Southern California environment news and trends

Teambuilding Exercises, Harrison Ford & Protests

Harrison Ford just told the audience in here that we're all members of Team Earth. "We're members of the team. The only question is whether we'll get off our butts and get in the game." I'm not sure the protesters agree that there is no I in team. They definitely don't think Arnold Schwarzenegger is on their side.

Already it seems we've got more clusters of opponents here at the Governor's Global Climate Summit 2. We started this morning with fishermen who want Schwarzenegger to know they're not really interested in Marine Protected Areas in the South Coast Region. I've been covering that process, and hearing plenty along the way from environmental groups, conservation groups, scientists, fishermen inside and outside their industry lobbies, spearfishermen, surfers. Including the California Fisheries Coalition, which has worked in and around the process actively. It's rare, though, to see people still, at this point, asking for no marine protected areas at all. For a couple of reasons: first, we're well underway with the implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act in other parts of the state, notably the Central Coast. And second, because this process has been remarkably collaborative, relative to other regional management efforts.


Schwarzenegger's Climate 2: Electric Boogaloo

Today I'm catching up with what's going down internationally, nationally, and locally in climate change news - at the swank Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. Don't yet know if it's an upgrade from last year, but so far what's fancier are the programs (spiral bound, 4 color) and delegate swag (eco friendly tote and water bottle, at a minimum).

I'm traditionally skeptical about these events. When I was in law school I worked at my fair share of events with large badges where people wore suits, one of them an environment and ecotrade conference in Beijing. But even if this is as much about private business opportunity as it is about public policy, it's something I've got to keep track of. More coming in the next three days.


DWP and Solar: Let the sun shine...

The LA Department of Water and Power took a little bit of a beating with the defeat of Measure B back in March. DWP’s political opponents crowed victory; the utility’s chief, David Nahai, told me immediately that Solar LA would move forward anyway.

And it is.

Now DWP is launching a series of six workshops around the city to get public input about solar energy plans. They're recordin' and facilitatin' and generally takin' note of what people say. But there's no specific action that will come out of it; DWP's board can approve a course of action, regardless. The flyer is long on locations; it's short on specific details about what they'll do with people's input. But you can't know if you don't go.

Wednesday, September 16
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Expo Center
3980 S. Menlo Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90037


Yes, you can...have a garden in the fall

A preview of coming attractions: Last month, amid Katrina madness, I talked with a lot of very enthusiastic folks about community gardening. Which happens to be on the rise, what with the financial apocalypse and all.

Their summer harvests are ending. But fall planting is underway - wonderful lettuces, among them. Yes, I know that's not what's in the picture. I'm just excited about lettuce season, okay?

In the coming days, I'll have some stories about community gardens bursting at the seams, with crops, demand, community, musicians, artists, social networking, dogs and cats, living together. Check back for more!


An interview with "Matthew Glass," author of Ultimatum

Earlier I confessed to my fascination with climate change fiction - visions of a future global warming-driven apocalypse, in film and in books. Reading Ultimatum made me want to talk to the author. Unfortunately, that's hard to do, since he's writing under a pen name. His publisher agreed to send "Matthew Glass" questions, though.

Some of the characters in Ultimatum seem inspired by current political figures. Are they? Or are you projecting where the world might be some decades into the future?

I guess some people might see certain parallels between Joe Benton [ed.- the fictional U.S. President in 2032] and Barack Obama (although clearly there are also many differences in the profiles). If there are such parallels, they’re fortuitous. I wrote the first draft of ULTIMATUM in the winter of 06/07 when we were still deep in the Bush presidency and Hilllary Clinton (with whom Benton has very few parallels) was hot favourite for the Democratic nomination. I don’t think I was much aware of Obama as a candidate with serious potential at that stage – I don’t think anyone else was either!