Sustainable Works

Action Center

GET ACTIVE: CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES!

Your voice matters and it should be heard. Read this "Legislative Guide" (from the Union of Concerned Scientists) and learn how to most effectively share your views about critical environmental policies currently being decided upon by your elected representatives.

>> Act Now:

  • Urge the governor to sign AB 341 (Chesbro). This bill would create green jobs by expanding recycling to every multi-family dwelling and business in the state, and would charge CalRecycle with the responsibility for ensuring that the state is diverting at least 75% of the garbage that it generates to recycling by 2020.
  • Tell the EPA: No more methyl iodide! There is little to debate about methyl iodide's toxicity. It is a known neurotoxin, disrupts thyroid function, damages developing fetuses, and has caused lung tumors in laboratory animals. Fumigating fields with the gas -- even with the strictest regulations -- would no doubt still result in unacceptable exposures to farmworkers and surrounding populations.Urging the E.P.A. to permanently suspend and cancel all uses of methyl iodide as a pesticide is the only surefire way to keep this poison away from workers and our food.
  • Urge state leaders to appoint strong nominees to the California Coastal Commission! Between now and the end of May, six of the 12 seats on the California Coastal Commission, the agency in charge of protecting the coast's natural resources, are up for review and could change. Urge Governor Brown, Senator Steinberg and Speaker Perez to appoint people to the Coastal Commission who will vote to defend California's coast.
  • The Farm Bill is a massive $300 billion piece of legislation that affects nearly every federal program that deals with food. It's passed every five years and dictates how our food is produced, sold, and distributed, and who has access to healthy, sustainable options for their families. The process of passing this bill has historically been dominated by corporate agribusinesses that push the interests of small farmers and consumers aside in order to secure huge profits. You can help build the momentum for fair food by taking the first step. Sign the Fair Farm Bill Vision
  • Ask your Senators to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act! It is an important stept toward safer products, stronger businesses, and healthier families!
  • Could genetically engineered salmon be next? Take Action to make sure that your members of Congress support the bills to stop genetically engineered salmon from reaching your plate

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency voted to protect mountain communities and the health of Appalachian citizens by vetoing the largest single mountaintop removal coal mining permit in West Virginia history, the Spruce No. 1 Mine. Contact your member of Congress today and urge them to support the Clean Water Protection Act in the House of Representatives and The Appalachia Restoration Act in the US Senate.
  • The LA County Board of Supervisors has banned plastic bags in unincorporated portions of the county!
>>Newly Enacted Legislation:
GET ACTIVE: IN YOUR COMMUNITY

You have the vision and the power to promote sustainability in your own community! Whether it's in your office, at your local eateries, your gym, or at any other number of places you frequent, jump in and become the agent of change in promoting sustainability! You'll never know how large the ripples in the pond will get once you've dropped in the pebble. Use these easy-to-use tools to begin:
Preserve Organic Integrity: Safeguard Animal Welfare, Stop Labeling Fraud, and Ban Nanotech! At the November 3-5 meeting of the USDA's National Organic Standards Board in Washington, DC, the Organic Consumers Association will be presenting your demands for stronger organic standards. Please let the NOSB, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan know that you want them to:
  • Stop personal care and cosmetic companies from advertising their products as "organic" unless they are USDA certified
  • Keep nanotechnology out of organic
  • Improve the living conditions of organic poultry and livestock

Are you a Los Angeles resident? Help Bring Sustainable Works to the City of Los Angeles!

Get active! Write a letter to your City Council Member letting them know you would like Sustainable Works programs to be offered in Los Angeles. To find out more about our programs visit our website.

To find your City Council representative visit LACity.org, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your address or intersection. The results of the search will provide you with a list of your elected officials.

If you live somewhere other than Los Angeles, let your local city government know about Sustainable Works.


SAMPLE LETTER

[DATE]

Council Member ____________

200 N. Spring Street

Room _______

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dear Council Member ____________:

As a concerned global citizen and resident in your district, I am writing to express my support of bringing Sustainable Works to the greater Los Angeles area. Sustainable Works is a non-profit environmental education organization. Their mission is to create a culture of sustainability by reducing environmental impacts and promoting sustainable lifestyles. These choices enhance our resources, reduce hazards to human health and the environment, and benefit the local economy and community for the sake of current and future generations. In effort to achieve their mission they offer one of a kind “greening” programs for college students, businesses, and residents.

