Tony Konecny, the head of coffee operations at Locol, outside the branch in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. CreditEmily Berl for The New York Times
We have no reason to debate the logic of a more reasonably priced cup of quality coffee:
LOS ANGELES — The $1 cup of coffee is divisive, as drinks go.
For some, it’s a staple of the American morning: a comforting routine, a good deal. Anything that costs more than $1 is needlessly expensive, a waste of money — the coffee from a deli, diner or doughnut cart is all you need to start the day. For others, the $1 cup is suspiciously cheap. Maybe it tastes bad, or its production does harm to the land and is unfair to laborers. If you have to pay more, then that is probably a reflection of a drink’s true cost. Continue reading
Ron Finley in a garden outside his home in Los Angeles. Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times
When Amie passed along a link to him way back when, it was all fresh news about an amazing challenge set up by an urban charismatic. Now that challenge has been turned around and amped up and we link again to Ron to help him gets what he needs:
In case you did not see it yesterday, take a look at this when you have the time to read it in full. For now, over a quick coffee, click the image above to go to a video, 5:30 minutes long, to understand what the National Park Service is doing on behalf of this majestic lost cat:
The carnivore biologist Jeff Sikich captures and examines a mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains. Courtesy National Park Service
Recently I have been on morning walks extending miles across the waters from Thevara (the land on the left across the water in the photo above) our neighborhood starting in 2010. In the early years, while getting to know our new neighborhood, I snapped photos mainly of people and took notes.
Thanks to Anthropocene for this summary of a counterintuitive finding:
Raccoon track in mud along stream. Sarpy County, Nebraska. October 1996. Central Tallgrass Prairie Ecoregion. Photo © The Nature Conservancy (Chris Helzer)
It seems to go hand in hand with today’s other post, so thanks to The Nature Conservancy as always for this one:
By Matt Miller
Tracking is one of the most family-friendly wildlife activities; you can enjoy it anywhere there is a patch of open ground. As I’ve written previously, kids love deciphering the mysteries of animal tracks. Even my two-year-old son loves checking out the tracks in our yard.
Header image: Street art in London by Aida. Credit: Maureen Barlin via Flickr.
Anthropocene is back, after a brief holiday break, with a good summary of findings on urban-influenced evolution:
Flexn artists, photo by Sodium for MIF 2015
We had not heard of Flexn until this week, when they were mentioned in a podcast with the phenomenal Peter Sellars (alluded to once previously in these pages, and linked to another time directly). Now we want to know more. And it looks like one way to learn more will happen at The Shed. Back in August, when we first heard about The Shed, it was a quick glance at the future. Now we have more detail, thanks to this early release of a profile in next week’s New Yorker:
How will the director of New York’s ambitious experimental cultural center change the city?
By Calvin Tomkins
Every so often, it seems, visual artists are stricken by the urge to perform. The “happenings” movement in the nineteen-sixties—young painters and sculptors doing nonverbal theatre—was explained as a response to Pollock, de Kooning, and other gestural Abstract Expressionists: it was the gesture without the painting. Continue reading
As Kochi is awash with participating artists putting finishing touches on their Kochi-Muziris Biennale works, it’s exciting to see art flourishing in other cities on a regular basis.
Atlanta’s Living Walls seeks to promote, educate and change perspectives about public space in local communities via street art. Dozens of international artists participate in an annual conference on street art and urbanism that began in August 2010 in the city of Atlanta. Continue reading
Thanks to Cool Green Science:
BY TIMOTHY BOUCHER
We’ve all used Google Earth — to explore remote destinations around the world or to check out our house from above. But Google Earth Engine is a valuable tool for conservationists and geographers like myself that allows us to tackle some tricky remote-sensing analysis.
After having completed a few smaller spatial science projects in the cloud (mostly on the Google Earth Engine, or GEE, platform), I decided to give it a real workout — by analyzing more than 300 gigabytes of data across 28 United States and seven Chinese cities. Continue reading
By the year 2020, the City of Paris wants to add 100 hectares of vertical gardens and roofs, with a third dedicated to urban agriculture.The Vertical Gardens by Patric Blanc / Flickr
Greening La Ville Lumière is as good a new objective as we can think of for a city that already has alot going for it (thanks to EcoWatch for the story):
Earlier this summer, Paris quietly passed a new law encouraging residents to help green the City of Light by planting their own urban gardens. Continue reading
Image by pbs.org
We already know that climate change is no longer something to be concerned about for the future, but rather a very present danger. There are ways they can adapt, and part of that involves becoming more sustainable, as some are already doing. But one thing we hadn’t learned much about until now is the impact of increasing heat on the urban environment. Madeline Ostrander writes:
Katy Schneider, the former deputy mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, lives near Eastern Parkway, which forms one strand of her city’s necklace of green. Spending time on the leafy boulevard can make Louisville seem deceptively lush and shady, even when midsummer heat bakes the downtown. But about five years ago, Schneider was surprised to learn that the city had a shortage of trees. In the spring of 2011, students at the University of Louisville surveyed the local canopy and found that it had about thirteen per cent fewer trees than the average for metropolitan areas in the region.
