GOOD

The GOOD 100: Cash for Grass

Get Off the Grass

The lush green lawn has long been a symbol of the American suburban ideal. But water resources are stretched thin these days, especially in the West. California, for example, averages just over 17 inches of rainfall each year, and turf lawns require about an inch of water per week. With reservoirs drying up, using water to keep lawns green just doesn't make sense, especially when you consider the competing uses: agriculture, sanitation, and drinking.A decade ago, Las Vegas began experimenting with a program to save water and money by paying residents to replace their lawns with local drought-resistant plants. That idea has started to catch on. Recently, cities in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Arizona have launched similar "cash for grass" programs. Most offer homeowners $1 to $2 for each square foot of grass they remove, requiring that it be replaced with plant life appropriate to the local environment.To make the transition easy, Lisa Amaral, the water conservation administrator in Roseville, California, teamed up with landscapers and nurseries. "We wanted to have beautiful examples of what water-efficient landscaping could look like." Roseville's pilot program was wildly popular. "We had a waiting list the morning we were launching the program, and the funding was completely expended before eight o'clock that morning," says Amaral, "So we went back to council and requested more funding, which they granted."Since Las Vegas's program was launched, 130 million square feet of grass have been removed, reducing the city's water use by 15 billion gallons between 2002 and 2007, despite booming population growth.


Infographics
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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