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The Green Graze
A Taste of Everything Green
Fall 2013
In This Issue
Go Green, $ave Green
Green Living in Los Angeles
Green Cuisine
Did You Know?
Good News!
L.A. Confidential
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Welcome to TeachingGreen's Fall 2013 issue of The Green Graze, a seasonal newsletter offering a taste of everything green. From transportation to food, from climate change to toxic chemicals, our quarterly newsletter has something for everyone interested in green living, in the Los Angeles area and beyond.

It's true that fall hasn't actually arrived yet, but we couldn't miss telling you about three big eco-events happening in Los Angeles this Saturday, the official last day of summer. Here are three great opportunities to learn something new, get involved and meet new like-minded folks. Check out our L.A. Confidential  section for details.

Inside this issue of The Green Graze:
  • Attention gardeners, bakers and cooks! Trade your tasty treats at food swap near you   
...and more!
Happy grazing!
 go_green_save_greenGo Green, $ave Green

Put-Put Ka-Ching! 
The true costs of owning and driving a personal vehicle in America

Are you one of the 1.5 million Americans who bought a new car in August? If so, you helped to drive new car sales to their highest level in more than six years. Indeed, with the average age of cars on U.S. roads reaching a record 11.4 years, consumers are taking advantage of low interest rates to trade their old wheels for new.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the average price of gas remained relatively high in August at $3.57/gallon, Americans seem to be resuming their love affair with gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. According to the Wall Street Journal, the percent change in sales since August 2012 for cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs/Cross-overs was 15.5 percent, 18.4 percent and 24.1 percent, respectively.

While truck sales boomed, sales of the super-efficient Prius lagged. So much so that in an effort to boost sales, Toyota has been offering significant discounts on the popular hybrid (on August 15th, the average price paid for a 2013 Prius was $1,311 below MSRP, according to TrueCar.com).

It's a classic case of shifting baselines: drivers have apparently learned to live with higher gas prices. That's well and good for folks buying pickup trucks for construction work and other jobs that require lots of hauling.Freeway traffic But where personal vehicles are concerned, drivers on a budget would do well to think carefully about the true costs of owning and driving a car before signing on the dotted line.

If you are considering trading in your ride for a new (or used) one, don't do it without first checking out AAA's Your Driving Costs brochure and/or the U.S. Department of Energy's www.fueleconomy.gov. AAA's guide, which is updated annually, compares expenses in the areas of gasoline, licensing and registration fees, depreciation, maintenance and financing. Fueleconomy.gov allows you to compare fuel economy, fuel cost, annual petroleum consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, EPA smog rating, crash test results and vehicle specification data for up to four cars side-by-side. You can also share your own MPG data and see what other drivers are actually getting in their personal vehicles, in the city and on the highway.

Not surprisingly, the larger the car you buy, the more it's going to drain your bank account. But it's not just gas that's going to cost you more: according to AAA, insurance is the only cost that doesn't vary significantly by vehicle size. In every other area listed above, including financing since larger vehicles tend to be more expensive, you can expect your expenses to increase with the size of the vehicle.

So how much more can you expect to pay? According to AAA's calculations, if you drive 10,000 miles/year, you will pay roughly 59.5 cents/mile to own and operate a small sedan. That's nearly $18/day for a 30-mile commute. Not cheap, but still a good deal compared to the 97.5 cents/mile - or more than $29/day - that you can expect to spend in a large sedan for the same commute. It's even more for an SUV or light-duty truck.

So if you'd like to save some $4,000 - $5,000 every year, choose a smaller car and turn your put-put ka-ching into put-put ka-green.
Visit AAA's Your Driving Costs to learn more.

 Green_living_LAGreen Living in Los Angeles 

The Return of California Native Plants
Live in better harmony with our environment...choose beautiful, drought-tolerant, native plants

If you've ever hiked the Santa Monica Mountains or spent a day exploring Griffith Park, you know that the tropical paradises and English gardens so typical of Southern California's commercial and residential landscapes are a far cry from what naturally grows here. Until recently, finding a nati
ve plant in urban Los Angeles was like finding a needle in a haystack. But now, after years of being snubbed by Angelenos, California native Manhattan Beach Botanical Gardenplants are making a much-deserved comeback in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. 
Public education programs like TeachingGreen's The Green Life for adults and Surfrider's Ocean
Friendly Gardens have worked to promote native landscaping, and as a result, water-guzzling lawns and gardens have increasingly given way to native gardens. In a state under constant threat of drought, this is something to celebrate since so much of residential water is used outdoors (anywhere from 30 to 70 percent for a single family home).  

