Tracking land policy in the Golden State.
Concrete and Chaparral
Native Angeleno and certified city boy Elson Trinidad writes about the efforts to embrace -- and the opportunities to appreciate -- the natural world that exists right in our urban backyard.
Going Green, the South L.A. Way

Going Green, the South L.A. Way

Concrete and Chaparral : | Photo: Elson Trinidad The month of April has been awash with the usual Earth Day-themed activities, events which encourage attendees to "Go Green" in the form of recycling, zero-waste practices, lowering one's carbon footprint, reducing fossil fuel consumption,...
Learning to Appreciate Earthquakes

Learning to Appreciate Earthquakes

Concrete and Chaparral : We humans fear what we cannot really understand. So maybe it's time for us Southern Californians to understand earthquakes a bit more. Or maybe even appreciate them.
Elmer Avenue: A Sun Valley Native Plant Oasis, With a Purpose

Elmer Avenue: A Sun Valley Native Plant Oasis, With a Purpose

Concrete and Chaparral : On this particular street, the sound of mariachi, ranchera, Latin ballads, and techno music blast out of household stereos, a common soundtrack for the eastern SFV. But here, amidst sidewalk-less suburban streets, this block looks rather different.
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Save It on a Rainy Day: Rainwater Collection in the Drought Era

Save It on a Rainy Day: Rainwater Collection in the Drought Era

Concrete and Chaparral : With 44 percent of total household water usage in Los Angeles going towards landscaping use, rainwater collection, even in the drought era, is important. Perhaps, more important than ever.
The Past is the Future at San Pedro's White Point Nature Preserve

The Past is the Future at San Pedro's White Point Nature Preserve

Concrete and Chaparral : At the extreme southwesternmost point of the city of Los Angeles lies a 102-acre plot of land that appears as an empty, vacant parcel to the uninitiated. It actually serves as a quiet, natural respite from the urban world.
The Bear Essentials: Have We Learned From Meatball?

The Bear Essentials: Have We Learned From Meatball?

Concrete and Chaparral : Did the Rose Parade float do more than be just a cute, animated representation of wild animals? I hope it inspired more learning and awareness of wildlife.
Deck The Hills with Boughs of (California) Holly

Deck The Hills with Boughs of (California) Holly

Concrete and Chaparral : Christmas time is here, and while our built environment is festooned with tinsel, colored lights, and other festive regalia, the natural world in our own urban backyard is also ready for the holiday season.
A Tale of 2 Hikes: 18 Miles on Hard Pavement, Then a Walk on Soft Dirt

A Tale of 2 Hikes: 18 Miles on Hard Pavement, Then a Walk on Soft Dirt

Concrete and Chaparral : Walking through Los Angeles on 18 miles on pavement got me thinking about how the paved layer we live on can place a toll on us, both physically and psychologically.
Appreciating Vacant Land in the Antelope Valley

Appreciating Vacant Land in the Antelope Valley

Concrete and Chaparral : In the mid-1970s, my parents bought two and a half acres of land in what they have always referred to as "Lancaster."
A Self-Guided Tour of the Los Angeles Aqueduct

A Self-Guided Tour of the Los Angeles Aqueduct

Concrete and Chaparral : Most of the recipients of the Aqueduct's water still have no idea where the water conveyance system is, much less what it looks like, or how it functions. This guide will help.
Reflections on a (Thankfully) Never-Built Los Angeles

Reflections on a (Thankfully) Never-Built Los Angeles

Concrete and Chaparral : The Never Built: Los Angeles exhibit at A + D initially had me expecting to see a bevy of well-designed projects which would make me want to sigh in lamenting their non-existence. But most of them caused me to breathe a sigh of relief instead.
Los Angeles Should Improve its Coexistence With Wildlife

Los Angeles Should Improve its Coexistence With Wildlife

Concrete and Chaparral : Animals have long been amongst us here in Southern California, but as humankind has gradually staked its claim on this land, wild animals are greatly seen as a nuisance.
Building a More Sustainable LAX

Building a More Sustainable LAX

Concrete and Chaparral : It's impressive for such a large and prominent public structure to go after LEED Silver certification. But is it sustainable enough?
Fighting the Food Desert, in the Desert: Sustainable Agriculture Comes to the Owens Valley

Fighting the Food Desert, in the Desert: Sustainable Agriculture Comes to the Owens Valley

Concrete and Chaparral : Food deserts are not exclusive to the urban setting of the congested, polluted concrete jungle.
Enlightening The Darkness: An Urban Stargazer Looks for the Galaxy

Enlightening The Darkness: An Urban Stargazer Looks for the Galaxy

Concrete and Chaparral : Los Angeles, a city known for its Hollywood stars, and a region home to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an aerospace industry, is, ironically, a place where actual stars can hardly be seen.
The Hummingbird Outside My Window is a Good Sign for the Neighborhood

The Hummingbird Outside My Window is a Good Sign for the Neighborhood

Concrete and Chaparral : In this urban, seemingly over-paved environment, hummingbirds are an indicator species.
Livin' On A Layer: Re-Thinking Our Paved Environment

Livin' On A Layer: Re-Thinking Our Paved Environment

Concrete and Chaparral : What we city dwellers consider the urban environment is a paved layer that we exist upon: A man-made surface of concrete, cement, masonry, and asphalt, intended to cover and conceal the natural surface at every opportunity.
Islands In The Sky: Tales From The Pacific Crest Trail

Islands In The Sky: Tales From The Pacific Crest Trail

Concrete and Chaparral : Imagine setting aside several months of your life, free from the rat race, free from the daily commute, free from paying the bills, free from the oppressive bonds of daily commitments, and trading it all for discovery and adventure.
Wetlands Are Making a Comeback in Southern California

Wetlands Are Making a Comeback in Southern California

Concrete and Chaparral : For the uninitiated, "wetlands" might seem like a mere eco-buzzword, but up until nearly a century and a half ago, coastal and inland wetlands were common features in the Southern California landscape.
Enjoy The Silence: The Inaudible Wonders Of The Carrizo Plain

Enjoy The Silence: The Inaudible Wonders Of The Carrizo Plain

Concrete and Chaparral : I love noise. Or at least, I thought I did. Here, buffered by mountains and distance, the great urban lion has been hushed.
Ode To The Stately California Golden Poppy

Ode To The Stately California Golden Poppy

Concrete and Chaparral : For it has been 110 years after the state legislature made official its status as The Golden State's flower that I had finally been successful at growing them en masse.
Go Take A Hike: Trekking Griffith Park With The Sierra Club

Go Take A Hike: Trekking Griffith Park With The Sierra Club

Concrete and Chaparral : Having grown up just a few miles away, the park has been part of my life since I was an infant. I thought I knew Griffith Park, yet there was much more left to discover.
In Touch With Nature at Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park

In Touch With Nature at Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park

Concrete and Chaparral : A place that many deride as "The Hood" or "The Ghetto" can still yield the most pleasant surprises.
The Living Library: Bringing California Native Plants to the Branches

The Living Library: Bringing California Native Plants to the Branches

Commentary: Libraries are learning institutions. Albeit indirectly, I learned about California native plants through my local library, and the learning continues today.
Where the Water Comes From: Owning -- And Owing -- the Owens Valley

Where the Water Comes From: Owning -- And Owing -- the Owens Valley

Concrete and Chaparral : Do yourself a favor, and go to the Owens River Valley to see where your water actually originates.