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Top 10 Environmental Stories This Year

With 2010 coming to an end, our Greenius Zone columnist looks back at Hermosa Beach’s year of green ideas and debate.

While 2010 saw zero positive movement on stopping the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and global warming on a worldwide scale, at least there was better eco-news here in Hermosa Beach.

From the city's goal to become Southern California's first carbon neutral town to the strength of the beach bike community, here is a look back at the top 10 local green stories that rocked 2010:

  1. To be the First: The City Council, Green Task Force, Hermosa Beach School Board and a cross section of businesses and residents declared their ambitious intent early in the year to transform Hermosa into Southern California's . After six months of impressive progress, the momentum stalled in the second half of 2010 from a lack of leadership. Will it regain its green mojo in the new year? I hope so.
  2. It's Electric: Eight months before the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt started delivering their first plug-in electric vehicles to California customers, Hermosa Beach took the lead in already on the road in April. Hermosa electric vehicle driver and advocate Dency Nelson made it happen in partnership with solar-powered St. Cross by-the-Sea church.
  3. Sharing Sharrows: Innovative and controversial "sharrows" to educate road users that bicyclists may take the entire right hand lane if necessary, and the bicycle community celebrated the move. While a majority of Hermosans voiced support for sharing the road with bikes this year, to the change.
  4. Eco-friendly Strand: The year's pummeling fall and winter rain storms took Hermosa by surprise, but the city now looks awfully prescient having installed a 1,000-foot-long that collects and treats the storm water and urban runoff before it can reach the ocean. award.
  5. Eco-friendly Avenue: The completion of the long awaited Upper Pier Avenue Improvement Project added more vital storm water and urban runoff infiltration facilities to the area, keeping pollution and bacteria out of the ocean. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took notice and . Renovations also made Pier Avenue more walkable in hopes of creating more pedestrian traffic and less car pollution.
  6. Looking Up: The very first church in the vast Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese to generate clean, green, renewable solar electricity to power its church and school is . The solar system helps cut Hermosa's carbon footprint and sets another powerful Green Idea City example.
  7. Fiesta Hermosa: Local volunteers helped bicyclists safely park thousands of their bicycles for free during both and at Fiesta Hermosa. The to get Fiesta-goers out of their gas-powered vehicles and onto their people-powered cycles seems like a permanent addition to the holiday weekend events.
  8. Green Idea House: This local home attracted impressive media attention and broad support from elected officials in Hermosa Beach, Sacramento and Washington D.C. throughout 2010. Finally in October, the Fortunato family's bold experiment in green building and sustainable living, known as the , began the physical transformation of an ordinary energy wasting building into an environmental showcase.
  9. Green Ex-exec: After getting attention and praise for her efforts to make Fiesta Hermosa a greener, more sustainable event, promote bike valet services and solar power for businesses, , the  Carla Merriman. The community now wonders, will the next leader be as green?
  10. Macpherson Lawsuit: This is the $700 million breach-of-contract sword of Damocles that hangs over Hermosa Beach (see accompanying document). of new creative solutions and attempts to capitalize on the Gulf oil spill with state hearings in Hermosa, the California Supreme Court refused  in May. The issue is headed for trial in the Los Angeles Superior Court and the decision could easily trump any other environmental story in 2011.

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