Individuals can restore their community and help the planet
Sustainable development: "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
— World Commission on
Environment and Development
Ah, spring. And with it comes Earth Day, an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970 in response to a U.S. oil spill, Earth Day now includes events in more than 193 countries.
One can actually “go green” right here in the community and help future Angelenos.
Yes, where some see an expected extinction of all living things, Earth Day disciples know that some simple, effective actions can help the planet.
“Don’t worry about the whole Earth,” said Douglas W. Tallamy, an entomology Professor at the University of Delaware and author of several books on conservation. “Worry about the piece of the Earth that you can influence.”
For instance, a green lawn is a desert to a butterfly, bee or ladybug. There are no native plants or flowers there to feast upon. But even a small planter on an apartment balcony can save an insect’s life. Insects pollinate flowers, along with many foods, and since they are at the bottom of the food chain, helping them can help everyone else.
Native plants can require little or no fertilization or watering. The National Wildlife Federation has a tool to find plants native to South L.A. at www.nwf.org. Spring is one of the best times of the year to plant.
EARTHDAY.ORG (EDO), the global organizer of Earth Day and a recruiter to the environmental movement, is hosting The Great Global Cleanup — a campaign to rid the environment of waste and plastic pollution for good.
Now in its fifth year, The Great Global Cleanup is the world’s largest coordinated volunteer event, tackling the issue of mismanaged waste and providing opportunities for individuals and organizations to see the positive, tangible impacts their actions have on our environment. The collective goal is to remove millions more pieces of trash from our green spaces, urban communities, and waterways.
“Plastics are contaminating our oceans, clogging our drains, causing floods, spreading disease, killing wildlife, and impacting low-income communities the most.” said Kathleen Rogers, EARTHDAY.ORG president. “Governments, businesses and citizens must all contribute to stop the destruction of our shared home and restore nature.”
The campaign encourages governments, businesses, and citizens to unite together to create cleaner communities with a series of events during the month of April.
A Restore Our Earth Trash Pick Up will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, April 21 at 10149 Yukon Ave. S., Inglewood. The best way to register for the event, which will be hosted by a Middle School Environmental Peace Club, is at https://www.earthday.org/campaign/cleanup/.
Citizens are invited search the map at www.earthday.org/cleanup/#map for other events.
A zoom webinar will be held at 11 a.m. April 21 by the South Coast AQMD’s Why Healthy Air Matters Program (WHAM). This virtual Earth Day event is designed to inspire student action towards healthier air and learning about career pathways and internships. WHAM’s goal is to help clean the air we breathe. Visit https://www.aqmd.gov/home/programs/education/wham to sign up.
Try a traffic transition
According to organizers, air quality is improved by nearly 50% in surrounding areas on CicLAvia days. And as the clean energy shift accelerates, LA residents are pondering just what to do with the more than 70,000 cars that flood streets and freeways here. Well, residents are invited to put them away for a few days for upcoming CicLAvia events.
Mark the calendars for free CicLAmini events, which will be held in Watts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 21 and in South LA on June 18. The June event will include the third annual Juneteenth Celebration and Resource Fair, sponsored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell.
On CicLAvia days, communities are transformed into public parks, where participants can Jog, ride, bike, skate, run, walk, skateboard, spectate, and enjoy the route of closed city streets. This free event is welcoming to people of all ages and abilities and is presented by Metro.
“One of the reasons I got with this project is seeing how CicLAvia events connect communities,” said Tafarai Bayne, CicLAvia’s chief strategist, who joined the staff of the nonprofit after riding in one of the events.
“People are smiling and chatting and the like,” he added. “I think it’s the kind of tool we need. You don’t hear car traffic, no din or noises, it’s very peaceful. The vibe is really contagious.”
Bayne also mentioned that “pedicabs” are available for free rides from hub locations on the CicLAvia routes.
“Individual bicycles are cool, but not everyone can ride an individual bike. Pedicabs are another kind of conveyance we can use to get around,” he said. “They allow a person to sit down and get a ride and get around the event.”
These pedestrian-oriented experiences will feature activities sprinkled along the entire 1-2 mile open street event. CicLAmini is not a race. There’s no starting point or finish line — participants can begin where they like and enjoy the day, as CicLAmini traffic flows in two directions, just like regular traffic.