Their residential greening program, the Green Living Workshop, would greatly enhance residential participation in existing and future environmental programs. Participation in the program results in QUANTIFIABLE reduced resource use, improved human health, and community-wide support for environmental issues. Programs like the Green Living Workshop will be necessary in making progress towards becoming a more sustainable city. Please consider offering these workshops in our area.

Sustainable Works is interested in offering their programs to Los Angeles constituents. Please consider this letter my vote for Sustainable Works to host Green Living workshops in our district. For more information about the organization, feel free to visit their website or contact them directly: www.sustainableworks.org

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

[Address]

Introduction

Introduction

Green Living Workshop Certificate of Completion

You can request from the instructor a digital version of the certificate if you attend all workshop meetings and complete the entire Sustainability Survey.
INTRODUCTION

>>Santa Monica Sustainable City Plan
>>Santa Monica Ecological Footprint description
>>
Santa Monica Ecological Footprint graphic

Footprint Quizzes

>>
Take two of the ecological footprint quizzes below and record the number of acres and earths your lifestyle requires in your Sustainability Survey.
>>
Ecofoot.org
>>
Myfootprint.org
>>Earthday.net/footprint


Green Community Groups
>>Sustainable Business Council
>>
Net Impact Los Angeles
>>
Green Business Networking >>LA Green Drinks >>Eco Tuesdays

Green Happenings

>>GreenLAGirl - Siel's personal blog about eco-happenings in the Los Angeles area >>GoToGreenLA - find all of the sustainable, eco-friendly, environmentally-conscious events taking place in and around Los Angeles
>>YourDailyThread - "ydt is here to help with short & sweet articles on how to live a balanced l
ife in Los Angeles. Topics range from eco-fashion to organic beer, from Hollywood film festivals to Santa Monica community gardens, and more."

Sources of Environmental News
>>Grist.org - has an informative and humorous daily newsletter that will keep you abreast of the latest environmental news

>>Green Inc. New York Times Blog - "How will the pressures of climate change, limited fossil fuel resources and the mainstreaming of "green" consciousness reshape society? Follow the money. From renewable energy policy to carbon markets to dubious eco-advertising, our energy and environment reporters track the high-stakes pursuit of a greener globe."

>>GreenBiz.com - offers more than 8,000 resources, including daily news and feature stories, reports, checklists, case studies, and links to organizations, technical assistance programs, government agencies, and recognition programs.

LA Area Environmental Resources

>>CleanLA.com - The environmental portal for the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, this website contains a wealth of useful links for information on everything from recycling and trash collection to water conservation, youth education, and household hazardous waste.

Are you a Los Angeles resident? Help Bring Sustainable Works to the City of Los Angeles!
>>Get ACTIVE! Write a letter to your City Council Member letting them know you would like Sustainable Works programs to be offered in Los Angeles. To find out more about our programs visit our website. To find your City Council representative visit LACity.org, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your intersection. The results of the search will provide you with a list of your elected officials. See a sample letter.

Water

Water
Podcasts
>>Gardening with Native Plants - Rather than filling your home landscape with exotic plants from the local nursery or home center, why not plant species that should be in your landscape naturally? The idea of planting 'native plants' has received plenty of attention, especially in arid parts of the country. The approach has more to offer than just water savings, however. We'll talk about why growing plants that are native to your area can encourage healthier ecosystems, from insects to birds. Via Science Friday from NPR.

Videos
>>"The Innovative Turn" shows us innovative rainwater and greywater systems, with many examples of various sized systems from homes to a whole sports stadium and the largest rainwater tank system in Europe

Infographics
>>Transparency: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch - "By now, most of us are aware that there is a large patch of floating plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. What you may not know is that it’s not made up of plastic bags and empty bottles. It’s made up of billions of tiny pieces of plastic, and it’s basically invisible unless you’re floating in it. While this might seem better, it’s actually much worse for the environment—and for you." Via www.Good.is

>>Transparency: How Much Water Do You Use? - "As we become more and more aware that we may be using water at an unsustainable pace, the idea of water footprints—the amount of water an individual uses—is becoming more common. Water footprints can be hard to calculate, depending on how far up the chain of production you go, since everything you eat and buy used some water to produce (to feed cows for beef, for example, or to use in the factory that made your cell phone)." Via www.good.is

In the News
>>Desalination plant clears final California hurdle - "The biggest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere, north of San Diego, can begin construction by year's end after a six-year effort to win regulators' approval." "The company expects the plant to be operational by the first quarter of 2012."

