CARLETON CRONIN: What I’d add to the Climate Action Plan

Two days ago, thumbing through the daily paper,  I came across a half page displaying  the outline of the draft EIR for Los Angeles County’s Climate Action Plan.  As usual with government writings, and like most people, I intended to not go much beyond the first paragraph of a very dense document. But, perversely I did and came up with a vision of hundreds of county employees engaged in getting the plan into action.   And, I was reminded that West Hollywood has a Climate Action Plan, as well. I ventured onto the city website to see what was up.

I found that the Climate Action Plan for West Hollywood has been cooking since 2019 and that the city’s employees are now much engaged in its implementation.  A major step in advancing the Plan has been the adoption of a Smart City Strategic Plan and severe training in new collection and use methods for data. Smart Cities began to really take hold in 1994 when Amsterdam became the first “visual digital city”. Since then nearly every major city in every developed countries have adopted a Smart City Plan. The actual idea for such came from Los Angeles in 1972. All this sounds just great, very digitally up to date – and almost indecipherable to the average citizen like me who tend to thing of “climate action plans” to be more down to earth, centered more on actions we ordinary folk can manage. 

When I consider what I feel is the single most important challenge we face on Earth, our obviously changing climate, I think of the practical actions a city could take to adapt. While certainly aware that asking for alterations in such areas as building codes is akin to screaming at the wind, this is where I’d start. 

I’d require that all buildings feature white roofs as sun reflectors. Where possible on all buildings over three stories have solar panels with battery backup for emergency lighting and  escape measures. Double pane windows be the norm and west and south facing windows have sunshades – exterior or interior. Consider replacing many central HVAC units with ductless  with units baed upon space needs not just number of rooms. Low voltage LED lamps and bulbs.  Proximity switches and more light-controlled switches.   Ordinances regulating amount and hours of commercial lighting, indoor nd out.  Ever fly into LA at night? Looks like the Ginza.  Millions of lights everywhere. Why is any  city so lit up? Commercial buildings must reduce nighttime lighting to only essentials.  Security lighting should be more universal.  Street lighting should illuminate the sidewalks and the streets not the tops of trees. 

Grey water systems should be required in every building and the water recycled for plantings.  Eventually cull out the great water using trees we now have for those which are hardier and require less water to thrive.  Plantings must be more natiuve than exotic immigrants. The city should consider grants to citizens to encourage this sort of conservation.  More city space for community gardens.

Just a handful of ideas but, like it or not, as our city becomes more dense in every urban sense  these thoughts and others will be necessary to afford the sort of infrastructure we need – and want.  

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Greenies NoMore
Greenies NoMore
4 months ago

Watch ‘Planet of the Humans’. Then come back and we’ll discuss.

Get With the Program
Get With the Program
4 months ago

My sentiments exactly. Nice to see homage to Rachel Carson at the end. My mother must have given away hundreds of copies of Silent Spring. For many, the light bulb came on.

Get With the Program
Get With the Program
4 months ago

Climate Awareness is best learned as a child and reinforced throughout stages of education to give everyone a personal stake in responsibility. If one doesn’t have a consciousness about the planet and our most accessible connection to nature, most feel the sources of supply are unlimited. Simple things that we take for granted on a daily basis can be corrected to evidence responsible behavior. It also increases the connectivity to each other beyond identity divisiveness. Smart with water, lights, consumption of food and goods and ask yourself if excess is necessary and what can we do in ut individual and… Read more »

Tad Smith
Tad Smith
4 months ago

How about turn the lights off in the library after hours. They are on all night.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
4 months ago

The California Green Building Standards Code and the California Energy Code already require many of these things. The problem with some of these things is that small business owners can’t afford to do them, so they end up spending more than they can afford, or nothing. An example is making changes to existing light fixtures. Even if you make minor changes to existing light fixtures, maybe move a few, all have to be brought up to current standards. This means tons of money in new fixtures, or ballasts, new controls, etc. that only wealthy people can afford.

carleton cronin
4 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

You are quite correct in pressing these codes which are all defined in Article 24. My intent here is to stir up some interest amongst my fellow simple folk because, although the city has made great progress (at city hall) not much filters down to us. I’m hoping the city will reach out to us rather than we searching for info at weho.org.

K.B.
K.B.
4 months ago

Spot on with the need to vigorously and rapidly respond to climate change (mostly higher temperatures and less water in these parts). Another important practical action that can be taken is to require attic insulation, which is lacking in most apartment buildings built before the mid-’70s, meaning a majority in West Hollywood.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
4 months ago

Thanks Carl for always being thought provoking. It is too bad we didn’t incorporate some gray water recycling in our parks. What about elimination of natural gas in new multi-unit construction? We mandate that certain new construction install the infrastructure for solar but we don’t actually require developers install solar panels. The elimination of urinals as proposed for the Plummer Park community center seems like a odd idea if you are trying to conserve water. Anyway I am not an expert but these are just my random thoughts.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

For some reason gray water systems are notoriously difficult to get approved, sometimes not even considered, despite the fact that our water supply is so limited. I blame this on the illusion, that is still being sold in 2022, that we live in a garden paradise with lots of water. Let’s rip out all of these tropical plants!

Question?
Question?
4 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Why is it that your recent comments seem to lament the complexity of issues as reason for lack of follow through and effectiveness?

Consciousness
Consciousness
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

If I’m correct a gray water system was introduced in the Kings Road Empire project and may also be @ Berberian’s Norton Empire project. Ric Abramson @ USAS would know in a minute the status of this.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
4 months ago
Reply to  Consciousness

That is good news. Jeff Prang introduced a gray water program in his first year on City Council but for whatever reason it never seemed to catch on. I hope we can figure out how to incorporate some sort of water recycling so we can have green lawns to enjoy in our parks.

Joshua88
Joshua88
4 months ago

In addition to rooftops being white, I was thinking about resurfacing roads, when it is done, with lighter colors.

WeHoVaudevillian
WeHoVaudevillian
4 months ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Or, plant more shade trees just about every street and sidewalk in the city – no more dense building construction either, max 30ft.

Joshua88
Joshua88
4 months ago

Love trees; the more the better.
Can do both, though.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
4 months ago

There are some who ….. just don’t accept the premise.

Geoffrey Buck
Geoffrey Buck
4 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Yes. It’s about mas control of the population. It is an act of faith. It’s time to bring back atmospheric energy that is free and unlimited Access

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
4 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Mankind couldn’t change the climate if we tried. It is supremely arrogant to think we could. If we did all that the fear mongers and hoaxers say we should that would be the end of private property and freedom as we know it. Nobody takes it seriously. If Bill Gates and Obama really believed this stuff they wouldn’t have bought houses right on the beach. Insurance companies wouldn’t insure buildings anywhere near the oceans.

What?
What?
4 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

What seems arrogant is the collective of people lacking consciousness about climate behavior and their ignorance, despite logical and scientific evidence relation to designation of food chains in the animal and agricultural world for one. There are exponential effects we individually and collectively choose to ignore. Not my problem I can’t solve it. Do nothing. It’s beyond shocking having grown up with family and educators highly attuned to our environment and our part in taking responsibility to conserve. It was a connected and fascinating journey which continues today. To your comment about Gates & Obama houses on the beach is… Read more »

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