As a general rule of thumb, only people-powered vehicles are allowed, with exceptions for persons with disabilities. No electric scooters, skateboards, hoverboards, unicycles, motorcycles or other non-people-powered vehicles are allowed, only motorized wheelchairs and related vehicles for people with disabilities.
Class 1 e-bike pedal-assist are allowed. Class 2 e-bikes are allowed when the throttle is powered off. Class 3 e-bikes allowed when pedal-assist is powered off.
As consideration for being allowed to participate in a CicLAmini event, all participants are deemed to have released from liability and waived any right to sue its organizers, their employees, officers, volunteers and agents from any and all claims, including claims of negligence, resulting in any physical injury, illness (including death) or economic loss suffered as a result of participating in this CicLAmini.
For more information, visit www.ciclavia.org or call (213) 355-8500.
Composting and recycling
Reducing home or office food waste in landfills decreases greenhouse gasses; reduces the need for chemical fertilizers; and improves water-holding capacity in soil, better enabling persons to grow their own food.
LAcompost.org has a booth at the Crenshaw Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday near the corner of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard. Dropping off compost at a farmer’s market or compost hub is an easy way to reduce household food waste, connect to the community and promote healthy soils in the city.
The city’s Department of Public Works LA Sanitation and Environment provides green bins for regular recycle trash pick up. They recycle dead leaves, lawn waste, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells. This organics diversion program is due to Senate Bill 1323, a state law requiring all organic waste be diverted from landfills to reduce methane emissions. The collected material will be processed into nutrient rich compost.
The city’s blue bins accept white and colored paper, newspaper, magazines, junk mail, aluminum, tin, metal, glass, cardboard and dry food boxes, plastics and empty aerosol cans. This is mandatory recycling to conserve diminishing landfill space and natural resources., per Assembly Bill 341.
About those outdated gadgets…
By securely and responsibly recycling electronics, they are kept out of landfills. Best Buy recently launched nationwide recycle-by-mail technology boxes. The new service makes electronic recycling easy and convenient for customers, who can ship everything from laptops to cords.
As the nation’s largest retail collector of e-waste, Best Buy has recycled 2.7 billion pounds of electronics and appliances since 2009.
Starting this month, anyone can order a prepaid Best Buy Technology Recycling Box and ship off their old electronics for recycling. Through the service, the company will give that old tech a second life or recycle it responsibly to protect the environment.
“We continue to build on our commitment to be there for our customers throughout the entire lifecycle of their products by making recycling simple and convenient,” said Tim Dunn, Best Buy’s head of environmental sustainability. “Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do and this new service is another step we are taking to protect the planet today and for future generations.”
The company’s goal is to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, so the Best Buy Technology Recycling Box will also be a carbon neutral service.
Here’s how it works: First, order a prepaid box from BestBuy.com. Choose from two options — a small box (9 X 5 X 3 - $22.99), which can carry up to 6 lbs, or a medium box (18 X 14 X 4 - $29.99), which can carry up to 15 lbs.; when the box arrives, fill it up with old gadgets lying around the house whether that’s a tablet, cords, keyboards or more. See the full list of recyclable products on the website, then ship the prepaid box by taking it to the nearest UPS drop-off location or scheduling a pickup with UPS.
The circular economy is a system that prioritizes keeping products and materials in use as long as possible and finding alternatives to throwing them away.
This new nationwide service, a pilot program, adds to the company’s leading recycling program that makes it easy for customers to recycle by dropping off their old electronics at Best Buy stores across the country or scheduling a home pick-up through Haul-Away services.
Some tips for e-waste recycling: See if your tech has value by using the site’s Trade-in Calculator, tradein.bestbuy.com; check to see what items are accepted at your local store and what fees might be associated.
The Best Buy recycler renders all data unrecoverable, but customers can also wipe hard drives before coming in. Real people collect and sort the recycling, so customers are requested to clean tech items before bringing them in.
Think of the impact on the planet if everyone planted trees; covered lawns with insect-friendly, drought-tolerant plants; reduced plastic consumption; participated in advocacy; voted for earth-friendly measures and politicians; learned about sustainable fashion; and practiced responsible consumption. It is not too late for mother Earth.