Archive: Apr 2015

  1. Rip it Out!

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    Now that most of us have recovered from Tax Day in some form or fashion, it’s time to celebrate Earth Day. To honor the 45th annual celebration of the Earth and environmentalism, we’re launching the Green Edition of The Sustainable Development Report. And we’re starting out by stating the obvious:  it’s time to rip out your lawn, especially if you live in the arid West.  As our lead article notes, there are ample programs and incentives to encourage you to reduce water use, improve your  local ecosystem, and save some serious cash. So if you still have a lawn, take this opportunity to reimagine your outdoor space as a haven for birds and bees searching for drought-tolerant plants on which to alight.  But as you’ll see from our other articles this month, we think Earth Day is not just about birds, bees, and bugs.  It’s also about promoting equity, rethinking our relationship to nature, and considering how we can wisely and sustainably (re-)use our limited resources.  We’re heartened that LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s sustainability plan – “pLAn” – also puts equity at the center of its approach.  The document is smart, comprehensive, and aesthetically pleasing, so check it out. Happy 45th Birthday, Earth Day!


    Cecilia V. Estolano, Jennifer LeSar, Katherine A. Perez-Estolano

  2. Ditch the Lawn

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    In the wake of mandatory statewide water restrictions and the growing consensus that Californians need to plan for a more arid future, municipalities and water districts are looking to curb urban water use. Rising water rates and dwindling supplies are making lush, expansive lawns an increasingly unsustainable luxury in the West. Popular rebate programs that encourage homeowners and businesses to remove their lawns are expanding. But is it time to put rules in place to limit or even eliminate turf in certain developments? (more…)

  3. Bringing Equity to Transportation’s Sharing Economy

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    Bicycle sharing networks, car share services, and ride hailing applications have been touted as a new means to reduce our reliance on the automobile and give people more mobility options. Unfortunately, the promise of the sharing economy hasn’t been realized by all communities. In California, where communities of color are disproportionately affected by transportation-related pollution, there’s a growing movement to ensure that low-income neighborhoods and vulnerable populations benefit from the state’s investments in clean transportation. How can policy-makers and advocates use this momentum to bring car share and bicycle share services to low-income Californians? (more…)

  4. Curbing Food Waste

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    According to the EPA, food is the largest component of waste going into American landfills, with an estimated 40 percent of our food supply ending up in the trash. Over time, food in our landfills decomposes and releases methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than CO2. Those figures are startling enough, but when you consider the amount of resources that we dedicate to food production, the trends seem especially reckless. Food production consumes “10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States.” So what can we do to make better use of these resources and reduce food waste? State and local policy innovation are proving that there are effective ways to reduce and divert food waste along the entire farm-to-table supply chain. (more…)

  5. A Portrait of California 2014-2015

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    California’s economic engines are roaring back to life, but not everyone benefits from living and working in the world’s eighth largest economy. Measure of America measured human development metrics to assess the economic and social well-being of Californians living in the Golden State’s diverse regions. (more…)

  6. Job Opportunities with LADOT and LA County Department of Public Health

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    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) and Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) are partnering to hire new staff to assist in the development of a Vision Zero Policy and Implementation Program, which will prioritize the reduction of all traffic fatalities on LA City streets. Staff will assist in the development of a Transportation and Health Database that will help to inform project identification, prioritization, and evaluation. Follow the link for more information. (more…)