Southern California Water Ordinances
>>City of Santa Monica Water Conservation Ordinance www.sustainablesm.org
  • No watering of lawns or landscapes between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on any day.
  • No hosing down of sidewalks, driveways, patios, alleys, parking areas or other “hardscapes.”
  • No runoff is permitted from lawns and landscapes into streets, alleys, or gutters at any time.
  • Water must not be used to fill or maintain levels in decorative fountains, ponds, lakes or displays unless a recycling system is used.
  • Swimming pools must not be filled or emptied unless it is a first filling of a new pool, or necessary leak repair work is being performed.
  • Water leaks from exterior or interior plumbing must be repaired immediately.
  • No washing of vehicles of any kind except with a hand-held bucket or a hose equipped with a shut-off nozzle.
  • Restaurants must serve water only upon request and post signage indicating this restriction.
>>LADWP Water Conservation Ordinance www.ladwp.com
The following are prohibited:
  • Using water to wash any hard surfaces such as sidewalks, walkways, driveways or parking
  • Allowing runoff onto streets and gutters from excessive watering;
  • Irrigating landscaping between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.;
  • Permitting leaks from any pipe or fixture to go unrepaired;
  • Permitting watering during periods of rain;
  • Watering outdoors for more than 15 minutes per watering station, 10 minutes for other irrigation systems;
  • Allowing for the washing of a vehicle without using a hose with a self-closing, shut-off device;
  • Serving water to customers in eating establishments unless requested;
  • Using water to clean, fill or maintain decorative fountains unless the water is part of a recirculating system.
  • Permit large landscape areas to water without rain sensors that shut off irrigation systems
  • Install non-recirculating systems in new car wash and commercial laundry systems
  • Install single-pass cooling systems in new buildings
Report Water Waste
>>In Santa Monica: Call the City of Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment at (310) 458-8945
>>In Los Angeles: Call 1-800-Dial DWP or email waterconservationteam@ladwp.com

Calculate Your Water Footprint
From the food you eat to the clothes you wear, water is used to sustain many of our lifestyle choices. So choose either this One Minute Water Calculator or the water footprint calculator from waterfootprint.org to measure your water footprint.


Where Does Our Water Come From?

>>Where does Southern California’s water come from? - Detailed discussion of water sources and water projects.











>>Drought Monitor -
a synthesis of multiple indices and impacts, that represents a consensus of federal and academic scientists.

Watersheds and Urban Runoff

>>The suburban lawn: enemy of lakes, oceans, and rivers everywhere. New research shows that suburban gardens and lawns are a commonly-underestimated source of non-point pollution.

>>LAstormwater.info has great information for individuals who want to prevent stormwater pollution in order to keep LA clean and healthy. You can also follow them on Facebook

>>Freshwater Conservation - How We Protect Watersheds - Learn more about threats to healthy watersheds and what The Nature Conservancy is doing about those threats. Via The Nature Conservancy.

>>
SMURRF - Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility

>>Los Angeles Urban Runoff - Runoff, which can occur in both wet and dry weather, usually receives no treatment before discharge.

Ocean Pollution

>>Algalita Marine Research Foundation








Water Efficiency and Rebates
>>Walk this way - "Making the right choices to reduce your water footprint."

>>Santa Monica Water Efficiency Programs & Rebates - Water conservation rebates for Santa Monica water customers. Rebates available for high efficiency clothes washers and toilets. Also includes information on receiving a free home water assessment, the Sustainable Landscape Grant Program, and the Rain Harvesting Program.

>>LADWP WaterSmart Rebate Program - Water conservation rebates for LADWP residential customers. Rebates available for high efficiency clothes washers, toilets, and weather-based irrigation controllers.

>>LADWP Non-Residential Programs - Water conservation rebates for LADWP businesses & multi-family customers. Rebates available for high efficiency clothes washers, toilets, urinals, sprinklers, and weather-based irrigation controllers.

Water Filters
>>Water Filters: Green Buying Guide - Via Consumer Reports.

Rain Harvesting
















>>L.A. Rainwater Harvesting Program - You may qualify for a FREE Rainwater Harvesting installation where you can save money on your water expenses and join your community in preserving the environment. By participating in this program you will be capturing rainwater directly on your property and then later using it for lawn irrigation.

>>River Action 'Retain The Rain' Calculator - "This fun, interactive program calculates stormwater savings when you enter the dimensions of your roof, yard, or office project."

