Fixing the LA River Part 1b

It's a start but it's not the end

The LA River got a little closer to its roots as the official boating program got launched today. The unofficial program has been going for years and it is the reason why the LA River is where it is today. The activists who have risked arrest by hitting the river are the real heroes and they deserve the praise and less those who have hidden behind non-existent laws to promote the boating program. On the day of this event the Canadians who hit the river in February for the sole purpose of exploring LA River were being paddled in court in Van Nuys for their transgressions. Their crime? Setting foot and boat in the LA River. Their charges? Loitering and trespassing.

The LA River will become the LA River when it is fully restored to what it once was: the heart and soul of LA. Please contact me at if you want to become a part of the next wave of truly cleaning up the LA River.

Let’s Get Vertical?

It’s spring and many are getting their gardens on.  Many Angelenos, however, do not have access to soil…the ground, so they resign themselves to be garden less.   The world’s population is rapidly expanding and god ain’t growing any more land so we have to figure out another way to grow.  Plants need air, sun, water and nutrients to grow – the nutrients come from the soil.  The nutrients don’t have to come from the soil.  You probably have heard of hydroponics – sounds kind of head shop – but it’s not…well, it is about growing plants without soil…I guess that is how some grow weed.   You can have a great garden in your apartment, condo, Mc Mansion without soil using a hydroponic system.

Here is how great it can be:

The vid tells you how you do it all y’all:

Peddling for Dollars

Gas prices are going up again and are only going to get worse as we head into summer.  Some people are now using their bikes to get around town and reaping the benefits of saving money on gas and getting some exercise at the same time.   While LA is definitely dominated by das auto, it is not difficult to imagine a future LA where cycles and cars truly share the road.`

That future is realized in the LA Master Bike Plan.  Kudos to the LA County Bike Coalition, Mayor Villaraigosa, Ed Reyes, and other cycling advocates who shaped the recently approved plan.   There are many, many miles of new bike lanes in the new plan and a variety of other goodies that will definitely push LA forward on the biking front.  You can check out the plan at:

Does LA Need a Little Vitamin G?

LA has a serious shortage of green space and green people. Several studies have indicated that access to green space has many health benefits. With greenspace comes stress reduction, physical activity and social cohesion, and,…gardens, and sometimes even urban farms. What? Farms in LA? How unnatural.

A recent Dutch study looked at 250,000 people and their proximity to green spaces and tabulated their perceived health status. The key finding was a steady decline in the percentage of people perceiving their health to be less than good as the percentage of green space within 3 km of where they lived rose, and that was after controlling statistically for demographic and socioeconomic factors and population density itself (urbanity). The researchers conclude that their study shows that green space should be considered to be more than just a luxury. Darn tootin’. It is essential to life…or at least healthy living.

Euros are of course way out ahead of us on this. The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment ( estimates that Hyde Park in central London contributes 10% to the physical activity of 100,000 people living nearby and that such activity probably saves the British economy £3 million (about $4.2 million) in a year and the National Health Service £600,000.

The LA River is a natural for green space development. Attend a LA River Revitalization Corp meeting and have a say in the future green of your LA River. For more info go to:

Making Sense of the Blue Bin

Recycling.  Great.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Got it.  Makes perfect sense.  Instead of throwing everything into a landfill let’s try to use some of it.  Okay.  Can we do this?  Is everything recyclable?  Where are these things recycled?  Does somebody have a magic wand that turns all that stuff in the blue bin into new bottles,…or new boxes,…or new magic wands?  The last magic wand I bought was thrown into the recycling bin because it didn’t work.  I am sorry, but recycling plastic, for the most part, does not work.

I was recently almost hit by a LA City sanitation recycling truck and it got me thinking about this whole recycling business.  We used to have one truck pick up everything, but now we have three.  Hmmmmm.  What is that doing to the environment?  What is the cost of all this recycling – the sorting, transportation, and storage?  Maybe we should be using that money for some other environmental good? Unfortunately, a lot of what we put in the blue bin does not get a new life.  Much of the plastic takes a long boat to China and does not make it back to our sunny shores.
Certain requirements must be met for recycling to be economically feasible and environmentally effective.  These include an adequate source of recyclates, a system to extract those recyclates from the waste stream, a nearby factory capable of reprocessing the recyclates, and a potential demand for the recycled products.  Sending plastic discards to China to be discarded there makes close to zero sense and I think we are smarter than that.  We need to stop buying, when possible, items wrapped in plastic.  More details to follow in my next post.

C’est La Vie Plastique

AB 1998 heads for vote to the California Senate this week and when it passes -it still needs your pressure to pass – it will forever change how us Californian’s retail.  After July 1, 2011 stores will be prohibited from providing a plastic carryout bag to a customer.  The bill would require a store, on and after July 1, 2011 to either make reusable bags available for purchase by the customer or provide a paper carryout bag that is subject to the green bag fee that would be imposed by the bill.
The bill would require a store to charge a green bag fee of not
less than $0.25 for each paper carryout bag distributed at the point
of sale.  The bill would establish the Paper Bag Pollution Cleanup
Fund in the State Treasury and would require a store to remit these
fees, less a specified amount, to the State Board of Equalization for
deposit in that fund.
The bill would…wait a second…this is getting too boring…
Here’s the bottom line: If you want to help make single use bags and their inherent problems go away then go to the Heal the Bay website and follow their lead:

Get Your Feet Wet

A motion to establish a boating program in the Los Angeles River, where boating and other water contact activities are prohibited, was recently introduced by Councilman Ed P. Reyes (CD-1).  The program would allow kayaking, rafting and other non-motorized boating on the river for the first time.  The motion directs affected City, county and environmental groups, in coordination with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, to report to the Ad Hoc River Committee in 90 days on the feasibility of establishing a pilot non-motorized boating program for the 32-mile stretch of the L.A. River that lies within the City’s boundaries.  Reyes’ motion further calls for staff to address legal and financial issues, public access, public safety training, education and other matters with respect to water contact activities at the L.A. River.
If you want to take part then here is your link:

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