When I was honored with an “Environmental Champion” award by the

Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, it was very clear to me that the recognition REALLY belonged to ALL of us in Santa Monica.  These were my comments  when I accepted the award on your behalf at the LALCV “garden party” on May 17, 2009.

Santa Monica

Councilmember Kevin McKeown


quickly.  Our residents get it on sustainability.  And we’ve had a history of environmental leadership: 

Former Mayor Denny Zane, who more recently spearheaded passage of local Prop V for stormwater, and regional Prop R for mass transit for all of Los Angeles County.

Former Mayor Judy Abdo, who now serves on the Metropolitan Water Board.

Former environmental staff leader Craig Perkins, now executive director of The Energy Coalition.

Back in the day, these and other Santa Monica leaders created programs for recycling, alternative fuel vehicles, Farmers’ Markets, cleaning up Santa Monica Bay… it is on their work that we build.

And of course the work is ongoing. On Tuesday… this Tuesday… we will complete work on a new runoff pipe at Santa Monica Pier that will eliminate one of the last leaks in our system, and make the Santa Monica Pier area newly swimmable and surfable.

We’ve had incredible success with our Solar Santa Monica program, installing photovoltaics, and we’re about to revise our zoning codes to make that even easier and more practical.

Our Sustainable Works consulting services and our annual Sustainable Quality Awards, working with the Chamber of Commerce, have made Santa Monica businesses willing and invaluable partners in sustainability.

Does our work in Santa Monica spread?  Does it make a larger difference?  I think so.  Santa Monica often goes out on a limb environmentally, but we usually survive the skepticism and derision to find others following our lead.

In 2003 Santa Monica banned smoking in our parks.  In 2004, we banned smoking on our beaches.  Bit by bit, other cities followed.

Last week, the State Senate passed and sent to the Assembly a bill to ban smoking in ALL California parks and beaches, statewide.

Some of you, like Santa Monica, have banned Styrofoam fast food packaging.  Many of us are working together to ban single-use plastic bags.

So what’s coming next out of Santa Monica?

We’re examining all our  economic assumptions, with an eye toward creating a sustainable local economy.

We’re moving toward a Zero Waste policy, and working on Extended Producer Responsibility with the California Product Stewardship Council.

We’ve made food sustainability a top priority in this year’s implementation of our Sustainable City Plan, recognizing that factory-farmed meat production is environmentally unsustainable and possibly a source of public health threats.

And I’ve been pushing for more local food gardening, getting homeowners to share unplanted yards and lawns with community gardeners who may not have land of their own, sharing the food grown right in Santa Monica.

In closing, sharing gardens is really what it’s all about.  This world is our garden.  The Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters helps elect visionary and dedicated gardeners, and I’m proud to share this garden with you.

Return to Environment page

Return to Welcome page

I’ve been to this event every year, for many years.  It’s a real honor to stand up here.

First, I have to say I feel I’m accepting this on behalf of my whole community.  It’s easy to be an environmental champion when you work within the context of the City of Santa Monica.

We’re a relatively small jurisdiction where changes can be made, and needed actions taken,