The City That Could’ve Been: Eden by Design Book Review

Purple sky overlooking DTLA

The 1920’s were a time of massive expansion for Los Angeles, with the population growing from 102,000 in 1900, to 577,000 in 1920, and over 1.2 million in 1929. This growth was incredible, but it’s difficult for a city to be able to accomodate so many new citizens in such a short amount of time. Infrastructure had to be laid down, utility lines were set in place, and airports were being created, but this construction was coming at a cost of destroying the natural beauty that California was known for. Therefore, a Citizen’s Committee was created with the sole purpose of commissioning a plan for the future of Los Angeles, and they hired Olmsted and Bartholomew to create such report. The result was Parks, Playgrounds, and Beaches for the Los Angeles Region, a 178-page comprehensive study of Los Angeles whose “immediate purpose is to show why more parks and other means of recreation are now urgently needed; to suggest the most effective ways of meeting this need; and to point out the evils that will follow further delay in adopting and executing a sound and comprehensive policy”(P.83).

Unfortunately, the plan was never set in place. Many would look at the time of publishing of this report (1927) and state that it was a victim of bad timing as the Great Depression was right around the corner, and citizens were more concerned with how they were to feed their families rather than focusing on the need for parks and beaches. The truth is it came down to a fear of losing power by the members of the Chamber of Commerce, as the report called for the creation of a “regional park district” (p.128). “The planned park board… simply scared the Chamber members, many of whom clearly feared that the new body would exert powers over and above the Chamber itself” (p.39). The lack of support by the Chamber of Commerce sealed its fate before it even had a chance to go before the citizens of Los Angeles, and along with it went the hopes of becoming “the world’s dream of the City Beautiful”(p.12).

Continue reading “The City That Could’ve Been: Eden by Design Book Review”
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Sustainability: Rethinking Our Connection With Nature and How We Go About Affecting It

It is crucial that we incorporate sustainability into our societies to ensure that we can continue to develop and thrive without creating extensive harm, both to the planet and to our communities. Yet, sustainability continues to be something that is not fully understood by many and ends up falling in line with being a trend rather than an entire mindset change. To create a lasting impact, there not only needs to be action taken by companies and citizens alike, but there also needs to be education put in place that allows the citizens to truly understand what it means to be sustainable, and what actions will actually have an impact versus which are being done simply as a means to appear more “eco-friendly”.

The idea of sustainability that we most often refer to is the “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.” In other words, the focus is on how we can minimize the amount of resources we consume or the amount of damage that we produce so as to not interfere with the viability of future generations. This has caused us to focus more on reduction, especially of greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions, yet this emphasis has also provided companies, as well as citizens, with the ability to mitigate their responsibility thanks to carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are meant to be a way of neutralizing your carbon footprint by allowing you to fund environment-oriented projects that are focused on reducing greenhouse gasses, protecting forests, promoting renewable energy, and many more. The problem is that now you don’t necessarily have to reduce any of your own carbon footprint or live a more sustainable lifestyle whatsoever as long as you purchase enough carbon offsets to make you seem more “eco-friendly”, because the reality is that they haven’t been proven to make much of a difference when it comes to climate change, and many carbon offsets have been found to be scams. Continue reading “Sustainability: Rethinking Our Connection With Nature and How We Go About Affecting It”

Before The Flood

Act Now #BeforeTheFlood:
For every use of #BeforeTheFlood across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram between October 24 – November 18, 21st Century Fox and National Geographic will together donate $1 to Pristine Seas and $1 to the Wildlife Conservation Society, up to $50,000 to each organization.

About Before the Flood:
Before the Flood, directed by Fisher Stevens, captures a three-year personal journey alongside Academy Award-winning actor and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio as he interviews individuals from every facet of society in both developing and developed nations who provide unique, impassioned and pragmatic views on what must be done today and in the future to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.

The Utmost Respect For Coyote

Boasting the world’s 2nd most painful sting, the Tarantula Hawk also happens to be the largest species of wasp in North America! These enormous spider wasps are most notorious for their macabre breeding habits but are also becoming well known for their ranking on the insect sting pain index. Only trailing in behind the bullet ant in terms of “sting pain” Coyote felt it necessary to experience this fear inducing sting before taking on the highly anticipated bullet ant challenge.

What Makes Someone Successful

Skyline

My father was a violinist. My uncle played the saxophone. My cousin’s grandfather sang and played the accordion and the piano in a restaurant he owned.

I felt that I was born with musical talent. So, I decided that I would learn how to sing. I gathered my friends and enrolled into a singing class at my community college. We learned scales, went to karaoke, got a practice room to practice in daily, and took advantage of all office hours. I was ambitious and put in a lot of effort. I took singing classes for a year and a half and even took a couple of private lessons. And I’ve got to tell you…I still can’t sing. As much effort as I put in and as much musical I believed I had, the other classmates were years ahead of me. They were improving faster. And it made me wonder:

What is it about some people that makes them just so good at things?

and

Is there anyway to tell if someone is more likely to be successful in life?

But first, what does “Success” even mean? Continue reading “What Makes Someone Successful”

How Can We Create a Better Future?

The Rocket of Wonder

Children are our future.  All of the work that we do, whether indirectly or directly, will end up in the hands of the next generation.  The future is prevailing generations, and so to create a better future we need to focus on creating more leaders, and innovators.  This article is an idea of how we can create better scientists, doctors, artists, writers, educators, you name it; through the analogy of the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. We’ll see how inspiriting children is not the most important thing, and how we can make STEM fields more fun by making them more awesome.

Continue reading “How Can We Create a Better Future?”