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Environment

Environment

What Can I Do?

Support these organizations that protect the environment.

Here’s the Situation

Water

  • Currently, LA County is dependent on outside water sources with approximately 58% of the water used sourced from outside the region.
  • Years of drought followed by intense rain is our new “normal” creating severe water shortages and flooding
  • LA County surface water quality is poor. Stormwater is highly polluted and groundwater contamination is severe and countywide. Every year, billions of gallons of stormwater pollution are discharged into Los Angeles rivers and our beaches, harming our people, coastal waters, marine wildlife, and LA’s beautiful beaches.

Climate Change

  • Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. LA faces the consequences of climate change on several fronts: a future of increased extreme heat, worsened drought, a longer fire season, and low-lying neighborhoods vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Ecosystem Health

  • Historic habitat loss due to urbanization and the myriad of stressors (pollution, shared uses, invasive species) that coincide with wide scale urbanization have inflicted a damaging toll on the plants and wildlife that make up LA’s diverse ecosystems.
  • Many LA neighborhoods lack trees, parks and access to nature. On hot days, the asphalt and concrete surfaces that cover the county create a significant warming that endangers the health of our people. On rainy days the impenetrable pavement prevents the water from soaking into the ground where it can add to our aquifers and instead washes the water, and pollutants picked up along the way, straight into our ocean.
  • Los Angeles is one of the top cities in the nation in terms of total park acreage, but according to the Trust for Public Land, is one of the worst in the nation in terms of park access and playgrounds per capita.

Energy and Air Quality

  • Coal energy is still prevalent in the region, with a number of utilities receiving 30-40% of their energy from coal sources. Production of electricity from fossil fuels such as coal creates pollution, including smog and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Although air quality in Los Angeles has improved considerably over the years it continues to be dangerous in some parts of the region and has negative impacts on surrounding natural areas. 

Where Do We Go From Here?

L.A. County has the highest population of any county in the nation and as the city continues to grow, it will be more important than ever to address the environmental issues that threaten the health and sustainability of the city. Three areas that will remain a priority are water quality & conservation, energy and restoring and increasing greenspace.

 

Water Conservation and Sourcing

In L.A. County, major priorities are: 1. Continuing to achieve aggressive conservation targets, 2. Being less reliant on external sources of water, and 3. Improving water quality of our LA rivers and beaches. The city can increase local supply by capturing more stormwater, recycling water and making our groundwater cleaner through more advanced treatment.

 

Ecosystem Health

Increasing greenspace/parks in urban areas, increasing access to nature and supporting the restoration, conservation and protection of our wild spaces improves the overall environmental quality of Los Angeles and increases the economic, physical, and social health of the City’s communities.

 

Climate Change/Renewable Energy

While L.A. has significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than most major cities, there is room for improvement especially in regard to reliance on coal. Coal energy is considerable in the region, with a number of utilities receiving approximately 30 to 40 percent of their energy from coal sources. Most renewable energy in the area comes from wind (around 10%), geothermal (around 5%), biomass/biowaste (about 3%) and a very small percentage from solar (less than 1%).

Increasing the use of renewable energy including solar