Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Goodbye Green SoCal

Next month I'm moving back to Washington, D.C. after nearly nine years living in the Los Angeles Basin.

Once I am settled in I hope to continue blogging about clean energy issues and the new green economy in our Nation's Capital. But I'll keep blogging on Green SoCal until my mid-July move so stay tuned for more news and analysis from the front lines of California's clean energy revolution.

After booking my flight on Virgin America I donated to the website Carbonfund.org to offset my carbon footprint from the plane trip. My $22 donation for renewable energy offsets the two tons of CO2 emissions from a cross-country flight. Click here to go carbon neutral when you book your next flight.

In the nearly nine years I've lived here I've seen change happen slowly in car-crazy California. But there are signs pointing in the right direction for the region. Gridlock and greenhouse gas emissions helped to pass Measure R -- a half-cent sales tax for public transit in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. That Angelenos would choose to tax themselves during this recession is proof positive that they know the status quo is unsustainable and change must happen.

And even more exciting is the real chance that the twelve Measure R projects will be built in 10 years instead of 30 thanks to the visionary leadership and diligence of L.A.'s eco-friendly Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. It isn't easy changing L.A.'s deeply ingrained car culture, but Mayor V is doing his damndest to turn The City of Angels into a public transportation paradise.

There is also a large and growing bicycle community in L.A. that is becoming more politically active and empowered. I've seen a noticeable increase in bike commuters in the city and the bicycle infrastructure is on its way to being world class with the release of the 2010 Bike Plan. The project will paint hundreds of sharrows, install bike-friendly signage and eventually create a bicycle network of over a thousand miles across this sprawling metropolis.

So Measure R and the Bike Plan are two of the biggest examples of how this region is changing and I can't wait to come back and visit in 10 years to ride the Purple Line subway all the way from downtown L.A. to Santa Monica (or at least Westwood).

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