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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 11: Return Trip & Which Is Greener: Los Angeles or Baltimore?


We woke up early for our flight back to Baltimore. We had a great time visiting the Los Angeles region, but I realized that I would not want to live here again for two very important reasons: 1) Smog is still omnipresent in the sky above Los Angeles, and 2) The over reliance on the automobile and the lack of a viable mass transit or bicycle transportation system. Both of these concerns have far reaching effects on life here. The two above concerns mean that living here is never really sustainable, not environmentally friendly, not healthy, not energy efficient, and prohibits real community building.

Los Angeles is not sustainable because it wastes too much energy, there is excessive air and water pollution, there is an over reliance on the automobile for transportation, meaning there will be complete gridlock in the future, and the lack of public parks and open space to provide for recreation and a connection to nature. Los Angeles is not environmentally friendly because most everything that has been built here for the past two hundred years was built for the benefit of humans and to the detriment of the environment, including the natural ecosystems and wildlife. The smog is a clear signal to humanity that we are not respecting the planet. The Los Angeles region is not healthy because of the way most people drive everywhere to get anywhere, and many people drive long commutes, which creates a sedentary lifestyle and leaves little time to be with your family, and stresses people out too. The air pollution in this region also has detrimental effects. Much energy is wasted in the Los Angeles region with the energy inefficient homes (often there is no or little insulation) and the wasted gasoline from excessive automobile use. Lastly, since people spend so much time driving in their cars, they rarely get a chance to know their neighbors. Also, southern California is well known for its gated communities and community associations that control who visits these places and who uses their facilities. Both of these practices create more divisive living practices and less connection between people. This is the key to form real communities and to form a sustainable society.

Upon our return to Baltimore it was nice to feel the warmth of the east coast again and to see the sun and clear blue sky. Baltimore may not be a perfect sustainable city, but the thing you notice right away compared to Los Angeles is that it is literally green here. I mean really green! The summer drought in Los Angeles means many plants turn brown in the summer. In Baltimore and the east coast there is a wonderful greenness most everywhere. And Baltimore has many parks and green spaces. Recently it was reported that the air quality is bad over Baltimore especially in the summer, but compared to Los Angeles it certainly looks and feels better. People do tend to overly rely on their automobiles for transportation here as they do in Los Angeles, and this phenomenon has gotten more intense over the years. So if you compared Los Angeles to Baltimore in terms of which is a more sustainable city, I would give Los Angeles a 5 and Baltimore a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best. I give Baltimore a slightly better score because of the more green spaces, that clean the air, and the air quality is better in Baltimore as well. Both cities need major improvements to be ranked near the top of being considered a sustainable world city.

What do you think? Tell us how your city ranks and why, and what cities do you think should receive a high sustainable city ranking and why.

Naoko and I are grateful for our California rawfood adventure! We learned and experienced much about rawfoods and are ready to share our newfound ideas and optimism with the world! Here we come!

Roland’s Websites:
Green Harmony Living – Planet friendly website
Green Harmony Living Store – Raw, Vegan, & Organic Foods & Products
Green Harmony Design – Beautiful, Edible, & Sustainable Gardens
Green Harmony Tours – Sustainable Ecotours to Germany

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