Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In the Shadow of the Gehry Mind

Sunday I packed up the car and headed down the highway looking for a green adventure - the first annual Sustainable LA – a festival “celebrating and exploring urban environmentalism”. The day capped the 2008 Downtown Film Festival that ran August 13-17.

Get a load of the first thing I saw as I walked up the hill from the parking lot ...

The contrast of greenness ...

against the city skyscrapers, especially the organic silver swirls of the Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry, blew me away. We’ll need the imagination and vision of many men and women like this award winning architect to save the planet.

Now a sampling of the booths ...

The TreePeople

For over 30 years, TreePeople’s mission has been “ to inspire the people of Los Angeles to take personal responsibility for the urban forest – educating, training and supporting them as they plan and care for trees and improve the neighborhoods in which they live, learn, work and play.”

South Central Farmers’ Cooperative

The SCFC Farm is a CSA, (Community Supported Agriculture) and is Certified Organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and as well as USDA Certified Organic. SCFC is ‘committed to engaging and empowering community members around attaining food sovereignty and access to high quality organic produce.”


Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles working to promote the bicycle as a viable, healthy, and sustainable transportation choice. C.I.C.L.E. envisions streets that safely accommodate all road users - people on bike, on foot, by wheelchair, by bus and/or by train. If you forgot or never learned how to ride, they’ll teach you, especially how to ride in traffic.

The University of California Cooperative Extension, LA County

Got questions about all things agricultural? Check out this site for information on farming, gardening/horticulture, natural resources, 4-H Youth Development and Nutrition, Family & Consumer Science. I spent some time talking to them about composting and they had some great handouts.

The 14 Gallon Challenge

The LA Dept of Water & Power (LADWP) is asking Angelenos to voluntarily reduce their personal water use by 10% (14 gals a day). That means: Shutting off the water when washing dishes (2.5 gals per min) Turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth (2 gals per min). Taking shorter showers (2.5 gals per min) Check the Green LA home page for ideas about solar energy, recycling and water.

Counting Down to Zero Waste

The city of Los Angeles Dept of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation is developing a 20 year strategy for reducing waste throughout LA, moving the city to zero waste by the year 2030.

We sat in the shade, under a tent, for the panels ...

The panels included one on urban parks in LA, electric cars and green collar jobs. I attended the Buy Local, Eat Slow discussion featuring Russ Parsons, food columnist for the LA Times, Jules Dervaes, founder of Path to Freedom, Gypsy Gifford Executive Chef of Café Pinot, Lisa Lucas, VP, LA chapter Slow Food Nation, and Amelia Saltsman, host/producer of “Fresh from the Farmer’s Market.” (photo above: Russ, Amelia, Jules)

The Slow Food movement is based on principles of quality, taste, environmental sustainability and social justice – good, clean and fair. I was struck by the confidence each panelist conveyed. The movement has gone beyond the fringe and grown in size and strength. Some of their suggestions: start small, ask questions, grow something – our backyards are under-utilized. Shop smart. Fight for biodiversity in seeds – the big companies like Monsanto are taking over the copyrights on seeds.

In a darkened theater, the documentaries ...

During the afternoon, green documentaries were screening at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) on trash, farming, bikes, the LA River and oil:

  • Trashed (2007, USA, 20 min, Director: Derek Boonstra)

  • South Central Farm: Oasis in a Concrete Desert (2005, USA, 24 min, Director: Sheila Laffey)

  • The Bike Lane (2007, USA, 65 min, Director: Sean Crowell)

  • The Los Angeles River (2007, USA, 28 min, Director: David Hartwell, Sarah Lorenzen)

  • Fields of Fuel (2008, USA, 90 min, Director: Josh Tickell)

At night, Flow (2008, USA, 93 min, Director: Irena Salina) ended the Film Festival. It’s about our most important natural resource – water – and the future we all face, rich nation or poor, with our water supplies stretched to the limits.

I was happy to be outside, but next year I hope to catch a flick or two.

I drove to my valley and its open spaces and mountains, leaving the chrome and concrete behind me, marveling at the physical diversity of the place I call home.

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