
As you may have guessed, the goal of Bike it! and Walk it! Day is simple: To get students to bike or walk to work, at least for a day. But the simple goal’s gone big this time around, growing from a Santa Monica High School event (video below of the March Bike it! event in Santa Monica) to a city-wide endeavor that’s signed up all the public schools — elementary, junior high, and high school — in Santa Monica.
A Sci-Arc competition creates a vision of L.A.’s Clean Tech Corridor, a currently dilapidated area downtown. The winning design “envisioned mushroom-like structures that look like massive street art but are actually solar-powered evaporators,” reports the LA Times.
Plans for the Expo rail station in downtown Santa Monica get detailed. See the concept rendering at Santa Monica Mirror, which reports that “the plaza designs are of great importance to increase access for users to major hubs such as hospitals and universities.”
Malibu Lagoon could go through a major restoration. “The Coastal Commission will consider on Wednesday a $7-million fix that would temporarily drain a 12-acre section of the lagoon to re-contour it, remove sediment and replant its banks with native plants in order to improve water circulation and ecological health,” reports LA Times. The project’s supported by many environmentalists, but opposed by some as too drastic a measure.
So, The American Spectator has a story about green jobs in California this week. Operative paragraph:
...where are all the green jobs? A new 2010 study by the University of California-Berkeley comes to the sobering conclusion that "the green economy accounts for just 1 percent of California's jobs." That's right: of the roughly 15 million California workers, only about 159,000 have green jobs (and this was an expansive definition of green jobs, including trash sorters at the dumpsters). That same study did find that green employment is "growing about 50 percent faster than the economy overall." But that's mostly a reflection of anemic job generation in California's industrial base, and not a sign that green jobs are going to sprout all over the state like avocado plants.
UC Berkeley believes the study in question is actually a 2009 study. Here's a page of research from the UC Berkeley Labor Center here. If they're right, I'd guess the Spectator's story was spurred on by Jon Coupal's editorial in the Business Journal back in February. Coupal wrote:
About 100,000 biked, walked, and played at CicLAvia yesterday — an event so sunny and surreal that it has everyone asking when the next CicLAvia will happen.
Luckily, while walking the route, I overheard Joe Linton, one of the organizers of CicLAvia, dishing on the future of CicLAvia to a small group of rapt cyclists (photo above; Joe is the helmetless tall guy in the blue hat and shirt). He said the plan is to have four CicLAvias next year — about one a month starting in August 2011.
To make sure Joe wasn’t being overenthusiastic due to a cycling high, I emailed him to confirm — which he did, with the caveat that the plan is as of yet an idea that’s not yet approved. Enthusiastically, Joe added he hopes for “4 or more” for next year — “and someday weekly like Bogota,” whose Ciclovias the L.A. event was modeled after.