In a city like L.A., deciding to live more sustainably can be an intimidating prospect. Apartment dwellers don’t always have yards to garden or make use of compost. Relative to other U.S. cities, greenspace is scarce. Car-bound crosstown commutes can feel like a way of life.
L.A.-based urban planner Jamie Hwang of She Grows Cities partnered with Climate Designers L.A. to publish The Urban Farmers Almanac for Angelenos, a guide to living more sustainably—in a way that actually feels sustainable for the average person.
In the book’s intro, Hwang explains, “I wrote this almanac because I have noticed many feeling embarrassed by or ashamed of not living a completely carbon neutral lifestyle. But this is not possible for the everyday person—a zero-waste life is an honorable goal, but not a practical one. I hope this guide helps you find ways to slowly, softly make lifestyle changes that are affordable, healthier, and bring the joy and satisfaction that come from growing something yourself.”
Below, Hwang explains six ways people can change habits to live a little greener. For more, download a digital copy of the almanac for free here.
Do a Walkability Test
“Take a walk around your community and observe the number of shaded bus stops, how many other people are also walking, how wide the sidewalks are, and how much shade there is for pedestrians. Do you see a bike path or do pedestrians and bikers share the sidewalk? Is it a comfortable, safe walk? Why or why not? This walkability ‘test’ will help you determine what your city needs to do to make it easier to go car-free.”
Eat more plants
“Raising cows, pigs, and chickens for consumption requires massive amount of water, land, and these animals emit significant amounts of methane. Going meatless by consuming plant based protein sources like tofu, nuts, or leafy greens is an easy way to practice sustainability.”
“Reduce your carbon footprint by shopping local and supporting small businesses instead of having items shipped for delivery to your home. These online orders contribute to traffic and greenhouse gas emissions in L.A.”
Reduce food waste
“Start composting all non-dairy and animal leftovers to reduce food waste! And even if you don’t need the compost, drop off your food scraps at any L.A. Compost hub and they’ll take care of it for you.”
“Did you know coffee shops will fill your reusable thermos or cup if you bring your own? (Note: This has largely not been an option during the pandemic.) You can also use your own take out container for leftovers at restaurants and carry reusable utensils for your work lunches.”
“This is the number-one best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in L.A. Transportation is the top greenhouse gas contributor in the United States. So that means not only are you wasting time sitting in traffic on the freeway, but you’re also polluting the air and contributing to global warming. Take public transportation, create work carpools, and if you think L.A.’s buses and subways need improvement, get involved in Metro Board meetings to ask for better transit!”
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