We are starting to get our footing. We have found the playgrounds. We are figuring out neighborhoods as we work on house-hunting. We are learning the side roads and how best to cross the 405 during rush hour. Life in L.A. is a different ball of wax than life on the East Coast or in London, and we are poking that ball to determine its texture. It remains to be seen if it will suit us.
There is, however, one aspect of life here that is rocking my world. Here, I am not the weirdo with the canvas bag in the grocery store. Here, in fact, I never need to say “I don’t need a bag.” And people look at you a little funny if you need one. We seem to have entered a world where people recognize that they are visitors here on the planet, and they had better behave themselves.
At the Santa Monica Aquarium, which, by the way, is stretching the definition of “aquarium,” they have dual-flush toilets. You push one button for urine, another for more solid contributions. This is brilliant, as one form of waste requires a good deal less water.
At the farmer’s market, there are no trash cans. It is one of those markets with food stalls and tantalizing breakfast options served up on paper plates, but there are no rubbish bins. Everything used there is either recyclable or compostable, so there are only those two types of bins. Volunteers stand by to help people sort out which item is which.
It got a little complicated when I had to change a poopy diaper.
If a crowded farmer’s market can go zero-waste, why can’t more food courts? Why can’t we all have dual-flush toilets? Why can’t other cities create the type of peer pressure I am finding around here to carry one’s own bags?
I feel like I have entered some sort of environmental nirvana, despite all the driving. The jury is out on the people and the cost of housing (holy shit) and the sprawling city, but I think it is safe to say that LA has won a very important portion of my heart.