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Mailbag: Sustainability is key for an uncertain future

January 05, 2012

The start of the new year is a good time to consider where our energies as a city should be focused.

Most people agree that public safety is one of the top priorities. Having laws, fire and police are, of course, tent poles. But long-term safety requires a sustainable infrastructure for power, water and food.

We must own the fact that importing all of our goods and services is vulnerable to any number of intentional or accidental failures — environmental, technological or economic. And while this scenario will hopefully be far in the future, if at all, can we afford to ignore it?

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Laguna must be a city that can withstand disruptions of any kind. We have the people, the power and resources to get this done. We can create our own water source instead of importing 100% of it. Same with food. And we can have backup energy systems. If we can't get gas, we can move by foot, bicycle or batteries.

We have an unbelievable wealth of top talent that has been recognized internationally. Chris Prelitz built the first solar-powered home in Orange County. Max Isles installed the first permitted greywater catchment system. Mike Beanan has devoted himself to creating a sustainable water system and a practical use for kelp that washes onto our beaches. Nancy Caruso helped restore our kelp beds and is now endeavoring to bring the abalone back. And Bill Roley is one of the pioneers of the permaculture movement that touts the importance of reduce, recycle and reuse.

The solutions these people have been proposing are not only good for public safety, they're good for business and community. We can be the most sustainable eco-resort in Southern California. We are halfway there with our protected green and blue belts.

But being a truly sustainable city means working as a community to build a legacy that assures we will thrive, both economically and environmentally, in a very uncertain future. In this election year, I hope these issues are part of the referendum.

Billy Fried

Laguna Beach

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Another idea for the eucalyptus trees

For those willing to read one more resolution for tree management in Bluebird Canyon, here is my suggestion:

Replace the eucalyptus trees with fruit-bearing fire-tolerant trees. Remove the eucalyptus trees and reduce them to aromatic firewood, stack dry and distribute the wood among residents in the neighborhood. Doing so will eliminate the chip-and-haul fee charged by tree services.

Make a community project out of planting, watering, caring for and harvesting these trees, and share the fruit among residents. To help with soil conditioning, planting and community building, contact the Transition Laguna Garden Group for details. Visit http://www.transitionlaguna.org.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

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