If you happen to be (or work) in Cincinnati, you will likely notice that the city is setting precedent as one of the “greenest,” most innovative cities in the US. According to an article published on Triple Pundit, the city is one of the fastest growing centers for technology innovation and it is employing that expansion to propel its 60 sustainability initiatives as outlined in the Green Cincinnati Plan, which covers a whole spectrum of topics from renewable energy, to transportation, to food waste.
“In addition to benefiting the environment, our initiatives must make economic sense (save money, create jobs) and improve quality of life for residents (improve public health, mobility, connectedness)” explained Ollie Kroner, the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Cincinnati.
Still from video by The New Yorker
Some trash can be found and then turned into art, like the pieces of plastic that were built into sculptures at the National Zoo. Other trash is not necessarily garbage, but merely objects that someone doesn’t have the space or energy to take care of, and that man’s trash can become another man’s treasure. A man who worked for the New York Department of Sanitation for about thirty years spent a good part of his career collecting and curating things people threw away, but which caught his eye as interesting treasures. David Owen writes:
Nelson Molina grew up in a housing project in East Harlem, in an apartment where his mother still lives. “Starting when I was nine years old, in 1962, I had a passion for picking up,” he said recently. “I had, like, a three-block radius. I would look through the garbage and pick up toys that people threw out, and I would fix them. I had two brothers and three sisters, and I was like Santa Claus to them.”
Nature Conservancy biologist Sophie Parker in the Glendale Narrows section of the Lost Angeles River. Source: Yale E360
It might be hard to believe, but at one point in time the Los Angeles River was characterized by perennial and seasonal wetland, seeps, springs, swamps, riparian forests, and mud and alkali flats. Starting in 1938 and until 1960, however, the river underwent a radical transformation, as it was enclosed by a concrete straitjacket for 51 miles to funnel the water through a channel that prevents flooding.
In its natural state [the L.A. River] was often little more than a trickle for nine months of the year. During the rainy season, however, the small, braided stream would turn into a powerful, churning river. It behaved like a dropped firehose, wildly lashing the Los Angeles valley, scouring gravel and soil across a seven-mile-wide floodplain, and carving a new course with every deluge. When the waters receded, a mosaic of fertile marshes, ponds, and other wetlands remained.
Now the L.A. River will undergo another profound change in the near future that will release parts of the river from its man-made confines and allow for the water to transgress more naturally. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in collaboration with the City of L.A. and conservation groups, completed a plan to remove three miles of concrete, enhance an 11-mile run through the Elysian Valley called the Glendale Narrows, and restore lost habitat. Continue reading
We have a long fascination with Land Art Installations and urban land reclamation going back to the earliest days of this site. Learning about landscape architect Adam E. Anderson’s public art project in Providence, Rhode Island was exciting news.
This summer long “botanical performance” takes land that until recently was covered by an elevated highway system and cultivating it with volunteers into a different sort of public space.
Rather than using high maintenance and energy intensive large swaths of turf grass, the installation uses the bio-accumulating (removes toxins) and habitat creating properties of Helioanthus (aka, Sunflower) planted in rows in a series of large circles, leaving paths in-between for intimate exploration. Continue reading
Whether you live in an urban or rural setting, the abundance of edible plants that surround us typically remains unconsumed unless we are referring to the plants that are growing in our own gardens. “Wildman” Steve, NYC’s famed foraging expert, is an avid naturalist who learns about the properties of common plants growing in neighborhoods in order to identify their utility for human consumption, including their medicinal attributes in some cases. He shares his findings through various forums and even has a phone application to offer a practical and user-friendly tool for those who want to get “in the field” and learn.
All of his videos, like the one below, remind us of the plethora of flavorful plant species right in our own backyard or neighborhood park and the following one highlights the joy it can be to do it with someone you love.
Image from Evergreen.edu
Given the large amount of bird lovers on this blog, if you have not seen the documentary The Parrots of Telegraph Hill I recommend you watch it (list-keeping birders, on the other hand, might not like it as much). As any of our followers would know, every day on our blog we feature a bird, usually exotic to westerners, on our Bird of the Day post, and frequently have a bird-related post (as you can see below) regarding their habits, migration, population change, and more (I guess I’ll add another one to that list right now!). Continue reading
Downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains via Wikimedia Commons
Our posts about solar power normally include some mention of the batteries involved, since that’s where the electricity is stored for actual domestic or commercial use. Lithium-ion batteries in particular are some of the more powerful ones on the market, but sustainable options are on our radar too. This week, we learned about the proposal for a set of over 18,000 lithium-ion batteries to be put together as a super-battery in Los Angeles to meet peak demand. John Fialka reports for Scientific American:
By 2021, electricity use in the west Los Angeles area may be in for a climate change-fighting evolution.
For many years, the tradition has been that on midsummer afternoons, engineers will turn on what they call a “peaker,” a natural gas-burning power plant In Long Beach. It is needed to help the area’s other power plants meet the day’s peak electricity consumption. Thus, as air conditioners max out and people arriving home from work turn on their televisions and other appliances, the juice will be there.