Wednesday, October 1, 2014

29 faces 9/13-2.... and other ramblings

Yesterday was a weird day. I mean, in terms of work, coming home, doing errands, it was eh. Oh yes, I did make a delicious salad with Asian pear (so yummy and perfect at this time of the year!), strawberries (still surprisingly good from the farmers market even now!), grated beets, greens, green onions and gomasio and a sesame dressing. This sort of fruity sweetness combined with the bite of green onions and greens (especially arugula!) and some more neutral veggies and some saltyish special toppings is one of my favorites even though other people find it to be horrible... but since I'm making dinner for myself and my rat eagerly eats whatever parts I share with him, no problems!

looking south-east towards where the accident was
But then shortly after I finished with dinner, I started hearing siren after siren and then the helicopters started hovering. After an hour of this I was finally able to find an answer as to what the hell was happening online (sigalert just said a 2 car accident and "police activity", which doesn't always
looking north/west where there are always cars...

inspire me to go wander since this sometimes means things going on directly outside my building.) For some reason there were worries about a "suspicious object", so traffic was stopped and rerouted on the 101. Since I live near Universal Studios & the NBC Universal Phallus and the Studio City/Universal Subway station and one of the busiest freeways these things are concerns. So I waited around for a while and decided I had to go wander to see what was going on despite my knee being lame. So I wandered a bit, looking at the enraged drivers doing crazy moves to get out of line and completely unaware of the layout of the local streets, looked at the completely empty freeway and generally gawked at the chaos a bit before coming back home. Shortly after, whatever happened happened quietly.

Then I drew some faces (20, 21 & 22!)

Then I poked around online and thought for a while and got very frustrated by some of the decisions about laws passed and vetoed by the CA governor yesterday. One of the most annoying, not only because of the idea, but also the screaming all over the internet about it, was the fucking plastic bag law. Now, LA, San Francisco and other cities in California already have various plastic bag laws and I personally went through my same thought process when Pasadena and then the city of LA did the same thing, but the internet made it louder for me last night.

Let me first say that I've already written about reusable bags, partially because I was on a semi-personal quest to make myself the perfect reusable bag for someone that can't "just throw them in your car" (I want to scream at this point every time I read or hear that. OK! I'll give up my bike and legs and buy a car so I can drive around and carry reusable bags for me. Go environment! I love you!) So in some ways, it would make sense that I would be happy for this law, but I like to think about things more and am somewhat of a contrarian at times.....

I've done many group organized as well as self-motivated clean up type events in LA over the years, so I've handled my fair share of the shit that people intentionally or unintentionally liberate into the environment. I can definitely, for sure confirm that plastic bags were part of that waste. But so were ziploc bags, disposable cups, lids, plastic straws (for the most part, having the CRV for drink cans and bottles causes those things to be picked up and recycled, which is good!), snack bags like those from chips, candy wrappers, all sorts of tiny plastic pieces from cars, utensils & tools, packaging, wires, string, rope, toys, cigarette butts, batteries, clothing and shoes among other things.

For a while I was cleaning up a space near my home.... every single day. And yeah, I had some people walk by thinking I was crazy and others stop to thank me or talk with me, but it was frustrating that I had a reason to be out there every fucking day. Why was there so much trash reappearing constantly? People obviously saw me, a non-city, non official looking person out there in the evening filling bag after bag up. Their neighbor. Part of the trash was easily attributed to the nearby bus stop and the grocery store right next door. People would purchase food in the store, go sit out on the bench and eat while waiting for the bus. And there was no trash can, so the waste would be dumped on the ground. WHATTHEFUCK?!?!? Left hand, meet right hand. I don't even want to go into the other stupidity I went through for the same area and trying to improve the area and the lack of cooperation I had...

Whoa, ok, this has gone off in a different direction, but really what I wanted to get to was that part of the problem with the plastic bags isn't just that people get them for free in the store. Plenty of people, including myself, reuse them.  And banning one type of trash doesn't really fix the problems that got us into the situation with plastic bags going into the ocean and other places they don't belong. What about all that other crap that I've pulled out of the bushes, off the side of the street, out of the LA river, off the beach that doesn't fall into the category of "plastic bags that stores give away"? How does that stuff stop appearing where it shouldn't be? Are we just going to ban one category of trash that places give away at a time? This is going to take a while, but I suppose, it can work....

Texas had the whole "Don't Mess with Texas" campaign while I was growing up, which supposedly actually worked and reduced littering by 72%.  Of course, if we're actually looking for large environmental impact items, I'd suggest flat out banning beef, cars, or poor building and community designs. Or, how's about another idea, why don't we make the companies that hand out the trash responsible for it. Germany has been pretty intense with their trash management, including making it a priority to avoid creating waste in general and making it very easy for people to properly handle waste (unlike here in LA where some places sort out the recyclables from the trash, some places have recycle bin, some places have compost bins, but never apartment buildings because too many people in LA live in apartments, then there are so many cities that make up LA proper, unincorporated LA, and other small independent cities like Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, etc.) I don't know... just don't fucking ban plastic bags and pretend you fixed everything.

Fun fact: Ralphs & other places where plastic bags are banned still sell plastic grocery bags! They are just a little thicker than the old ones and have fancier designs. They also sell all sorts of plastic trash bags.
Fun thought: Is your dog shit is breaking down as you expect in the biodegradable bags when it's sitting in a landfill packed with all sorts of other plasticy trash?

This is why I would be terrible when involved with politics. Not because I'm not passionate and thinking about larger things than myself... not because I don't have ideas or critical thinking skills or the ability to think about cause and effect and longer term ideas... No one would like me because I would actually want things to happen that might make your life change vs. sitting around signing stupid miniscule steps into law, but pretty much otherwise not fixing anything. Suck it up and actually make shit happen!

....of course, Mr. Brown doesn't really care about making the environment safer for bicyclists and people that are already making efforts to try to lessen their environment impact in other ways. Why, how could you say that?! Think of all the plastic bags and turtles!!! Well, because there were quite a few laws ready to be passed, only waiting for his signature, that were rejected having to do with essentially making the life of a pedestrian or bicyclist better and dealing with hit and run drivers. Because having insanely high hit and run rates is awesome (go Los Angeles at 48%!), so obviously the consequences are great enough. Because making the penalties stiffer for hitting people trying to get around without a car is bad (because as a bicyclist/pedestrian I know what kind of environment is out there and how often people site not feeling safe/lack of bike lanes and similar "safety" related things as reasons to NOT bike.) Oh, wait...

Ok. Time to go do something else tonight and stop turning my arty handmade blog into my political soapbox......

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