>>RainBud Recycled Rain Barrel - Harvest the rain! An inch of rain falling on a thousand square feet of roof produces over 600 gallons of water.
600 Gallons! That’s water that could be keeping your garden alive, free water that will NOT come from ever-decreasing natural resources. Via RainBud.com.

>>Rain-catchment waterwalls coming to America - This L.A. Times article features waterwall, an Australian product designed to store rainwater from the roof as well as the sky. The company is restructuring its website and relocating to the United States so be on the look-out!

>>Imagine: Rain, rain, stored away. This L.A. Times article provides an clear overview of the various landscaping methods that you can use to harvest rain water. Via L.A. Times.

Tankless Water Heaters
>>Takagi USA - top-of-the-line tankless water heater company that has models that can heat up to 5 gal per Tankless Water Heaters minute.

>>GreenHomeGuide - great rundown of what to look for when buying a tankless water heater.

Water Wise Gardening
>>BeWaterWise.com - FREE California Friendly Landscape & Gardening Classes: Online or in person. Residential classes are usually held weekly on consecutive Saturdays and weekday evenings.

>>Smart Gardening.com - Countywide Smart Gardening program has FREE composting and gardening workshops. They are an excellent resource and their workshops are lead by very knowledgeable instructors. Check their website for a list of upcoming scheduled workshops. Highly recommended!

>>Groundworks' Free Java Mulch - "Stop by five of our six Los Angeles locations, and take home a free bag of Java Mulch, spent coffee grinds-- packed in previously used coffee bags. Using Java Mulch in your garden saves landfill space while perking up your petunias!"

>>
Garden Garden - Santa Monica's Environmental Programs Division demonstration garden comparison

>>Theodore Payne Foundation - promotes the understanding and preservation of California native flora

>>Free Mulch - "Bring your own shovel, bag or pick-up. Load up your own containers and take as much as you need. Available at eight locations throughout the Los Angeles area." View a list of locations and maps (PDF).

>>Plant Right - a voluntary, proactive program for the horticultural community to prevent invasive plant introductions through horticulture. PlantRight was designed by the steering committee of California Horticultural Invasives Prevention (Cal-HIP) partnership to communicate the need to transition away from invasive plants in the gardening and landscaping trade.

>>Los Angeles Regional Invasive Ornamental Plant Guide - This Guide is produced and distributed by the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council for the primary purpose of educating landscape professionals and the general-public regarding the cultivation, selection, use and management of invasive plants in our local landscape.

Energy

ENERGY

In the News

>>Download Edison, a computer program to help you reduce the amount of energy consumed by your computer. This program helps manage the amount of energy your computer uses during specific times, and tells you how much money you're saving by doing so.

>>Climate Watch: Unlocking the Grid
With the race on to reduce global warming and fossil fuel dependency, experts in alternative energy see a bright future for renewable resources like wind, solar, hydro-power and geothermal energy. QUEST and Climate Watch team up to look at the "Smart Grid" of the future and how it might be improved to more cleanly and efficiently keep the lights on in California.

QUEST on KQED Public Media.

>>Study details health risks from TVA’s spilled coal ash
"On Dec. 22, 2008 a containment pond at TVA’s plant in eastern Tennessee failed, spilling more than a billion gallons of coal ash. In the weeks following the disaster, a team of Duke scientists analyzed sediment and water samples collected from the areas of the spill, including locations downstream and upstream on the nearby Emory and Clinch rivers. They found high levels of toxic metals and radioactivity, including 75 parts per million of arsenic, 150 parts per billion of mercury, and eight picocuries per gram of total radium."

>>EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare -
The proposed findings, filed April 17, 2009 for a 60-day public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat to humans and the environment.

>>New Tax Incentives for Greening Your Home - The Stimulus plan approved by Congress in February 2009 offers tax refunds for four types of energy-efficiency updates. Via The New York Times

>>Report outlines possible effects of warming on California - "A compilation of research papers suggests that climate change will mean the state will have less water, experience a loss of cropland and see soaring wildfire rates."

>>How Will Global Warming Impact California? - "The more global warming emissions are reduced, the less severe the impacts will be. California has a choice: continue contributing to an alarming rate of global warming by emitting large quantities of global warming pollutants from its cars, electricity plants, and factories, or lead the nation and the world in slowing global warming by making significant cuts in emissions." Via Union of Concerned Scientist.


>>Fifth of world carbon emissions soaked up by extra forest growth, scientists find - "Trees in the tropics are getting bigger, which means they are soaking up an extra 5bn tonnes of CO2 a year." Via Guardian.co.uk.

