Picks from the people who bring you the Boulevard Sentinel
Here are six local ways to be part of the solution to big environmental problems.
Eat More Veggies
Eating more plants and less meat helps the environment because livestock is a major contributor to greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The trick, of course, is how to eat more veggies and less meat without sacrificing flavor and enjoyment.
Enter Radical Cooks, where beginner to advanced cooks from all walks of life learn to prepare delicious, healthy vegetarian meals, which are then shared by the class participants.
The classes are taught by Radical Cooks founder, Nina Zippay, an environmental lawyer turned cooking teacher, and are held at Food + Shelter, a beautifully designed commercial kitchen and gathering space in Highland Park.
Upcoming classes include “Farm Food Friday,” where participants use the freshest ingredients from local farmers markets to create a gourmet dinner, and “Eat Your Veggies – in Your Pasta,” where participants learn to make gnocchi, ravioli and fettucine, paired with various colorful veggies. “Farm Food Friday” is on Jan. 25 / 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. / $89. “Eat Your Veggies – in Your Pasta” is on Sunday, Jan. 27 / 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. / $89. To learn more and sign up, visit: radicalcooks.com or call 213-308-8954.
Recycle Food Scraps
Compost – the rich organic matter created from recycled food scraps – has always been a key ingredient in healthy soil. It is also important in the fight against global warming, because composting keeps food waste out of landfills where it produces greenhouse gases as it decomposes.
The good news is that composting is now easier than ever.
In the past year, L.A. Compost, a local nonprofit, has more than doubled the number of locations where you can drop off food waste for composting. In Highland Park, locations include All Saints Episcopal Church at 5619 Monte Vista Ave. and Milagro Allegro Community Garden at 111 S. Ave. 56. In Elysian Valley, locations include the Elysian Valley Community Garden at 1816 Blake Ave. and Women’s Center for Creative Work at 2425 Glover Pl. For composting instructions and access to drop off locations, write to email@example.com, or call 626-340-6249. For more information, visit lacompost.org or @lacompost on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
You can also drop off food scraps at the L.A. Compost stall at the Atwater Village Farmers Market, 3528 Larga Ave. on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or at the Los Feliz Farmers Market, 1825 N. Vermont Ave. on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
You can learn to compost your food scraps at a workshop sponsored by L.A. Sanitation (Solid Resources Citywide Recycling Division) on Saturday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Feb. 23 at 5400 Griffith Park Drive in Griffith Park, starting at 9 a.m. City residents with proof of residence can buy a composting bin at the workshop for the reduced price of $20. For more information, visit lacitysan.org and click on the ‘Education and Sustainability’ link. Starting in February, L.A. Compost will also host composting workshops. Check the website at lacompost.org for dates, times and locations.
Plant a Tree or Two – or Seven
L.A. has lost thousands of trees to drought and pests and is on track to lose one third to one half of the remaining trees to old age alone in the next 40 years, according to the City’s Department of Urban Forestry. The loss is occurring at a time when trees are crucially needed to cool homes, streets and schools, filter asthma-causing air pollution and help reduce greenhouse gases.
You can order up to seven shade trees, free of charge, from City Plants, a private-public partnership of nonprofits, LADWP and other city departments. The trees are delivered to your door in 5-gallon planters with stakes, ties and fertilizer pellets. All you have to do is plant them and care for them. (Plant them on the west or east side of the house to get the most possible shade and energy savings.) You can also order a street tree to be planted on the parkway in front of your house; all you have to do is water it.
To order trees, go to cityplants.org. The website also has information about ordering free trees for businesses, schools and apartment buildings and other ways you can help to grow a greener future for L.A.
Banned from the Bins
Some things cannot be thrown away in any of your household bins, including electronic waste like old cell phones and computers, and hazardous household waste, like paints, used motor oil and batteries. For these items, the city has established permanent collection sites, called S.A.F.E. Centers, where you pull up, pop the trunk and wait while workers unload the items from your car. The S.A.F.E Center for Northeast Los Angeles, at 4600 Colorado Blvd. in Atwater Village, is open on Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (except on holidays and rainy days).
S.A.F.E. stands for Solvents/Automotive/Flammables/Electronics. Other items to take to a S.A.F.E. Center are: Fluorescent bulbs, solvents and cleaning products, pool and garden chemicals, printers, cables, televisions, microwaves and video games. S.A.F.E. Centers also take needles, lancets, syringes and other “Sharps” that are used for taking medicine at home. For a complete list of accepted items, visit: lacitysan.org and enter “SAFE” in the search bar.
Disposing of Un-S.A.F.E. Items
Some items are banned from household trash bins and from S.A.F.E. Centers. These include smoke detectors, LED lights, tires, large appliances and other bulky items, business/commercial waste, firecrackers, ammunition, radioactive materials and medical/biological wastes. For help disposing of these items, call L.A. Sanitation customer care at 800-773-2489.
The issue of climate change – and the local adaptations it will require – fits directly into “Global Cities, Local Realities,” the theme of this year’s public lecture series at Occidental College. On Feb. 6, the speaker will be Manuel Pastor, a professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at USC, where he also directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity. Prof. Pastor’s research has focused on the social movements that seek to solve economic, environmental and social problems in low-income urban communities. Occidental College / 1600 Campus Rd. / Thorne Hall / Wednesday, Feb. 6 / 11:45 a.m. / Free