Besides the fact that California native plants are drought-tolerant and require very little supplemental watering throughout the year, there are many reasons to love these plants. To name a few:

*  Easy, needing no soil amendment when planting, just native soil  
*  Resistant to pests, reducing the need for pesticides and fertilizers  
*  Preferred by native animals and insects, providing them with much-needed habitat 
*  Beautiful and harmonious with California's natural environment

While still difficult to find in many nurseries, California natives are becoming more widely available thanks to increasing demand. In Los Angeles County, one nursery in particular stand
s out among the rest for its single-minded dedication to the trees, shrubs and flowers of Southern California. The Theodore Payne Foundation nurseryTheodore Payne Foundation is your one-stop shop for native plants, seeds, classes, field trips (for adults and children) and general information about planting and maintaining native plants.    

A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established 1960, The Theodore Payne Foundation runs a year-round, retail nursery offering hundreds of different native species and cultivars. With so many plants to choose from, it's very helpful to know what you're looking for before making the trip to Sun Valley. If possible, make a list of the plants you are interested in and check it against the nursery's regularly-updated Nursery Inventory. Once you have your plants, check out Theodore Payne's Native Plant Horticulture 101 for everything you need to know about planting and caring for your native plants, including seasonal planting guides and tips for watering, pruning and mulching.

While The Theodore Payne Foundation has everything you should need to create a thriving California native garden, it is by no means the only nursery that sells native plants. For an extensive list of other nurseries in Los Angeles and surrounding Counties that offer a
t least a small selection of California native plants, visit www.bewaterwise.com. And while you're there, be sure to check out their California Friendly Gardening Guide - a description of 1,500 water-wise plants, including those native to Southern California. 

With few exceptions, the best time to plant California natives is in the fall, especially in hot inland areas. Native plants do need supplemental watering until established, so it's best to wait to plant until October, when the days and nights grow cooler and the days grow shorter, but be sure to plant before the spring when the rains taper off.

To kick off the fall planting season, The Theodore Payne Foundation will host a fall plant sale on October 11 & 12  and October 18 & 19. Members will receive 15% off plants and 10% off seed, and on the 18th and 19th, nonmembers will receive 10% off plants and 5% off seed. Membership costs $30 and brings with it other benefits such as discounts off classes and a quarterly newsletter. Join online or at the door to help support a nursery that's doing great things to support the beautiful native flora of Southern California.
green_cuisineGreen Cuisine

Fare Share
Hey gardeners, bakers and cooks, why not trade your tasty treats at a food swap near you?!

What if you could go to a party and without spending a single dollar, come home with a shopping bag or two full of delicious homegrown and homemade food? You can, and lots of people are already doing it.

All across the country (and abroad as well), gardeners, bakers and cooks are getting together to exchange their homemade delicacies and homegrown delights, because one person can only eat so many oranges or jars of homemade jam. This is good old-fashioned bartering at its best: swappers use their homemade, homegrown and foraged goods as currency, swapping small Food Swap loaves of bread for jars of pickles, peppers for fresh herbs, liqueurs for home-brewed beer. Besides saving everyone involved a decent wad of cash, these food swaps help build community, foster friendships, reduce food waste and support the local food movement.  

Until recently, people interested in finding or setting up a food swap were more or less on their own. But now, thanks to the nonprofit Food Swap Network, there's help. Launched at the end of 2011, Food Swap Network offers would-be food-swappers an online portal into the wonderful world of food swaps. You can find existing swaps in your area or register your own. If you decide to blaze the trail and set up your own swap, the site provides a DIY Food Swap Tool Kit that includes all sorts of tips and ideas for planning, advertising and hosting a successful event.

Setting up a food swap can be as low-tech or high-tech as you want it to be. With email, craigslist, and good old-fashioned paper flyers (posted strategically on local community boards), you can reach out to friends, neighbors and other food-lovers in your area. Alternatively, fans of social media can use Facebook, Twitter, and Eventbrite to spread the word.

The winter harvest will be here soon, so start talking to your friends, and when life gives you a bumper crop of Brussels sprouts, share the veggies of your labor, and reap the delicious benefits in return.  

To find a food swap near you - or set up your own - visit www.foodswapnetwork.com.

 Did_you_knowDid You Know?

Here's just one more reason to make the switch to LED light bulbs

I recently replaced the compact fluorescent bulbs I had been using on my front porch with LEDs, and boy am I one satisfied customer. I made the investment in the bulbs - spending around $20 for the two - because I knew that they are super-efficient, using about 30 percent less energy than an equivalent CFL, and extremely long-lasting, with a lifespan of at least 25,000 hours (that's nearly 14 years burning five hours per day). Bug-free LEDs

What I didn't know about my new bulbs was how lovely the light would be - just as nice as a typical incandescent bulb, and what absolutely thrilled me is that my new LEDs attract absolutely no bugs. Zero. Zilch. 

