A Reusable Campaign?

Heal the Bay volunteers handing out bags in Culver City

Yesterday, Heal the Bay spearheaded the 3rd annual “A Day Without a Bag,” which encourages shoppers to make the switch to reusable bags.  The event reached significant proportions with over 50 locations and 20,000 free reusable bags handed out. A remarkable 70 of the county’s 88 cities participated in the “Day Without a Bag” or “Brag About Your Bag” campaigns.  We don’t often see 70 local cities agree on what day it is, let alone the need to move away from disposable bags. 

Corporate sponsors included Albertsons, Ralphs and 99 Cents Only. Local retailers Fred Segal Santa Monica and the Banana Republic’s Third Street Promenade also took part.  Numerous environmental groups, veterans organizations and schools made a difference by organizing efforts to create reusable bags. Particularly noteworthy: the collection of hundreds of tank tops that were then sewn into fashionable reusable bags. Similar “bag days” have now popped up in San Diego, Orange , Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Francisco counties.

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Some Early Presents …

Chanukah came early for L.A. coastal waters

Just in time for Chanukah, or a little early for Christmas … It may not have been a MacBook Air, a PS3, or even the latest iPhone, but Southern California’s coastal waters this week received some regulatory presents significantly better than a pack of Zhu Zhu Pets.

The city of Los Angeles’ decision on the Low Impact Development ordinance may have been postponed (a cliché at this point), but the state Fish and Game commission and the Regional Water Board made a couple of enormous decisions this week.

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Season’s Gratings

Bah humbug! for MPAs and TMDLs?

December means the holidays, and some very cold weather (at least for L.A.) and rain. It also means me eating way too many baked goods.  This year, December also brings major decisions that will affect coastal resources for generations to come — specifically votes on  marine protected areas and trash limits in the Los Angeles River. Unfortunately, one of the other major decisions — the Los Angeles Board of Public Works vote on the Low Impact development ordinance – has been postponed until Jan. 15 to address the concerns of the measures’ opponents, the Building Industry Assn.  The environmental and sustainable landscaping communities aren’t thrilled by the second postponement in as many months.  I hope the January vote is worth the wait.

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Holiday Wishes

The state suffered a few environmental turkeys this year. But we still have hope in December.

I just spent a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday in Walnut Creek. It is a great tradition for my family and my brother Jonathan’s to get together at our aunt Ruth and cousin Sherrie’s house. No live invertebrates or endangered species on the menu. Just a typical Thanksgiving of gluttony, family conversations, debates and insults, football, and kids going feral. Thanksgiving remains my favorite holiday. (By the way, we did follow Jonathan’s recommendation to go to a pretty tasty Basque place called Wool Growers in Los Banos).

I have a lot to be thankful for. My family is healthy and I am lucky to have a wonderful wife and three kids. And I have one of the best environmental jobs in the state, letting me work with brilliant and dedicated staff, volunteers and board members to protect public health and California’s rivers, beaches and coastal waters.

Before you think I’m going soft in middle age, there are plenty of things I have not been thankful for this year.

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