Taking on the 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 >>

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

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

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 >>

Plug-In to the Los Angeles Business Council Summit

With TreePeople’s mission to inspire and engage people in making Los Angeles sustainable and healthy, we can’t ignore the role that our transportation system plays with its massive consumption of energy, and generation of CO2 and air pollution. Our streets, roads and highways are the primary mechanism whereby we pollute and throw away over $400 million worth of fresh, clean rainwater each year. And changing our transportation system provides a huge opportunity to help solve our long-term water issues.

TreePeople is working with multiple agencies, including METRO, to mitigate these problems by adapting their facilities so they capture, clean, conserve and use rainwater.… 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 >>

Victoria Principal to the (Fire Prevention and Reforestation) Rescue!

Again, actress, activist and entrepreneur Victoria Principal comes to the rescue of Southern California’s forests. And again, it’s just in time. Although this week is unseasonably cool, the moment it gets hot again we’re in for some serious fire danger. In fact, Los Angeles County’s Fire Chief calls this summer and fall “probably the most volatile fire season that’s projected based on our 100-year history.”

Thankfully, doing our part is now as easy as sending a text message.

No, really. TreePeople has in place new mobile technology—funded by Ms.… Read more >>

Not Your Momma’s Fire Season

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!

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

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 >>

Words of Praise from a Conservation Leader

At TreePeople we’re all about partnerships. From the U.S. Forest Service to the Mountains Restoration Trust to the Social Justice Learning Institute to city and county government agencies, professionals and organizations give us reasons every day to stand in awe of the individuals and groups willing to work together toward improving the health of our trees and local environment.

When those we admire laud us in return, it always gives us a boost! Meet Rosi Dagit, a well-known biologist and certified arborist with the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. … Read more >>