Posted on | May 27, 2019 | No Comments

The day after posting this photo series, I spotted the cover story of Southern Living magazine, Small Space Gardens – Making Every Inch Count, at a local supermarket. It was certainly pretty, this open air living room, what lifestyle editors like to call “aspirational.” But was it a garden? There was so much furniture. The implicit message: we should make the outside like the inside.

As for size, “small” must be bigger in the south than it is in the backstreets of Baltimore, where I now live, and where the rear yards of most ten- to twelve-foot-wide row homes are rarely big enough to get shouting distance from roaring HVAC compressors. If there is access from a driveable alley, many back yards are converted to “parking pads.”

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Make yourself at home

Posted on | June 6, 2018 | 2 Comments

This site is intended mainly as an online clipping service for the reporter Emily Green. Click here to be taken to the journalism archives. Occasional posts below vary between brain-on-fire moments and links to work published elsewhere. Sidebar links to various environmental sites are random acts of enthusiasm.

Image: Kitchen, acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 24″, 2018, EG

Why science, not money, should matter on June 5th

Posted on | May 29, 2018 | No Comments

California’s June 5 gubernatorial primary stands to be a crucial turning point in the more than two-decade-old bid by by Cadiz, Inc to mine Mojave Desert groundwater for sale to coastal Southern California cities. This is less an endorsement of people who appear to be adequate candidates – Delaine Eastin, John Chiang or Gavin Newsom – than a warning.  To this water-watcher’s eyes, a Villaraigosa win would be a staggering setback for unbiased government science in setting a course for California water policy.  Read more

In praise of Altadena Hiker and Karin Bugge

Posted on | March 29, 2018 | 21 Comments

Karin Bugge

Granted, it was odd that Jeanne Moreau would be in front of my house in northern Altadena that afternoon in 2011, but there she was, standing in the street not ten feet away, regarding me with a slow, crooked smile unfolding beneath her sunglasses. Barely visible between parked cars, there was a black Labrador retriever by her side. Who knew that the star of Jules et Jim was a dog person?

“Sit, Albert.”

Or that Jeanne Moreau’s dog was called Albert? Pronounced the American way?

Pushing hair from my eyes and pocketing the reading glasses needed in the garden to differentiate rye seedlings from blue-eyed grass, I clambered to my feet to realize, no, it wasn’t Jeanne Moreau. Some other wild beauty had stopped to make sure that the lady prostrate next to her iris bed was weeding, not dying. My rescuer, whose fine hair was escaping in wisps from what remained of a loosely knotted bun was, it turned out, Karin Bugge, a noted local blogger. The creator of Altadena Hiker was doing what she did on so many afternoons: dodging cars with Albert on the steep and sidewalk-less last blocks of Fair Oaks Avenue before the road disappeared into the winding mountain paths of the Angeles National Forest.

That first meeting with Karin won’t stop replaying in my mind this week as friends struggle to absorb news of her death at what her close friend, reporter Kelly Russell, guesses was only age 58.* Having known Karin in person a little, and having read her a lot over the last seven years, she stands unique in my experience of friends and fellow writers. In my imagination, she somehow never lost that first meeting’s sense of mystery and allure. Rather, it increased. Read more

Trump’s Cadiz relies on complicit Democrats

Posted on | September 5, 2017 | 3 Comments

As US Senator Dianne Feinstein, California Governor Jerry Brown and his Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom lined up behind California State Assembly Bill 1000 last Friday, it looked as though the blue state synonymous with Trump resistance had finally driven a stake through the heart of a Mojave groundwater mining project only viable because of 45th administration sleaze.

And yet, it hadn’t.

Rather, the fifteenth project on Trump’s infrastructure list, an eye-poppingly absurd private scheme to pump billions of gallons of groundwater from the Mojave Desert for export to Orange County, appears to have been saved by two up and coming Democrats, State Senate President pro tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). 

Thanks to the committee chaired by Lara, the environmental protection bill went from near sure passage to somewhere between life support and dead in appropriations.

By contrast, by late Friday night, the Trump-backed Cadiz Water Project was soaring on the NASDAQ.  Read more

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