>>Bubbles of warming, beneath the ice - "As permafrost thaws in the Arctic, huge pockets of methane -- a potent greenhouse gas -- could be released into the atmosphere. Experts are only beginning to understand how disastrous that could be."

>>
Come Dry Spells and High Water - Climate change is "largely irreversible" for the next 1,000 years even if carbon dioxide emissions could be abruptly halted, according to a new study led by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Via Grist.org.

>>Google PowerMeter - Our lack of knowledge about our own energy usage is a huge problem, but also a huge opportunity for us all to save money and fight global warming by reducing our power usage. Via Google.


Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)


>>There are CFLs in a complete range of hues, and many CFLs are available that produce exactly the same warm white light (2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin) as traditional incandescent bulbs.

Via GreenLAGirl.

>>LADWP is distributing CFLs -
These energy saving light bulbs can help you save up to $34 per bulb on your electrical use. Install them immediately and start saving energy and money. CFLs offer many advantages over traditional incandescent bulbs. A CFL lasts for approximately 10,000 hours compared to 1,000 hours for an incandescent bulb. CFLs operate at a lower temperature and are less of a fire danger. CFLs help reduce your air conditioning use, as the lack of heat results in a cooler environment. Via LADWP.

video

>>Lighten Up in '09: Shopper's Guide to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs - "All CFL bulbs aren't equal. Some have lower mercury content than others, and some last much longer. Unfortunately, you can't tell the best of the best by their labels - or the U.S. government Energy Star logo." This guide will help you select bulbs with the least mercury. Via Environmental Working Group.

>>Yes, There Are Dimmable Compact Fluorescent Bulbs - read Low Impact Living's guide to dimmable CFLs or go here to see a product list.

>>The Best CFL Bulbs for Indoor Lighting - Low Impact Living's guide to CFLs.

>>
How Fluorescent Lights Work (same principle as CFLs) - CFLs Responsible for Less Mercury than Incandescent Light Bulbs Ironically, CFLs present an opportunity to prevent mercury from entering our air, where it most affects our health. The highest source of mercury in our air comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, the most common fuel used in the U.S. to produce electricity. A CFL uses 75% less energy than an incandescent light bulb and lasts at least 6 times longer. A power plant will emit 10mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time.

>>CFL Disposal - Used CFLs should be disposed with your Household Hazardous Waste. You can also drop them off at Home Depot or Ikea.

>>
Entire EPA Fact Sheet on CFLs and Mercury

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
>>www.EternaLEDs.com - Local LED retailer

>>How LEDs Light Emitting Diodes Work

Energy Efficiency & Rebates
>>Community Energy Partnership free Home Energy Efficiency Tune-Up worth up to $200 - Benefits include: saving energy, saving money, increased comfort, reducing peak energy demand, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information or to see if your home qualifies for a tune-up, please call toll free at (800) 968-5203 or email partnership@energycoalition.org.

>>LADWP Residential Home Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs - Receive rebates on Energy Star refrigerators, dual pane windows, and air conditioners.

>>Southern California Edison Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs - Receive rebates on Energy Star refrigerators, whole house fans, air conditioners and more.

>>Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency - Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 & 2010 (for existing homes only) for:
* Windows and Doors
* Insulation
* Roofs (Metal and Asphalt)
* HVAC
* Water Heaters (non-solar)
* Biomass Stoves

>>USDOE's Appliance Energy Estimator - Estimate the energy consumption load of your appliances using this handy reference guide or formula.

>>Standby Power Summary Table - Visit this site to view the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's study of standby power usage (aka vampire energy) for many of your commonly used products.

>>Smart Strip - auto switches your devices on/off automatically, to save energy and save you money on your electric bills.

>>Kill a Watt - Identify the real energy abusers in your house. See how much it costs you to keep your computer running all day. Kill a Watt review

Insulation & Green Construction
>>Weatherize & Insulate - Save up to 20 percent of your heating and cooling costs. (from Alliance to Save Energy)

  • Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter wastes money. A handy homeowner can seal up holes to the outside by weatherstripping doors and sealing windows and other gaps along the home’s foundation. A combination of air sealing and adding insulation to attics, basements, and crawlspaces provides tremendous energy savings and increased comfort.
  • The easiest and most cost-effective way to insulate your home is to add insulation in the attic. If you have less than 6 or 7 inches, you can probably benefit by adding more. Most U.S. homes should have between R-38 and R-49 attic insulation. In order to achieve this, many homeowners should add between R-19 to R-30 insulation (about 6 to 10 inches).
  • Other effective places to add insulation include unfinished basement walls and crawlspaces. Insulating walls can be more complex, but it can be worthwhile to do if you have little or no insulation now. Check with a contractor for advice.
>>Looking to build? Visit Living Homes to learn about pre-fab, LEED certified living homes and take a virtual tour of some of these architectural wonders.

