Green City: Los Angeles

by Beth Hurtubise

We, the editors at, have decided to chronicle our travels and highlight some of the green aspects in various cities. Please feel free to submit city ideas and information for upcoming Green City features.

What do you think of when you hear “Los Angeles?” Traffic jams, movie stars and smog, perhaps. While L.A. has some cleaning up to do, local citizens, government and  even tourists are climbing up the green ladder one rung at a time. During a recent visit to the L.A. area, I had to rent a car and drive myself down to orange county and back to L.A. proper. I quickly learned why  living without a car in the City of Angels is not an option for many people: there was no other way to travel this distance. At the same time, while sitting in traffic with what seemed like the rest of the world, I learned the importance of car pooling. Not only to save gas, but also to use those nifty carpool lanes that were whizzing by nicely while the rest of us slowly crept along.

Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa isn’t just looking to clean the city up. More than that, his goal is to make Los Angeles one of the greenest cities in America. He launched GREEN LA with the following goals:

  • CLEAN POWER: Coal-free and  60% carbon reduction
  • CLEAN AIR: Reducing pollution at the Port and along Port-serving freeways
  • WATER AND ENERGY CONSERVATION: reduce consumption by 10% in ten years
  • GREEN BUILDING: Retrofit to Conserve Energy and Create Local Jobs

Each goal has specific measurable results that Mayor Villaraigosa is holding himself, his team and the entire city responsible for.

One of L.A.’s biggest green perks to me is the fact that it’s surrounded by beautiful nature, by design. The city itself is situated between the vast Pacific Ocean and some of the Transverse Mountain Ranges of Southern California. If you’re a “sand between your toes” kind of person, you can enjoy nature at one of the many area beaches, which are connected with very convenient and well kept up bike paths. The Los Angeles County Bike Coalition gives you great tips for navigating these paths safely and effectively. More of a hiker? There are hundreds of nearby paths from beginner to advanced levels, such as this one below in the Angeles National Forest. Check out some of L.A.’s best trails here.

The local hospitality business has joined the eco-drive as well. Many hotels are now part of the Green Hotels Association. Hotel Palamore, a Kimpton Hotel, goes even further, using eco-friendly cleaning products, instituting a hotel recycling program and even offering discounted parking to hybrid cars.

Another one of the big things Los Angeles has going for it is clout. Countless actors an actresses live in the area and are using their popularity and influence to educate others about green initiatives on both a local and worldwide scale. From Leo to Diaz to Rosario to Hanks, the top green celebrities are working hard to spread the green word.

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