Spring Environmental Update!

Even if it feels like Lady Spring is dragging her feet/gotten lost on the road to get-warmer-already-ville, the calendar tells us it is indeed spring (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least). And so, in lieu of flowers, sunshine, and birdsong, we present: Overbrook's Spring Environmental Update!

Things are certainly coming up roses for LAANE (the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy). This week, under the leadership of Mayor Eric Garcetti, the L.A. City Council voted to replace the city's current waste and recycling system with the Zero Waste LA Franchise Ordinance, one of the most ambitious programs in the nation. Under the old regime, hundreds of small haulers competed to recycle the City's commercial waste, resulting in inefficiencies, unnecessary pollution, and a sector with poor oversight and enforcement. The new plan will implement a commercial franchise system with eleven districts, dramatically reducing truck traffic, emissions, and allowing for more effective oversight of recycling facilities. Passage of the new model would not have been possible without the dedicated and determined advocacy by LAANE and the Don't Waste LA Coalition, and is proof that coalitions of grassroots groups can prevail over larger corporate interests. Congratulations, LAANE!

Across the Pacific Ocean things are also getting greener, as Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)  - the largest producer of pulp and paper in Asia and a chronic violator of sustainable forestry practices appears to be on the road to enacting meaningful reform. And again, a determined and innovative coalition of nonprofit groups was the decisive factor. This coalition included Overbrook grantees Greenpeace, ForestEthics, Rainforest Alliance, and Environmental Paper Network (EPN). Now the pressure is on to keep the pressure on APP and make sure that it sticks to its commitments. Nonetheless, APP’s acknowledgment of wrongdoing is being cautiously lauded as one of the most dramatic turnarounds in corporate sustainability. You can read more about next steps and monitoring efforts here.

Finally, Game of Thrones is premiering this Sunday on HBO. So you can watch it and be glad that, at this world at least, winter isn't coming.