Global Warming
>>
An Inconvenient Truth - The companion website to the movie and book.

>>HeatisOnline.org
- Excellent web resource for tracking the real information about Global Warming. Written by Ross Gelbspan, author of the two ground breaking books on Global Warming we mentioned, The Heat is On and Boiling Point.

>>Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air
- The Union of Concerned Scientists article on the connection between the "Global Warming skeptics", their funding by Exxon Mobile, and the skeptics history of performing the same disception for the Tobacco industry.

Coal
>>End Mountain Top Removal -
Find out your connection to mountain top removal. Mountaintop removal is a radical form of coal mining in which entire mountains are literally blown up -- and it is happening here in America on a scale that is almost unimaginable. Mountaintop removal is devastating hundreds of square miles of Appalachia; polluting the headwaters of rivers that provide drinking water to millions of Americans; and destroying a distinctly American culture that has endured for generations.


Renewable Energy

>>DSIRE - DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995 and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the N.C. Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

>>How to sign up for LADWP Green Power - Demonstrate your commitment to the environment by signing up for our Green Power which allows you to purchase renewable energy from LADWP. For a small premium—currently, three cents per kilowatt hour—you can support renewable energy, a cleaner environment, and a greener Los Angeles.

>>SolarSantaMonica.com - The City of Santa Monica's excellent resource for those looking to add Solar Power.

>>L.A. County Solar Map - Gives residents and businesses a simple and fast way to find out whether you can save money and the environment by installing solar panels. The Solar Map uses and advanced solar engineering model which uses roof size, pitch, and shading from nearby trees, buildings, and mountains to provide a building's solar potential.

>>Grid Alternatives - Get active! Join this great nonprofit organization that
works to bring the power of solar electricity and energy efficiency to low-income homeowners, and to provide community members with training and hands-on experience with renewable energy technologies. As a volunteer you receive hands on training and will have the opportunity to be part of a solar installation. Sign up to receive reminders of their next training opportunities.

Solar Power PhotoVoltaic (PV) Financing
>
>www.solarfred.com - Think Solar technology is expensive? Visit this blog to learn more.

>www.newresourcebank.com - offers renewable energy loans.

>>
www.heliopower.com - PV with no upfront costs and higher KiloWatt cost.

>>www.sunrunhome.com - PV with small upfront investment and lower KiloWatt cost.

>>www.solarcity.com
- PV company which in addition to selling the panels now also sells the service the Panels provide, called a Solar Lease program. With the SolarLease, you pay as you go, instead of all at once. Monthly lease payments combined with the lower electric bill is usually lower than what you are currently paying the utility company. So you can save money every month! Not only that, but this savings can grow over time as utility rates continue to increase. That's because utility rates have historically increased over 5% every year. With a SolarLease, you can lock in lower electricity rates for the term of your lease.





















Carbon Offsets
>>Carbon Neutral Digest - website tracking latest news regarding carbon offsetting

>>Carbon Offset price comparisons
- link to the ever growing and changing list of organizations to offset your CO2 based on price

>>A few suggestions to help you select an offsetter:
Carbonfund.org
Atmosfair
Climate Friendly
My Climate

Native Energy

Controversy over Additionality
>>LA Times hands it to Native Energy
- from Carbon Neutral Digest.

Waste

Waste

In the News
>>Santa Monica now offers oil and grease recycling for restaurants and residents for free!

>>Recession squeezes recycling programs - Rising recycling costs and dropping values for recyclables are hurting city budgets.


>>Following The Trail Of Toxic E-Waste - 60 Minutes November 9, 2008 segment that follows America's toxic electronic waste as it is illegally shipped to become China's dirty secret


Landfills






























>>How a Landfill Works. Description from the website How Stuff Works


>>See Where Your Recyclables Go - Visit this interactive website from Waste Management to see what happens with your recycled products.

Plastic Pollution in the Pacific Ocean
Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he's drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.


Beyond a Linear Waste System

>>Learn more about Cradle to Cradle design by clicking the diagram.












