Cleaner Air, Better Food!

1.) Which of the following BEST describes the environment in Los Angeles:

a. Smoggy

b. Congested

c. Densely populated

d. All of the above

The LA Times has a story on a fleet of trains that burn about 30 percent less fuel, and emit over 45% less pollution than the trains currently in service.  It’s part of the revamping of the Pacific Harbor Line at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex. These are “short-haul” trains that move box cars about a mile from the port to a terminal.  The average speed is about 10 mph and with all slow moving machines that run on fossil fuels, they emit more CO (Carbon monoxide) into the atmosphere the slower they run.  That’s why cars, trucks, and trains and jets pollute more when they go slow or are motionless while the engine is running.

The great thing about these trains is that the motors shut down after 15 minutes if they are idle.  Neat, eh?  This is one of those stories where the government is spending money wisely — and the money is coming from various agencies.  The Port is, of course, one pocket, but the others are California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. 

It’s a small, but important, step in reducing smog in L.A. 🙂

Who says that California is the land of “fruits and nuts?”Oh yeah, that’s not only a slur but a reality when you look at the kind of agriculture that’s big in the Golden State.  How many times have you heard that you need more fruits, veggies and even nuts in your diet?  But what kind of crops does the government throw money at? Yep corn and soy for the ever popular high-calorie high-fructose corn syrup and soybean oil.  According to cover story in the SF Chronicle, these two crops are responsible for the crappy food products that we so dearly love. It’s soy feed for the animals that become tomorrow’s burgers, and corn sweetener for our sugar cravings.   

Well, it seems some local “fruits and nuts” pressure from the Bay Area has gotten the ear of local and national politicians and they are pushing to alter the Farm Bill which provides a good deal of cash to midwestern farms so they can produce the crops that, more often than not, end up being food “products” that are loaded with fat and sugar. 

Seems a Bay Area/Norcal group of politicians (Nancy Pelosi, Dennis Cardoza, and Gavin Newsom) are trying limit the amount of cash that goes to corn and soy so money can be redirected toward a number of things that include:

1. More fruits and veggies in school lunches.

2. More money for farmers to develop local farming and market those goods at places like farmer markets.

This is going to be a big political fight (July 17-19), so if you want to make you voice heard on this issue, just email your comments to your congressman or congresswoman.  You may be thinking: “Oh, I’m just one person and my voice isn’t as loud as a deep-pocketed corporate drone.”  Not accurate! I know folks who work in D.C. and they have told me over and over that when people call, write, email, or fax in their comments about an issue (or in this case, a bill),  they record it and report it to the elected official. It’s not a wasted call if you’re articulate and NICE when you call…and it does make a difference.

–PK

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