Greenius On The South Bay Scene – The Green Report

If you want to have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening on the South Bay green scene being on Dency Nelson’s Friends for A Green Hermosa Beach e-mail list is a pretty damn good place to start.


The green story of Dency Nelson is worth an entire blog onto itself, but he’s far too busy and actively involved to ever have time for that.  His green roots go back to the 1970s along with those of his friend, Ed Begley Jr.

Ed became a star in front of the camera, Dency became a superstar on the other side of the camera.  Today they both drive electric cars powered from the charge generated via their rooftop solar panels.

Today, I think a new TV series called “Living With Dency” has the potential to be an even bigger hit than “Living With Ed”  has been.  After all, Dency lives in the far more telegenic South Bay and his solar panels have an ocean view…

That's Dency with actress Cameron Diaz

He’s a ruggedly handsome guy too. I hope the folks from Planet Green TV are reading – as usual…

I’m sure Dency won’t be thrilled with my putting the spotlight on him, because as long as I’ve known him he’s been putting the spotlight on environmental and sustainability issues.  And he’s done more than spotlight those issues, he’s been living them.  If everyone had as small a carbon footprint and lived as lightly on the land as Dency does, we wouldn’t be in the climate mess we’re in today.

I’ve learned a lot from Dency’s example over the years and lately it’s been thanks to Dency’s green news e-mail pipeline that I’ve been a very busy Greenius.

In the last ten days I took Kathleen Jacecko’s terrific TeachingGreen workshop, “Tooling Around Town in (Green) Style” at the Unitarian Church in Palos Verdes and learned things about the transportation issue I did not know.  There I met a packed roomful of very concerned local citizens who were fired up and ready to go plug-in as soon as they are given the chance.  I wondered if all of them were on Dency’s list too.


TeachingGreen is a treasure of an organization for our South Bay communities.  They’ll be celebrating their third anniversary this year of providing environmental education services and materials for both grownups and school children.  They put on very well run workshops for adults and in-class presentations for kids.

Their work keys on three main goals:

  1. Raising awareness about our most serious environmental problems, both local and global
  2. Encouraging people to consider the environmental impact of their day-to-day activities
  3. Helping people adopt a lifestyle that sustains, rather than depletes, Earth’s natural resources.


Kathleen is the driving force behind TeachingGreen and she’s a dynamic and charismatic advocate on behalf of a sustainable future through environmental education.  She’s a terrific teacher and easy to listen to.

I’m looking forward to the next workshop in the series, on March 8, “Helping The Earth With Every Bite.”  It’s all about food.  Why don’t you go to the TeachingGreen website, sign up and join me there?

Another e-mail I got from Dency motivated me to call Lillian Light, the President of the Environmental Priorities Network (EPN), to ask her for an interview.


I’ve been seeing Lillian’s name attached to almost everything environmentally related in the South Bay for the past few years and I’ve been seeing Lillian herself when I attend Green Task Force meetings, go to Manhattan Beach Environmental Task Force meetings and at the Energy Fair her group has been putting on for years.

When I talked with Lillian she said, “Sure,” she’d do an interview with me and then asked if I was going to the climate change communications workshop at UCLA that Wednesday.  I told Lillian it sounded like my kind of fun and I offered to car pool with her.

So it was that I found myself driving Lillian and her fellow EPN member, Grace Walters, to the Westwood campus of UCLA to attend “Communicating Climate Change: A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down” where we each learned some new tricks and had some good fun workshopping with the grad students.

The workshop was led by Zoe Elizabeth of the UCLA School of Public Affairs and Laura Zahn, a Program Associate with the California Climate Action Registry.  They were both very well organized and had some strong, thought-provoking material.  I didn’t think their program included enough of a sense of urgency, or a recognition of a powerful disinformation campaign by wastelanders, but what I learned was valuable and useful and gave me some cool new tools to use.  I was very glad we went.

Eric Schaff, a UCLA graduate student and Hawthorne resident, was teamed with Lillian, Grace and me and together we created a communications plan for our proposal that Manhattan Beach’s city buildings generate 50% of their electricity by solar.  We only had 20 minutes to brainstorm so we didn’t work out every detail, but it seemed like an idea worth pursuing.

lagreendrinkswhiteglass4The following night, Thursday the 12th, just happened to be the second Thursday of the month which meant it was South Bay Green Drinks night.  Naturally I learned all about this from – you guessed it – an email blast from Dency.

Speaking of blasts, that’s what I had with the green gang at the Second Story bar at the world famous Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach.  As soon as I read in Dency’s email that Green Drinks is a social networking organization for anyone concerned about environmental issues who’d like to get together over drinks,  I immediately developed a powerful thirst.

I checked out their website and found out that Green Drinks events are very simple, informal, and are designed to help connect the green network. I like to connect, I thought, and I am both simple and informal, so I got in the Greeniusmobile and cruised over to the MB.

