I was not in class either day this last week so I cannot speak about lectures or LOLA presentations, but I was however in sunny Los Angeles exploring California for the first time and would like to use my blog 8 to talk about certain areas of sustainability/practices that I noticed on my trip. Overall, I noticed that everyone in LA was very healthy and active. I was out in LA (more specifically, Malibu) visiting a friend who goes to Pepperdine so I got to spend a lot of time on her campus and with her roommates. I noticed that her roommates ate extremely healthy, constantly meal prepping and cooking – with organic ingredients only. I made myself a sandwich with the food they had at home and even noticed that they only had organic mayonnaise. While organic food is known to be healthier, it is also sustainable. No preservatives, no pesticides and certainly no processing. However, I was talking to them about their grocery bill and it definitely is more expensive – which explains why more people don’t jump on the organic train. But, I went to the local grocery store there in Malibu and noticed that their food options are different than ours here in the Midwest. Almost everything to choose from was some sort of healthier/organic version than what we can buy here at Walmart, so it’s possible her roommates aren’t trying to be sustainable and healthy, they just don’t know anything different. And it’s no secret Malibu is a rich little town so I’m sure most of the residents can afford the higher-priced grocery runs. Malibu’s entire food consumption is different than what I’m used to, although not a bad thing at all! Is 100% organic food something that the entire US is moving towards?
Something else I noticed about California was the proximity to nature. This was my first time in Cali so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was blown away by all the mountains, canyons, and ocean that you’re constantly surrounded by. For being such a huge city on the west coast I wasn’t expecting that – I expected it to be more developed (and don’t get me wrong it was, but I expected it to be ALL developed). Many of the mountains and canyons are uninhabited by humans, long stretches of highways go through completely untouched canyons for miles and miles and you’re almost in disbelief that you’re near civilization, let alone one of America’s largest cities. From my friend’s apartment in Malibu, it was a quick drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to the beach where we could and did watch dolphins and sea lions play for hours, or a little longer drive down the nature-trail Malibu Canyon Highway to the city of LA. It’s so refreshing to be in a place that is still so in-touch with its environment. Yes, much of the area is developed as we all know, but the geographic landscape is still very much alive and people are living in harmony with it. A specific example of what I mean is that instead of bulldozing a hole in a mountain to build a highway through it, the highways move and wind around the mountains, creating beautiful landscaped drives.
However, something of course that we all know about LA is the traffic. Personally, I had been psyching myself up about the traffic and expected MUCH worse. But yes, the traffic is still pretty bad. Millions of cars at a stand-still on the highway for hours and hours a day, going nowhere and polluting the air. What can be done? Well for starters, I know it would be an extensive and timely project, but I really think LA could benefit from a subway system. Not necessarily underground like New York (that would take years to dig out all those tunnels and I feel like LA people would be too snobby to go underground for their transportation) but perhaps something else that’s already been implemented in one of the world’s most successful theme park franchises. Yes, the Disney Monorail. I read an article that Disney was urging city officials to install their train systems around cities for easy transportation gliding through the air, but I never heard what happened. The monorail is a thin metal bullet-like train attached to a single rail underneath the craft. The tracks are chic and hardly noticeable and the train is efficient and would get people were they need to be in the LA area. The city doesn’t need all the crazy stops like New York City, just a couple stops in each suburban area to dumps off in for example, the financial district. Maybe the Disney monorail isn’t quite the answer but I bet something will have to be done about LA traffic soon so I’m interested to see what happens.
Overall, I loved Los Angeles and always love the opportunity to explore new places and see how different people live – and of course always looking for new solutions to their problems!