Where there used to be a thriving ecosystem of gnats, moths, spiders and other bugs, there's now nothing but cleans light fixtures and bug-free air. Don't get me wrong, I love bugs and appreciate the vital role that they play in Earth's various ecosystems. It's just that I'd rather they do their thing in the garden or perhaps swarming around a street lamp. How nice that visitors to my front door no longer must stand in a swarm of flying insects while pulling spider webs out of their hair. 

One word of caution before you run out and buy your new bulbs: the bug trick only works with WARM white LEDs. It seems that most bugs are hard-wired with UV receptors, so be sure to avoid natural white or cool white bulbs (with color temperatures over 3000 Kelvin).  

It will take a while, but your bulbs will pay for themselves eventually. In the meantime, they will pay you many times over, in bug-free nights.  


 good_newsGood News!

It's a Bad Time to be a Wannabe Coal Exporter in the Pacific Northwest
Coal export opponents will benefit from expansive scope of review

An update on last December's piece about plans to ship American coal to China:

Plans to ship millions of tons of coal annually from Washington and Oregon to China suffered a major setback on July 31. You may recall that these plans involve strip-mining coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, transporting it on trains to five proposed coal terminals along the Pacific Northwest, and shipping it across the Pacific to be burned in unregulated Chinese power plants. Coal trains to China

The largest of these ports, the proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal at Cherry Point, will be the first to be studied, and what goes for Cherry Point will likely go for the other four ports as well. Opponents had been waiting to see how broad the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be, and on July 31 they rejoiced at the answer.

In a joint release of Whatcom County, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the three "co-leads" each laid out what it will require in the EIS. While the Corps opted for a narrow scope of review, the Department of Ecology went broad, requiring:
  1. A detailed assessment of rail transportation on other representative communities in Washington and a general analysis of out-of-state rail impacts.
  2. An assessment of how the project would affect human health in Washington.
  3. A general assessment of cargo-ship impacts beyond Washington waters. 
  4. An evaluation and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions of end-use coal combustion.

These are exactly the kinds of assessments the coal industry had hoped to avoid, especially #1 and 4: rail impacts and greenhouse gas emissions. There's no denying that 18 additional train trips per day will cause increased traffic congestion throughout the region, Seattle included. And there's no getting around the fact that burning up to 48 million metric tons of coal per year in Chinese power plants will release some 100 millions tons of CO2 each year.   


The co-leads will seek public comment on a draft EIS, which they expect will take about two years to prepare. Together, they will then prepare a final EIS. The information that will surface as a result of this process and the fact that we won't see a final EIS for more than two years is sure to bring more opposition to the plan, as well as litigation, which will mean further delays and expense. All around bad news for would-be coal exporters.


But that's not all. In another blow to the coal companies behind these plans, the Lummi Nation has announced that it will stand up to big coal to protect the fisheries below - and the sacred site that lies atop - the bluffs where the Cherry Point terminal would be built. Lummi master carver Jewell Praying Wolf James and witnesses recently embarked on a 1,200-mile journey to unite the west in saying no to coal exports. The Totem Pole Journey began on September 15 at the coal mines in Montana and will end on September 29 at the proposed Cherry Point terminal in Washington.

Despite these setbacks for the coal industry, this fight won't be over till it's over. In the meantime, opponents of the proposed terminal at Cherry Point are trying to collect 10,000 signatures in opposition. Go to change.org to add your name.


la_confidentialL.A. Confidential

Upcoming Events for Angelinos
Summer 2013 is going out with a green bang with three big events taking place in the Los Angeles area this Saturday:

Environmental Priorities Network's "Action on the Climate Crisis" Forum   
With atmospheric CO2 recently breaking the once-unthinkable 400 ppm barrier, action is needed NOW to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. EPN's Climate Crisis forum will feaClimate Crisis forumture two climate  experts and Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi in a discussion about the climate crisis and what each of us can do about it.  

Date: Saturday, September 21 
Time: 9:00am - Noon
Location: Pacific Unitarian Church, 5621 Montemalaga Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes 90274
Cost: FREE with complimentary coffee and snacks (with a suggested $5 donation)
NOTE: This event is a registered event of 350.org's Draw the Line on Keystone XL global event

California Coastal Cleanup Day
Join thousands of Southern Californians to help rid our beaches, lakes and waterways of garbage. As part of International Coastal Cleanup Day, you will be participating in the largest volunteer event on the planet. 
Date: Saturday, September 21   
Time: 9:00am - Noon  
Location: Visit www.coastal.ca.gov for more information and to find a cleanup location near you
Not a Los Angeles resident? Visit www.oceanconservancy.org for a map showing every cleanup scheduled across the globe.

2013 Altcar Expo & Conference
The AltCar Expo offers the largest collection of alternative fuel vehicles in one place. Most of  them are available to drive and many can be purchased during the Expo.   
Altcar Expo
Date: Friday & Saturday, September 20 & 21    
Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Santa Monica Civic, 1855 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401-3209
Cost: FREE with a $10 parking fee (free bike valet will be available)


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