Creative Reuse, Purchasing Recycled Content, and other Resources

>>AltUse - The ultimate destination for everything Alternative Use! Save money and heal the earth by extending the life of everything you already own.

>>Recycle4Cash - Recycle your used electronics for cash and reduce your ecological footprint. Through this resource you can appraise and turn your used cell phone, computer, games, MP3 player, camera and GPS into cash.

>>Zero Waste Moving - www.rentagreenbox.com founder Spencer T. Brown has imaginatively found a way to reclaim trash from landfills and reformat them into ecofriendly moving supplies, including boxes, peanuts, packing paper and dollies.

>>Hair for Oil Spills Program - donate your hair clippings to make hairmats that can help with oil spill clean up.

>>Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide by Greenpeace - Recycled tissue products help protect ancient forest, clean water, and wildlife habitat. Via Greenpeace.

>>Free Cycle Los Angeles

>>Craig's List Free Stuff

>>StuffYaDontWant

>>CA Integrated Waste Management Board Recycled-Content Products Directory

>>Sign up for Los Angeles Apartments & Condos Recycling

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
>>Santa Monica Neighborhood HHW Collection Sites - a complete list of locations in Santa Monica where you can drop-off your electronics, lightbulbs, thermometers, batteries, paints and solvents, and oil and oil filters.

>>Los Angeles HHW and Electronic Waste Program - See a schedule of Collection Events or see a list of Permanent HHW Collection Centers.

>>e-Stewards - a group of recyclers leading North American electronics recyclers and asset managers who have been qualified as upholding the highest standard of environmental and social responsibility.

>>eWaste Center, Inc. - free pick up of e-waste in the Greater Los Angeles area if you have at least one computer monitor or one television to dispose.

Composting


>
>SmartGardening.com - Countywide Smart Gardening program has FREE composting and gardening workshops. They are an excellent resource and their workshops are lead by very knowledgeable instructors. Check their website for a list of upcoming scheduled workshops. Highly recommended! DIY Worm Bin Instructions


>>Want to get started composting? Check out this informative video

>>Composters.com - Great web resource for picking out what kind of Composter works for you.

>>Groundworks' Free Java Mulch - "Stop by five of our six Los Angeles locations, and take home a free bag of Java Mulch, spent coffee grinds-- packed in previously used coffee bags. Using Java Mulch in your garden saves landfill space while perking up your petunias!"

>>Tutorial on homemade vermicompost - Follow Jay on this video blog of his journey in creating the perfect vermicompost for an apartment setting. Via PodTech.Net

>>Compost Pooch Poop - Step-by-Step blog outlining a simple and effective method for composting your pooch's poop. Blog hosted by Boing-Boing

Junk Mail Prevention sites
>>Movement against unsolicited phone book delivery - Sign up to remove your home or office from receiving telephone directories. Signing the petition authorizes www.YellowPagesGoesGreen.org to contact the Telephone Directory organizations to cease and desist from distributing any and all future directories published to your listed premise.

>>
Climate Change Enclosed: Junk Mail's Impact on Global Warming - Greenhouse gases created each year by junk mail are the annual equivalent of more than nine million cars. The average car travels 12,000 miles per year -- as opposed to junk mail, which gets us nowhere. Read about how junk mail contributes to global warming in the report, Climate Change Enclosed via Forest Ethics.

>>EcoLogical Mail Coalition
- helps businesses stop mail addressed to former employees.

>>Native Forest Network's Guide
- five easy steps to stop junk mail.

Chemicals

CHEMICALS

In the News

>>Smart Choices About Pesticides - Pesticides are designed to repel or kill pests, but can have unwanted effects on other organisms and wash off into rivers, oceans, and our water supplies. Click here for fact sheets on ants, fleas, roaches, yellowjackets, healthy gardens, aphids, lawn care, snails & slugs, roses, and weeds.

>>Widely used pesticide atrazine found widespread in U.S. drinking waters -
Banned by the European Union, atrazine is the most commonly detected pesticide in U.S. waters and is a known endocrine disruptor, which means that it affects human and animal hormones. It has been tied to poor sperm quality in humans and hermaphroditic amphibians. Via ENN.

>>2009 Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Guide - "3 of 5 brand-name sunscreens either don’t protect skin from sun damage or contain hazardous chemicals — or both. An Environmental Working Group investigation of 1,671 sunscreens rates the season’s best — and worst."

