Reinforcing my clean air observation, last Friday I attended the 24th Annual Clean Air Awards sponsored by South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) where I learned who and how progress toward better air quality is occurring in Southern California. If you're anxious to get the scoop, skip ahead.
I laid out my lenses on a Los Angeles you-can-see-forever kind of day and picked my 70-300 long len. Gripped in my palm, I pointed the lens toward a bee on a flower near very blue skies, thinking maybe the $5.00 a gallon gasoline in Los Angeles was part of the reason we've enjoyed cleaner air. Those blue skies=people strapped for money driving less.
I stalked, walked, and wondered.
To my east no gray curtains of smog typically concealing the San Bernardino Mountains, and to my west Catalina Island sat pretty in the Pacific. Nothing to mar my vision for a thousand miles. Or so it seemed.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, folks prepared to celebrate movers and shakers whose hard work toward cleaning air pollution is making a difference in the air we breathe.
The 24th Annual Clean Air Awards took place at the Biltmore Hotel where the Master of Ceremonies and CBS 2 Meteorologist, Josh Rubenstein, reported with a beaming smile,
"Last year Los Angeles had no red alert days!"
And with that the awards ceremony celebrated clean air accomplishments throughout Southern California. Maybe you can learn something to be applied elsewhere.
Highlights of 24th Annual Clean Air Awards sponsored by South Coast Air Quality Management District
recognizing outstanding individuals, businesses and organizations making a positive difference toward cleaning our air
Model Community Achievement went to City of Yucaipa for Community-wide Sustainability Planning. Yucaipa is located 75 miles east of Los Angeles. Recognized for mixed housing/business/pedestrian-oriented downtown, support for public and alternative transportation options, incentive partnerships and more. Dennis Yates, Vice Chair of SCAQMD, introduced Dick Riddell, Yucaipa mayor, and I couldn't help but think Dennis Yates has a rich voice. The sort of voice deserving of a successful radio career. And I wish more cities thought of pedestrians and alternative transportation options when city planning. Los Angeles lags when it comes to providing safe wide sidewalks and community park space.
Model Community Achievement also went to City of San Juan Capistrano for its "Go Green SJC!" Program. Waste and pollution reduction highlighted.
Leadership in Government Award went to U.S. Congressman Jerry Lewis, Congressional District 41, Inland Empire. He authored the state legislation which created the South Coast Air Quality Management District. With respect to air quality, Rep. Lewis focused on transportation emissions as the largest source of urban air pollution. Naturally, I agree as I wonder if the price of gas is in part reason for our great string of clean air days. After 34 years of service, Rep. Lewis will retire.
Innovative Transportation Projects was a first time category here and awarded to Jian Torkan, an ICO partner at ICO Real Estate Group, which completed the first U.S. development of a commercial property with a privately owned, publicly accessible electric vehicle fast-charge station. The Ree-Charge 'N Go' non-gas station is located in the city of San Bernardino. Mr. Torkan credited his wife with spurring him on to innovate with the environment forefront of mind. Good job.
Innovate Transportation Projects also went to Waste Management for deploying 1000 Natural Gas Solid Waste Collection Vehicles.
Promotion of Good Environmental Stewardship went to Enterprise Holdings for commitment to sustainable transportation. I have friends who rent Prius' from Enterprise for long trips.
Public Education on Air Quality Issues was won by who knew? Maroon 5. An award-winning pop rock band featuring lead vocalist Adam Levine (who I know from being a judge on The Voice), an active member of the Green Music Group, which is a large-scale coalition of music professionals and fans who green their concerts to stimulate positive environmental progress.
Also, Maroon 5 participates in the Patagonia Music Collective, where fans purchase exclusive tracks and all profits go to green causes. If you want to buy a song and benefit the environment, click here.
Los Angeles has made significant strides toward cleaner air, and the fact is, we have much further to go. To see the 2012 American Lung Association report for the state of the air in Los Angeles, click here.
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