Water and Los Angeles: Part One
This is my favorite quote from the late California Senator S.I. Hayakawa, referring to the United States acquisition of the Panama Canal. I don’t agree with the sentiment, but I appreciate his audacity in saying such a thing, even though I’m pretty sure he was joking.
The “We stole it fair and square” story is the same with the water we use here in Los Angeles. Much of our water is being drawn from distant sources. And the stories of how we got that water, and the environmental price being paid by the land, wildlife and people at the source is not very pretty.
I thought I would start with the water we are taking from Mono and Owens Lakes. Tucked away on the Eastern side of the Sierra’s, I have been driving by this lake and the river that feeds it for years on the way to skiing (well, the rest of the family skiis while I live the spa-girl dream) in Mammoth. North of Mammoth, at the turn off to Tuolome Meadows and Yosemite on Highway 395 is Mono Lake, another source of water for us Angelenos.
Here are some links so you can learn the stories about the biggest water heist in history.:
From personal observation over the past 25 years, it does appear to me that Mono Lake is “healthier” than it was in the 1990’s. The water level is higher, there are wetland areas, and flowing streams. YAY!
Owens Lake, on the other hand, looks pretty dismal. When we were there, a fierce wind was blowing a TON of dust over the highway and we had to retreat to the car to avoid being sand blasted. I hope to go back in the spring and walk around the trails to see if I missed something.
What is pretty clear is that restoring the Owens Lake to anything remotely like its past size is probably off the table, unless those of us who live in Los Angeles do something about our water use.
A few organizations that can help you decrease food waste in your home.
So…it has been a year since I started on the composting journey, and the results have been mixed at best. So far I have tried composting leaves, dog poop, and food. Here’s what I have learned.
I don’t know exactly what went wrong in the great leaf composting debacle of 2019 – 2020, but it wasn’t pretty. I have decided to throw in the towel, and instead of composting leaves I am now mulching them. This is working out GREAT! I bought an electric leaf mulcher, which is basically a weed wacker with a funnel feed on top, and a bag attached at the bottom. In 5 minutes, I can shred a barrel full of leaves! And they make fabulous mulch for the flower beds!!! YAY!!
The dog poop is disgusting, but after 4 months I have some real compost that is now worked into the soil of the future bee/butterfly garden in the front yard. YAY!!
Food composting has not been satisfying. Even after months, the food compost is not looking very compost-y. No matter how many YouTube videos I watch, I’m not getting it right. So I started doing some research to figure out what to do, and here is what I’ve found out.
Each of these organizations has a variety of different services and a unique mission, but all are striving to decrease food waste and restore the soil.
When I was in the working world, my professional life was all about children with special needs. And I frequently had to answer questions about diet and nutrition. In truth, while I had some minimal education about nutrition in school, most of what I learned came either from being on Weight Watchers most of my adult life (OK, without much long term success!) or from my own reading. I lived my own life for years as if Skittles and Ben and Jerry’s were 2 of the 4 major food groups.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the committed, amazing parents of the wonderful children I worked with for 25 years. Because of their concerns about the effects of pesticides and other chemicals on their children’s development, I went out and educated myself beyond what I had learned in school (which was pretty much nothing).
So I want to share two resources with everyone. One, which I have been using for years, is the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, lists of foods that their research shows should be eaten only if grown organically and those that are OK to eat without the organic certification. If you go to www.EWG.org there is a printable list for both. Some people feel that the EWG goes too far in its recommendations; personally, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Yesterday I read the latest edition of Consumer Reports (October 2020) where there is an excellent article about produce and pesticides. I don’t know if you can access this article if you don’t subscribe to Consumer Reports, so here are the Cliff Notes:
TAKE HOME POINT – PAY ATTENTION TO THE PESTICIDES IN PRODUCE AND BUY ORGANIC WHEN IT COUNTS!
SO… HERE’S WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM SLASH YOUR WASTE SEPTEMBER