Viable Solutions

Clearing the air (and the CO2) on the impacts of electric cars

In the eastern Sierra-Nevada mountains above Lone Pine (at the source of the water that its sent to LA).
I recently finished my term as a test “pilot” of the new Chevy Volt.  As one of 15 members of their Consumer Advisory Board, General Motors loaned me the plug-in electric
Volt for 3 months. The vehicle was wonderful and I fell in love with it for multiple reasons, which I’ve shared in past posts. But driving it also raised some tricky questions.

For one, a neighbor asked me if I could be sure that I was emitting less in the way of greenhouse gasses, since I was using the mix of energy provided by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) - much of which comes from coal.

My neighbor had a point. It’s true that about 40% of the power provided by LADWP to the Los Angeles basin comes from the burning of coal, according to the LADWP’s Integrated Resource Plan (pdf). 

Volt envy

I was really sad the day General Motors took my Chevy Volt away. But it wasn’t mine to keep. GM had appointed me to a special Consumer Advisory Board, which amounted to being one of fifteen “test pilots” across America who got to drive and critique a Volt for three months.

When I first drove the Volt, having been a proud Prius driver for the past five years, I was initially put off by its relative heaviness, which seemed to cause an unnecessary waste of power just to propel the car. On the other hand, I was really impressed with the control panel, the array of electronics, the amazing stereo sound, and the full-time help and assistance through the On-Star System. I also appreciated the Volt’s steering radius. It was the tightest and best I’ve experienced in any car, foreign or domestic.

Story of a Tree that Sprouted from an Eco-Tour

“The first time I ever left Chinatown was when my 5th grade class went on an Eco-tour at TreePeople. Since that day over 20 years ago a week hasn’t gone by that I haven’t thought about TreePeople.”

World Water Day: Wakeup call to action for our homes, neighborhoods and cities

This new short video shows how you can plan to adapt your home and neighborhood for droughts, floods, severe weather and climate change.

The Miracle on Elmer Ave.

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