>>BPA linked to heart arrhythmia and female infertility - New animal study links Bisphenol A (aka BPA) to more health problems. BPA is the basic building block of polycarbonate plastics...Via Science News

>>Consumers instantly recognize them as household miracles of modern chemistry- Teflon, Scotchgard, Stainmaster, Gore-Tex - But PFC's are now found to be toxic and a risk to humans and
other living creatures.

>>Flame Retardant Chemicals Taint all U.S. Waters -
Chemicals used as flame retardants in consumer products since the 1970s now are found in all U.S. coastal waters and the Great Lakes. Via ENN

>>California officials launch 'Green Chemistry' initiative - The plan would inform consumers how items sold in the state are manufactured and transported and how environmentally safe their ingredients are. Via LA Times.

>>
Follow-Up Tests of Leading Personal Care and Household Cleaning Brands Reveal Improvements in Levels of Carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane - 3/6/2009 ANAHEIM, CA - a new follow-up study was released that assesses levels of the petrochemical carcinogen 1,4-dioxane in leading conventional as well as "natural" and "organic" brands of personal care and household cleaning products. The results indicate significant improvement for 23 products from sixteen major brands that had formerly been found to contain potentially dangerous levels of the contaminant 1,4-dioxane in a similar study held in March of 2008. Click here to download a PDF of the new results. Via Organic Consumers Association.

>>Toxic toys - PBS web video documenting the Phthalates issue as an example of the safer EU standards versus the more dangerous US standards.

Hygiene Products, Cosmetic Safety and Chemical Regulations
>>Skin Deep - Take a look at the best resource available for finding out the safety of your daily hygiene products. The Environmental Working Group, who put together the Skin Deep website, is a terrific resource for information regarding environmental health.

>>HealthyStuff.org - Contains a database of more than 5,000 products to help you find out what chemicals are in everything from your car to your pet's chew toy.

>>Ch
emicals In The Home - NPR's interactive guide highlighting some differences between EU and US chemical regulations. Via NPR.

EcoHome: Safer Home Cleaning & Repair Products, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

>>Getting rid of ants without chemicals: learn how to use vinegar and coffee grounds to control ants at eHow.com

>>Plastic Albatross - Plastic Albatross is community-based campaign to educate the public about toxins in plastics and household products and their burden on the health and fertility of humans.

>>
Consumer Reports' GreenerChoices.org lists several simple recipes for making cleaners at home using familiar household ingredients. See all the recipes.

>>Alternative Household Product Recipes (PDF)- from 888CleanLA

>>I Don't Want to Scrub - A test of eight green bathroom cleaning products from Grist.org

>>Arm & Hammer Essentials - check out Arm & Hammers newest line of products. They used phosphate free, biodegradable ingredients and come in concentrated bottles which means less packaging and less transportation cost and pollution.

>>Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC) - They specialize in finding non-toxic and least-toxic, integrated pest management (IPM) solutions to urban and agricultural pest problems.

>>Eco Painting Tips - Visit living expert Danny Seo's blog to learn about eco-friendly painting tips from biodegradable drop cloths to zero-VOC paints.

PVC
>>PVC Poison Plastic - Learn about the dangers of PVC and it's hazardous life cycle, from manufacturing to disposal.

>>Company PVC Policies - List of Companies Phasing out PVC

Safety Regulation
>>Via Organic Consumers Association
MYTH - Cosmetics are carefully regulated by the FDA
  • FACTS -The FDA does not conduct or require independent pre-market safety testing of new products or chemicals. The cosmetics and personal care products industry must provide its own safety testing.
  • Companies are allowed to provide data to the FDA regarding the safety of their own product ingredients by funding scientific review boards comprised of doctors and toxicologists which they select. In this way, companies seeking to profit from products may influence the selection of study results submitted to the FDA submits.
  • Once a product is on the market, the burden of legal proof required for its removal is extremely high.
  • Since cancer and birth defects are often latent occurrences, it is difficult if not impossible to prove causation in the judicial system. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to remove a potentially dangerous product.
Disposing Unused Meds or Medical Supplies?
Have you ever flushed old pharmaceuticals down the toilet or dumped them into the trash? Unfortunately, our waterways and landfills are becoming polluted with chemicals from disposed pharmaceuticals, negatively affecting humans and wildlife. So until our Federal government instates a program to properly dispose of old pharmaceuticals (pilot programs are currently underway), please take a minute to check the nonprofit Healthy Equity Project and see if and how you can donate your medicines or medical supplies to needy people in developing countries.