Category Archives: environment

Help Machine Project Build A Forest

forestStill wondering what this mysterious Machine Project you’ve heard people mention is all about? Not convinced that they do some really cool stuff there and that you might be missing out? Personally, I’ve been entertained, amused, educated, enlightened, and occasionally even bewildered by events at the little gallery in Echo Park. Outside of their ongoing variety of events, I’ve participated in competitions, taken classes, and donated money. I really can’t think of any other place where art, technology, pirate songs, craft, gatherings of dorks, and deep fried foods all come together so brilliantly.

For the month of April, Machine Project is undertaking what promises to be its most impressive installation yet. Artists Christy McCaffrey and Sara Newey will be turning Machine into a forest. The Magic Forest “will evolve, getting spookier and spookier as the weeks pass, until at the end of the month it is a totally scary haunted forest…A regular schedule of lectures, readings and performances will also continue to take place in Machine Project throughout the month, staged inside the forest.” How awesome does that sound?

Read on to find out how you can help build the forest

ReForm School Girl

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I must have browsed inside ReForm School in Silver Lake countless times before I noticed that the store is focused on sustainable design and green living. With unique and functional accessories for the home and impeccably designed masterpieces (and no sign of hemp or tie dye anywhere!) on every shelf in the store, it’s hard to believe that my shopping habit is also saving the world.

Succulent Terrarium Class at ReForm School
Succulent Terrarium Class at ReForm School

You’re welcome, world. I also didn’t know that ReForm School offers a slate of fun evening classes designed for for adults. What better way is there to recycle my money than by feeding it back into my brain? You’re welcome, brain.

This month’s ReForm School class roster includes “Embroidery 101,” “Needlefelting 101,” “Sewing 101,” and lots of other courses that will teach you how to make such things as your own succulent terrarium, papier-mache bracelet, or even vintage charm jewelry. The best part is, you get to take home whatever it is you learn how to make. ReForm School also offers kid-friendly courses, see their web site for details.

I signed up for the Succulent Terrarium class on March 16, which teaches you how to re-purpose glass containers and plastic toys to make a diorama-style habitat for your succulent (all materials provided). Space is limited, so if you want to join me you better go online and sign up now. You can enroll and pay for all classes via Paypal or credit card here: Continue reading ReForm School Girl

Thermal Corruption

Places with actual weather
Places with actual weather
Since I’ve moved to Los Angeles–two “winters”, so called, so far–I’ve been overwhelmed by the creeping inability to withstand any actual weather that afflicts Angelenos. The “storms” this December drove in this observation. Partially via the rather breathless newscasters excitedly proclaiming the few inches of snow in some nearby mountains and slightly coolish temperature in Los Angeles and environs themselves, coming during some pleasantly mild rains. But really the observation strikes me hardest among my own friends and acquaintances.

I can understand well enough how natives to the area would be inexperienced with things like water coming from the sky, or temperatures falling to actual button-your-jacket levels. For that matter, the immigrants from similar or warmer climes, are equally excused of the corruption of this rant… Continue reading Thermal Corruption

Free Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs for L.A. DWP Customers

cfl_philipsEven if you didn’t get a free CFL for recycling a Christmas tree, you might still be in luck. The DWP is going door-to-door to its L.A. residential customers to give out compact fluorescent light bulbs. CFLs reduce energy costs while giving off the same amount of light as traditional incandescents. They last longer and use less fossil fuel produced electricity, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

I already use several of these in my home and will happily accept two more for free. My biggest complaint about the ones I have is that they take several seconds to “warm up” and emit their full light. I’ve read that some can take up to 3 minutes, but you can get CFLs now that have an “instant on” feature.

One other important note is that like all fluorescent bulbs, these do contain a small amount of mercury, so special care needs to go into disposal and clean up if one breaks. Both the City and County of Los Angeles offer hazardous materials recycling. If it’s more convenient, you can take them to any Home Depot.

I’m still waiting. Have you received your free compact fluorescents yet?

