Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Goodness

Metro Rapid Bus 720 - Wilshire / Western

Today I survived jury duty and made my way up to the Wilshire Center's Earth Day Celebration.

There were lines of booths with information on planting trees, meditation, and organic everything. People walking and people making friends while riding by (Guys - take note: Flagging down a girl walking by while alongside her on a bike is far more successful than whistling and cat-calling while driving by in a car, just based on what I saw today).

Perhaps the best part was the main stage area, where you could sit on the grass and marvel at how different the area looked with so many people gathered and relaxing. It was a lot different than watching people get upset while stuck in traffic.

A few solar panels on one side of Wilshire supplied the electricity for everything except the main stage. Which included the two side stages, as well as a movie/presentation tent.

There were lots of petitions to sign, causes to join, and people to listen to. Just as the range of causes varied from chanting meditations to collecting signatures for biofuel, the range of enthusiasm ran from bored to passionate.

And I must admit, I found something to be passionate about.

The ability to travel from Los Angeles to Sacramento or San Francisco in less than three hours. Without leaving the ground.

The proposed high speed rail system for California may one day receive its funding. It wouldn't be a complete solution to traffic or pollution, but it would be an appealing alternative to driving. (The big downfall here is that they're talking about running rail through the central valley without talking about freight rail - anyone who has driven I-5 through California knows that the great bulk of the traffic comes from truckers.)

Safer, faster, and greener than driving or flying, a high speed train would also be a huge benefit to tourism, and to economies in the central valley.

It would also be the first step toward a larger focus on rail travel throughout the state and the nation. And I'm all for that.

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