Green Living

Quantifying Environmental Justice (& Injustice) in California–An Update

California Improves an Already-Powerful Environmental Justice Analytical Tool

A year ago, I wrote about an important environmental justice initiative pioneered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and its subsidiary entity, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That 2013 initiative, titled CalEnviroScreen, divided up the State of California by zip code, applied 11 environmental health and pollution factors, assessed each of the state’s …

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What Steve Jobs Could Teach Us About Land Use and Transit Planning

Lessons for making urban spaces great from the celebrated entrepreneur

Steve Jobs died in 2011, but his life experience, as related by biographer Walter Isaacson, offers some important lessons for today’s transit and urban development practitioners. I just finished reading the biography and was struck — like many others — by what a notoriously awful person he was to those around him. Part of the …

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Celebrate Earth Day By Destroying The Planet!

Is It Possible To Have A Holiday Without Going Shopping?

The first e-mail in my inbox this morning was from a regional pharmacy chain, advertising “Great Earth Day Savings!” That seemed to me to be a little ironic: celebrate by the planet by consuming as much as you can! It isn’t alone. Just Google “Earth Day Shopping” and you’ll get hundreds of hits.  Now, obviously, …

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The Missing of Summer Lawns*

It’s Time to End the Wasteful Practice of Irrigating California’s Residential Landscaping With Fresh Water

What a difference a drought makes. Once upon a time, a fundamental attribute of home ownership in California and the American West was an expansive, verdant lawn surrounding private homes, townhouses and apartment complexes. Indeed, some communities have historically imposed permit conditions or adopted local ordinances mandating the inclusion and maintenance of lush, healthy lawns …

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Are Californians Finally Getting Out of Our Cars?

If Something Looks Too Good To Be True, Then It Probably Is

It looks like a miracle: Californians aren’t depending quite as heavily on cars for commutes and  errands as they did a decade ago, according to a new survey by Caltrans. Although driving is still by far the most dominant mode of transportation  across the state, accounting for about three-quarters of daily trips,  researchers say a …

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How Legalizing Marijuana Could Help Fight Climate Change

The link between indoor grow operations and energy data

Now that the two states that just legalized marijuana sent their football teams to the Superbowl this year, it’s clear that the stars are aligning for legalizing marijuana nationwide. Sure, legalizing marijuana makes fiscal, moral, and practical sense, but what about the benefits to the environment? Well, it turns out that even the fight against …

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Eco-Friendly Gift Guide

Gift Ideas to Keep Your Holidays Green

To celebrate the holiday spirit, here are some gift ideas for your eco-savvy friends and family. May your holidays be warm (but not too warm) and bright. For the foodie: An “Eat Local” calendar For the techie: A portable solar charger For the minimalist: The gift of carbon offsets For the chef: A reclaimed wood …

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Jeudi Gras – The Great American Holiday

Jeudi Gras means”Fat Thursday” in English.  It would probably be a better name for the holiday than the current one.  Let’s face it: for most of us, the day involves a bit of giving thanks and a much larger amount of pigging out like there’s no tomorrow.  As the NY Times points out, this wouldn’t be …

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Postcard from Barcelona

Looking at the Catalonian path to sustainability

Flying into Barcelona, it becomes immediately obvious that this is a city with its eye on a sustainable future. Right along the waterfront is a large photovoltaic array, perched on four giant supports. It is emblematic of a broader set of initiatives that, for a short time, placed Spain at the forefront of renewable energy …

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Better Standards for Designing City Streets That Work for People and the Environment

In 2010, Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, through its City Streets Project, and the Berkeley School of Environmental Design’s Center for Resource Efficient Communities issued a report that looked at the ways in which industry standards for street design can interfere with efforts to make streets more pedestrian-friendly and the encourage …

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