SGV e-waste round up Saturday 3/7/09

ewasteroundupRound up your dead and useless electronics, lithium ions that no longer hold a charge, even gunky old paint and bring it down to the E-waste and Hazardous waste round up in the SGV.  The round up is set to run from 9AM to 3PM at the Park and Ride Lot in Monrovia which located at Myrtle Avenue and Pomona, 1 1/2 blocks south of the 210 Freeway.

The full list of items you can bring is on the Monrovia City Web.  This is for your personal household items, not for businesses.  This is a joint venture with the LA County Project Pollution Prevention and open to all LA County residents.

Details.  March 7, 2009 9AM-3PM, Monrovia Park and Ride (Myrtle and Pomona Ave) Monrovia CA.  Enter the lot from Pomona Avenue.   Map link Here.

Bryter Layter

Sunset over Venice Beach/Marina Channel, 2/19/09, 6:05 p.m.
Sunset over Venice Beach/Marina Channel, 2/19/09, 6:05 p.m.

Although we have relatively mild winters in the Los Angeles area, we still get short days. Therefore, I became a bit giddy yesterday when, as my photo indicates, the sun did not fully set over Venice Beach/Marina Channel until 6 p.m. I assure you that my most bearable lightness of being had nothing to do with a certain iced and caffeinated beverage that ends in a vowel, followed by a caffeinated iced tea, that I had just imbibed.

It’s simply that the prospect of Spring and longer days makes me Snoopy dancing happy. It means the ability to partake in outdoor activities in the evening, or just to leave one’s office building for the day while it’s still light outside. I can’t wait to host a barbeque this late Spring or Summer and to cook without having to use my Energizer LED Nightlight camping lantern with its horrendous fluorescent light, which prevents me from determining whether the burgers are medium rare or medium burnt. Yes, Los Angeles, Spring is coming!

Ok, maybe the caffeine had a tiny effect.

Ripping Open the Dual L.A. Scabs of East Coast Hating and Weather Wussiness

Apres moi, le deluge
Apres moi, le deluge

Last night, I had my writer’s group over for a soiree, and a couple of people didn’t make it due to the rain.  I’m still getting used to the intense amount of discussion and hand-wringing in Los Angeles regarding rain.  And I don’t mean mudslides, I mean just driving on the highway.  Then my friend Chris, a fellow transplant from D.C. (a literal swamp where it rains all summer long) explained it thusly:

“Rain in L.A. is like snow in D.C.  We get an inch, and people become irrational.”

Maybe that’s it.

Vote on Solar Power in Los Angeles this March 3

On March 3, Los Angeles voters will be able to vote on a ballot measure that could significantly increase L.A.’s use of solar power.  So-called Measure B, the “Green Energy and Good Jobs for Los Angeles Program” (you want some crackers with that cheese?) would require the Department of Water and Power to “install, operate, maintain and repair and/or oversee the installation, operation, maintenance and repair of solar power installations within the City and on City-owned airports to meet specified goals regarding the production of electric generation ….”  The full text of Measure B is here.

Continue reading Vote on Solar Power in Los Angeles this March 3

So, Los Angeles, how do you like your winter season?

Palm Trees outside Union Station
Palm Trees outside Union Station, photo taken by yours truly!

That’s right, guys. It’s now February and Los Angeles has now experienced maybe–maybe–two weeks worth of winter. According to the National Weather Service, yesterday was a wonderful 77 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, with the rest of our fine city peaking in the mid 80s. In the middle of winter.

How are you enjoying our notoriously fine weather?

Help save the Semi Tropic Spiritualists’ Tract!

This lot would be a steep vacant slope (like near the new HOME Restaurant) if the developer's<br /> plans go through.
This park-like lot would be come a steep vacant slope (like next to the new HOME Restaurant) if the developer's plans go through.

Good friend and great neighbor Diane Edwardson is tireless in her efforts to fight developers who want to bulldoze Silver Lake’s natural beauty in favor of bloated clumps of crap housing.

Four years of fighting the developer of the Semi Tropical Spiritualists’ Tract and we’re headed to an appeal hearing with PLUM at City Council next Tuesday.

The plateau (photo) along with the downslope (to the right in the photo) containing California black walnut woodland within the Semi Tropic Spiritualists’ Tract will be eradicated if a developer’s plan to subdivide and sell a 16-lot subdivision (15 homes and one “open space lot”) gains final approval by the City Council.

