Years ago, before it was fashionable and well before grocery bags became fashion statements, I began championing the idea of doing away with plastic bags. I had just returned from a trip to Europe and the practice of eschewing plastic bags for reusable cloth bags was commonplace. It seemed like a small step we could take towards making our communities and our world a better, cleaner place.
Now that plastic bag bans are becoming a fact of life and thousands of Angelinos are walking around with cloth grocery bags, we are seeing that environmentalism isn’t a “far out” idea at all, but something we can and must embrace for a sustainable and thriving planet.
Another idea was brought to my attention recently and I wanted to share it with you: solar powered schools. Sound crazy? It’s NOT. Think about it… schools only operate during mostly daytime hours, so school buildings would seem the perfect place to utilize this natural resource. And economically, LAUSD schools are spending around $4,000 to $6,000 a month on electricity – at a time when teachers are being laid off and vital programs including arts and extracurricular
activities are being cut, this is a cost savings that could have tremendous economic impact. A few schools in Silver Lake are already planning to do this.
More importantly, our schools are truly ground zero for life lessons about sustainability, nutrition and other life skills. Shouldn’t our schools be models in all ways? What better lesson to teach than conserving energy and taking advantage of clean energy sources?
As your next City Councilman, these are the kinds of environmental programs I will champion. Another idea I fully embrace -- community gardens. Enrich LA (www.enrichla.org) has done a great job of starting these gardens in our schools, teaching kids about where food comes from and the real life benefits of growing your own food and protecting our land and water sources. Some community gardens are going even further and including livestock like chickens. Again,
schools are the perfect place for these things to begin, but community gardens are an idea that can be expanded to the greater community at large.
As a member of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, I was proud to speak against the widening of highway 101. Not because I’m opposed to easing traffic congestion, but because I truly believe that we need to encourage smart development and public transit usage as a way to lessen traffic. Fewer cars are the answer. And I realize that right now, our public transit doesn’t
always make that a reality. But we need to be working towards that with every new development proposal. I am also proud that as a result of the efforts by the Neighborhood Council and committed citizens, Silver Lake has more bicycle lanes than any other part of Los Angeles.
These are the kinds of programs I have supported and will make a priority when I’m in the City Council. You deserve to know where I stand and where I’ve stood. And I’m proud to be green – always have been… always will be.