I carpooled over with my bud, the Reverend Ron, who liked the idea of both being with fellow greens and fellow drinkers.

chameleon_logoOne of the first folks we met was Chris Pine, of the Biodiesel Cooperative of Los Angeles. I asked him what he knew about the good news I had read regarding the Fiesta Hermosa powering their generators this year using vegetable oil from the area’s fast food restaurants.  He told me he had spoken with those same folks that very day and was going to work with them to make sure their vege fuel oil met the minimum specs for the diesel engines.

Like me, Chris lives and works in Torrance.  He had some great information about the history and development of the diesel engine and how the original fuel Mr. Diesel used for his engine was peanut oil, the first biodiesel.  Chris also hipped us to why using biodiesel is so good for the environment and for your car.

Layout 1As if he wasn’t delivering enough green value, Chris was also at Green Drinks that night to help promote the movie “FUEL” which is still playing at the AMC Lowes at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica through Friday.

The L.A. Times review last week said,

“Fuel” is a vital, superbly assembled documentary that presents an insightful overview of America’s troubled relationship with oil and how alternative and sustainable energies can reduce our country’s — and the world’s — addictive dependence on fossil fuels.”

Sounds like a Greenius kind of movie.  Can’t wait to see it.

I dug talking environment with the candidates for Redondo Beach  City Council.  I found Bill Brand the most impressive of all and I’ve long supported his efforts to transform the AES power plant in Redondo into a much needed area park.  In fact Brand’s efforts in creating the South Bay Parkland Conservancy deserve a post onto itself and I’ll do so in a future Creative Greenius.  Meanwhile he has my endorsement for Redondo City Council.  I’m sure that thrills him no end…

I also ran into the aforementioned Kathleen Jacecko from TeachingGreen at Green Drinks and got to meet her cool husband.  Lillian Light was there with her cool husband as well.  Come to think of it, I’ve seen Lillian and Ollie at South Bay COG Green Task Force meetings and I’ve met Kathleen before too, through – you guessed it – Dency Nelson when I spent some time in his Hermosa Green Building booth a the Fiesta Hermosa over last Memorial Day weekend.

The following morning, last Friday, I was once again spending some time with Lillian, only this time it was one-on-one, at her Manhattan Beach home for our interview.  I had ten questions and then some for Lillian and she was generous enough to answer all of them.  I’ve got a two-hour tape still to transcribe and as soon as I do I’ll have that exclusive Greenius interview for you.  It’s worth waiting for, believe me.

smithersAnd it’s something you’re not going to find in the newspaper I canceled this week after firing its editors.  I told you I’d assume responsibility for local green coverage and I mean it.

This entire post is unlike anything that slowly dying conservative mouthpiece has ever offered on the environment – and I did it in my spare time.

Imagine what we in the green community could do with the resources they misspend in an average week.  Imagine how much better my writing would be if I had me a Smithers as my editor.  Wouldn’t that be dreamy?

Finally, Monday night I was back in Manhattan Beach – after all it’s the South Bay’s Greenest City according to the Creative Greenius – this time to attend the V.O.I.C.E. Earth Day Planning Meeting at the Josyln Center on Valley Dr.  Yeah… I read about it in an email from Dency.

earth-dayHis email forward said they were looking for volunteers and inviting folks to share their ideas, time and energy.  Their 17th annual Earth Day celebration event will be held on Saturday, April 18th at Polliwog Park in Manhattan Beach and it’s already a cherished South Bay family tradition.

The folks I met at the planning meeting were warm, friendly and clearly experienced at producing this event.  As is typical of Manhattan Beach, they had the help of city staff.

They’ve also got most of the proven favorites coming back this year, but they’re still looking for more green and sustainable vendors, so if you know of any local businesses that seem like a natural fit, give them a call at 310-226-2927.

I was really excited to learn that for the first time ever there will be a mobile solar panel unit generating enough clean, renewable electric power to offset the amount used by the entire event at Polliwog.  The solar electric energy will be fed back into the local grid during the event itself.  How cool is that?  More details to come on the technology and the company behind it.

If you’d like to join in on the planning fun, mark your calendar for upcoming Earth Day meetings scheduled for Monday March 2nd, March 16th, April 6th & April 13th.

That brings my Greenius on the South Bay Green Scene report up to date. Of course… I haven’t checked my email to see if Dency’s sent anything new…

Tomorrow night I’ll be attending the Manhattan Beach Environmental Task Force meeting to keep tabs on their efforts.  Here’s a link to the agenda for this meeting.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m disappointed my own city of Torrance has no such service opportunity for citizens like myself.

solar-living-logo1The following morning I’m off to Murietta for three days of Solar Living Institute solar PV panel classes and workshops.  More to come on those Greenius adventures from the scene after class number one.

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