The developer led the community to believe we would be gaining the upper plateau as open space, accessible to the public. However, the developer’s grading plan calls for the removal of the entire upper plateau and slope below containing a thriving California black walnut woodland.

If you can, please turn up at the hearing to voice your displeasure:

PLUM
Tues Feb 3, 2009
2pm
City Hall, Room 350

City Council File: CF-09-0082
APCE 2006-8787-ZC
VTT 62900-SL-2A
CD13

Recycle Your Electronics, Save The World

RT @ginnycase Are you hoarding an old computer?

It’s time to let go of that first generation iPod, Broseph. Ginny Case Twittered about Neuwaste Business Recycling’s collection event for electronic waste on February 28th in beautiful Downtown Los Angeles.

A list of accepted items… right after the break.

Continue reading Recycle Your Electronics, Save The World

Central Arroyo Stream Restoration & Watershed Programs Halted: Hooray for CA Budget Crisis

So in case you didn’t know (I shoulda told y’all when I found out, a while back, but I was stupid busy), the Arroyo Seco–which runs from Devil’s Gate Dam, south thru Pasadena and parallel to the 110 freeway into South Pas & Highland Park, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places (although I can’t find it in that crappy database of theirs, maybe you can). It’s also a valuable habitat for the rare and wee Arroyo Chub, a leeetle beeeety fish that dwells solely in some SoCal streams, and which is valuable not only for adding its own little fishy topping to the biodiversity pizza pie, but ‘cuz it eats mosquito larvae: hooray for the Chub!

The nice people who did all the work theyre not getting paid for.
Just a few of the nice people who did all the work they're not getting paid for.

Of course the little Chub was pretty much on its way out, along with a lot of the Arroyo Seco–edged out by pollution, junk and Avenues graffitti–until recent rehabilitation grants came in the form of The Arroyo Seco Watershed Coordination Program ($35,000) and The Central Arroyo Stream Restoration Program ($251,000). The grants were awarded to the Arroyo Seco Foundation, and they got to work asap to fix up the river. Hence the Chub-comeback. And the river’s lookin’ mighty nice, too. And some folks got some fine work out of it during a tough economic time. Until now.

Just a few days ago the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Conservation sent out orders (here & here) to cease activity on Arroyo Seco watershed management projects and–here’s the clincher–notified the river-rehabbers (who are not state employees) that the Arroyo Seco Foundation will not be paid for work already completed. WTF?!

Your tax dollars at work, ladies & gents, paying these fine folk in BallSacramento (heh) big fancy salaries to come to an agreement on the state budget. Yay!

So now how will the Arroyo Seco Foundation, a nonprofit organization, pay its workers and contractors and suppliers, who have already rendered services?

And–looking beyond the money issue–what will happen to the great progress that was being made in the Arroyo? Will the cease-and-desist-and-we’re-gonna-stop-paying-you order cause a big enough hiccup in the state & the Foundation’s paperwork & processes that the Foundation can no longer secure grants, or perhaps loses its current grants?

The full information is here at the Arroyo Seco Foundation’s site.

Eco-shop Regeneration, in Eagle Rock, going out of business!!! NOOOOO!!!

squeeeemustposessJust look at all those horrified exclamation points there in the subject line! Yes, it breaks my heart to say that Regeneration is being forced into closing its brick-and-mortar shop, by these foul economic times that have befallen us all. [shakes fist impotently at sky.] I doubt there’s much we can do to keep ’em open (and its Etsy site will remain open), but we sure as hell can send ’em out with a bang. Regeneration, I’m broke, and I swore all anyone was getting from me this year were cards, but you’ve made me recant. I’ll be there. With the paltry sum I have left before payday, I shall arrive, and buy as much as possible, and then in the grand tradition of any quality holiday shopping spree, I shall keep it all for myself, and everyone will still be getting just cards.

I saw Cracker open for the New York Dolls tonight, and their lyric here properly sums up my holiday shopping behavior:

” Well I was gonna bring you flowers, but I didn’t.
It’s the thought that counts and I think I’m a bit too broke.”