Growing up, when I told acquaintances I lived in Los Angeles, the reply was often, “I’m sorry.” I didn’t expect most people to understand that behind the traffic, pollution and Botox, there’s a never ending supply of hidden gems that make LA an incredibly rich, fulfilling and exciting place to live.
That being said, I always love finding another reason to feel good about living here, an extra puff of proverbial helium to take my balloon of LA pride even higher. This week, my balloon got a big lift thanks to the city’s decision to ban single use plastic bags. In a 13-1 vote, the LA city council decided to phase plastic bags out of retail stores entirely and to charge customers for using paper bags. Los Angeles is the largest city in the nation to enact this law, which means many smaller cities will probably follow – great news for the country and the environment!
Shortly after, the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting announced a pilot program that will install 100 solar panels on new LED street lights in Venice, Hollywood and Porter Ranch. Thanks to the solar panels, the waterproof LED lights in the fixtures will operate independently of the energy grid—a no brainer for sunny southern California, if you ask me! And the green thinking keeps coming. The bureau also has plans to install 140,000 new outdoor LED lights throughout the city, which will become the largest LED lighting retrofit in any US city to date. The Bureau of Street Lighting “estimates that the program will save energy by 40 percent, approximately 40,500 tons of carbon emissions per year, and reduce maintenance of the city’s street lighting system,” according to LAist.com.
The best part is that the lights will not cost the city or the taxpayers anything at all—they will pay for themselves in energy savings alone!
If that’s not enough to make the haters reconsider their opinion of LA, then might I suggest they stay put in whatever plastic bag-covered, non-palm tree adorned city they currently reside.