A different world

            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.

29 responses to “A different world

  1. Having grown up there, I do still appreciate many things about Los Angeles. It’s usually on the forefront of newer trends. I am only 6 hours away from you and still am one of the only ones with a canvas bag. 🙂

  2. hopefully the world is on it’s way to being more self-conscious. love my canvas bags.

  3. it’s hip to be environmentally conscious. cool. that’s a far better stereotype of southern cali than it’s hip to be injecting strange toxins in your face….

  4. I guess those so cal drivers just need to find a way to do less driving and pollute less.

    However, when I grew up there, the smog was terrible from all the pollution. Although it can still be around, it is so much better than when I was a kid.

  5. You’re finding your groove already.

  6. You’re finding your groove already.

  7. one of the supermarkets I go to gave out register coupons for free reusable bags, which was cool, even though they’re only .99 anyway. I was thinking of looking for an expandable string bag because I don’t really like these square little things. I had one for years, years ago.

  8. In HK they are in the midst of their No Plastic Campaign – all of the main grocery stores are cycling out plastic bags and in the next couple of years they will actually charge you MORE to your total bill if you ask for plastic. As of now they give you a discount if you have your own bag! I have a collection of totes now – some for light shopping and others for the bigger trips. LOVE it!!

  9. That’s awesome that LA is so eco-minded. We’re getting better here in the Midwest, but we’re not there yet. We will be, though.

  10. You just described one of the only reasons I could ever (if I ever had to) deal with living in LA, from what I hear.

    Glad you are getting your feet under you.

  11. Well, that makes me feel pretty warm and fuzzy about L.A. Good to know.

  12. That’s very cool. I didn’t know these things about LA.

  13. oh, you are making me so incredibly happy right now. We are planning to move to Northampton and parts of me are nervous, but my green side is going to love, love, love not swimming upstream all the time.

  14. You know how much I love London, but I’ve got to give LA credit on the recycling front. If you think that London is only half-heartedly into recycling now, it is way more so than it was when we moved over here 5 1/2 years ago. And LA makes it easy to recycle, so you can be much lazier and still recycle effectively.

  15. hey, i didn’t know that. it redeems LA significantly in my eyes.

  16. I am really glad you have found something about our amazing city you like – we are despite being car -crazy very green in other ways. You might enjoy : http://greenlagirl.com/

    It’s nice to see someone showing arrogant and ignorant people (see some of your comments) who have never been to LA or only as far as the Chinese Mann theatre that there is much more to this beautiful city than botox and movies.

  17. awwww!!! this was just the slice of life i wanted! i’m so wishing for your happiness in your new home!

  18. oh yes, you are definitely settling in. because only in LA do folks put ‘the’ in front of the freeway numbers!

  19. I’ve been carrying my cloth bags to department stores now. I hope by setting an example, people will try it themselves.

    Good luck way out West.

  20. Recycling has been slower to catch on in the southeast. I get strange looks when I pull out my own bags.

  21. the no trash bins at the farmers market is a new thing. and Santa Monica even has an aquarium? who knew. the long beach one is quite nice.

  22. I’m looking forward to learning about LA from you. I’ve visited for work once and found myself very impressed with the almost European vibe of parts of the city but also overwhelmed by the sprawl.

  23. I worked for a summer in LA, long, long ago and I thought it was one of the best places I’d ever lived.

  24. You’re right: if one community can do it, why can’t another? You make me wish I lived there too!

  25. It’s good to know that you are in a place that is thinking of the environment. It still gets under my skin when people here don’t recycle (it’s SO easy!). And the cloth bag transition is not hard at all, either.
    This is encouraging!!!

  26. Fabulous! I’ve never heard of dual flushing toilets but that sounds brilliant. And I hear you on the bags! Seattle’s mayor recently proposed a 20 cent tax on disposable bags (with a few exceptions), and I’m excited about the prospect of it passing into law.

  27. Israel has had those toilets for years. Never understood why other countries didn’t follow suit.

  28. I do environmental review for the City of L.A., and recently (as in, like, just two weeks ago) we’ve started requiring dual-flush toilets on all reasonably-large new construction projects.

  29. Just to0 clarify, this isn’t a new city ordinance or anything, it’s a response to a note from the Department of Water and Power that says we need to institute a bunch of water-conservation measures. So we’ve started including it as mitigation measures for any projects big enough to reach the environmental review stage, but it’s new enough that we haven’t yet heard any blowback from the public or elected officials on it yet.