Taking on the Tyranny of Turf

Tyranny of Turf

It’s lining up to be another dry winter, with water reserves at worryingly low levels. So what’s with L.A.’s obsession with expansive green lawns? How did this landscape ideal, imported from rainy Northern Europe, come to mean the good life in water-scarce Los Angeles? Can we keep it up, or is there a better way? Is the better way possibly even more beautiful?

On Sunday, November 17 at 3pm, TreePeople will partner with the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West to answer some of these questions.… Read more >>

Not Enough Water, L.A.? Look Up.

I am excited to announce that today’s edition of the Los Angeles Times carries a timely Op-Ed that I wrote titled, “Not enough water, L.A.? Look up.

Did Mulholland Get it Wrong?

Nearly one hundred years ago today, William Mulholland stood before a crowd of 40,000 near San Fernando and unfurled an American flag, signaling the official opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. As water from the Owens Valley rushed through the spillway for the first time, Mulholland exulted to the assembled onlookers, “There it is.… Read more >>

Learning from Australia’s Drought: TreePeople Draws Lessons From Down Under

Rainwater Plumbed Indoors - Melbourne Water

In 2012, TreePeople began an exchange between government, research and community organizations in Australia and Southern California. The aim of the program: to share innovations, best practices and experience in urban rainwater capture, water conservation practices and drought response—topics that are increasingly relevant as the climate of the American Southwest (and beyond) changes for the drier.

Why Australia?

Australia experienced several devastatingly dry episodes in the last 100 years. The most recent—called the “Millennium Drought”—started in 1997 and continued through 2010, and brought the country’s longest period of rainfall shortage on record.… Read more >>

Forbes Features TreePeople’s Water Work

Sun Valley Watershed Plan

Our “sound bite” name of TreePeople is misleading. What we do goes way beyond trees. A recent article in Forbes describes the deeper side of our work, which is about building Los Angeles’ next water supply.

Trees are inextricably linked to water—capturing, cleansing and storing rainwater and protecting us from drought and floods. As such, they are an essential part of our city’s infrastructure. Not the built, costly, man-made “gray” infrastructure, but infrastructure that is green and living.

Read on (and catch our short video!) to see how investing in local water through investing in trees and other green infrastructure can grow our local economy.… Read more >>

Get Ready to Collect Some Rain (And Some Money!)

Community Sustainability Workshop

Whatever you’re doing on Saturday, October 5, cancel it, call-in sick, quickly clone yourself, something. Just do whatever you need to do to get to TreePeople’s FREE Community Sustainability Workshop. Why the rush? Well, believe it or not, soon it will rain in Los Angeles, and now is the time to get ready.

Native plant nurseries are gearing up for their fall sales, and fall is the best time to do a bit of landscaping here in Southern California. Too, Metropolitan Water District recently okay’d an incentive plan for rain barrels and rain gardens. That means that all over LA, you can get money back for simply using water that falls from the sky for free.… Read more >>

The Tree-Water Connection at One Water Leadership Summit, September 23 – 26

2013 OWLS Header

Even though our name is TreePeople, our organization is as focused on the city’s watershed as we are on its individual trees. After all, the forest has always been nature’s water supply and pollution clean-up system. I’ll be shedding light on how that works in Los Angeles—and the many benefits to our environment, community and economy—when I speak at the One Water Leadership Summit in Los Angeles, September 23-26. I’m looking forward to this chance to engage in the national dialogue on water and the urban environment and share some of the lessons from TreePeople’s work in building the new local water supply for our city.… Read more >>

The Real Eco Choice for Southwest Landscapes

Is the summer heat leaving you feeling a bit parched? Perhaps your landscaping is thirsty, too? If so, you’re not alone. People all over the southwestern United States are realizing that our traditional green lawn landscapes are more difficult and expensive to keep watered in hot, dry years like this one. So much so that cities are actually paying residents to rip-up their grass and replace it with climate-appropriate plants.

No matter where you stand on the aesthetics of the issue, the fact is that losing the lawn allows cities to reduce water consumption—amazingly, by up to a third—even while the population grows.… Read more >>

Not Your Momma’s Fire Season

Santa Monica Mountain Restoration

Fire season is a part of LA, right?  Like earthquakes and off-the-rails movie stars, if we’ve survived them once we can do it again, right?  Wrong.

The problem is that with the climate changing, things are getting more intense.  This is not your momma’s fire season.

Southern California is in its seventh driest year on record.  This year’s January-through-March time period was the driest for LA, EVER.  Those three months of rain are crucial for us.  With almost no rainfall at the beginning of the year, the moisture content of plants in our local hills and mountains is already very low.… Read more >>

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Source: http://c-change.la/snowfall/

After the President’s speech on climate change this morning, and looking ahead to a hot weekend, we find our thoughts turning to snow.  Specifically, Los Angeles’s precious local mountain snowpack.  Why is this snowpack important (outside of skiing considerations), you might ask?  In a lot of ways, it is a measure of the impact of climate change on our region.

Snowfall is one of the ways LA gets its water.  Less snowfall equals less local water.  Consequently, more energy has to be used to import water from neighboring regions and other states (where ecosystems are also predicted to become much drier).Read more >>

No Need to Plant-Sit These California Natives

Black Sage and Flannelbush, photos by Donnella Anderson

Going on vacation? Trying to find someone to care for your garden while you’re away? Well, this amazing duo of SoCal natives goes on vacay with you, as they need almost no water in the summer. Black sage and Flannel bush will lounge around your garden, perfectly blending with the beautiful and laid-back vibe of the SoCal summer. So take your time off and come back home to a garden that will look as fab as you do!

Black sage (Salvia mellifera)
Evergreen shrub, California native measuring 5’ tall and 5’ wide.… Read more >>