Is Los Angeles the best city for cleantech and sustainability?
We live in a world of changing climates and surging population. Fortunately, we also live in a time of intense innovation in cleantech and sustainability. Is Los Angeles the optimal place to lead the rest of the country in these areas? Yes, and we have seen a variety of reasons that support this.
What is Cleantech? What is Sustainable?
Cleantech is a collection of business sectors covering a range of both goods and services that minimize environmental impact. Some of the most well known sectors include agriculture, recycling and waste, solar, and transportation. Our definition of sustainable is a bit broader and includes companies that support, empower, and provide jobs to the people who live in their surrounding communities. These companies can contribute meaningfully to infrastructure or give back to underserved groups or populations. As Los Angeles continues to be a rising tech hub, it is important that new and rapidly growing companies support the community that created a hospitable environment for them in the first place.
Why Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is committed to Cleantech across the board. Our county was an early adopter of solar, and our Department of Water and Power began its solar incentive program in 2000 with a $150 million budget which is probably why we have the largest amount of installed solar power of any U.S. city. We encourage businesses to apply for green certification. And although it has been a long time since Los Angeles was the largest agricultural county in the U.S., as our population surges, and as knowledge of the importance of adopting a healthier diet becomes more prevalent, the idea of community gardens or even high density agriculture becomes more enticing.
In fact, one startup in the community, Local Roots, has gained traction by successfully creating high density indoor farms that use up to 99% less water that outdoor agriculture. And Local Roots is just one cleantech startup in the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), which is part of a planned Cleantech Corridor in downtown Los Angeles.
Los Angeles has many different factors working together to support a healthy environment, and we also have larger plans. LA is the “first U.S. city to use the Compact of Mayors globally recognized methodology for calculating a city’s greenhouse gas emissions.” We have the highest recylcing rate of any large U.S. city. We have created the highest number of green jobs of any city in the U.S. (over 20,000), and our bike share system, with over a thousand bikes, and over 90,000 trips taken as of January 2017, is the largest in the country.
The time to minimize our impact on the environment is now. And with continued commitments across the board in infrastructure, research, and development, Los Angeles is leading the way.