Saturday, April 02, 2011

How Green Is My Valley?

By Richard Bangs
Palm Springs sprawls like a petrified fossil on a culture dish in the middle of the hottest, driest desert in North America. Who would want to live there? Yet, in the early half of the 20th century it became an oasis for hay fever sufferers, and valetudinarians with tuberculosis, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. That is until its first Green Movement, one that saw a spate of golf courses rolled out like carpets throughout the Coachella Valley. That precipitated another demographic shift, to retirees. Now, the eight cities that make up the Desert Empire, stretching southeast from the San Bernardino Mountains to the saltwater Salton Sea, are sometimes collectively called God's Waiting Room. Everyone knows the little blue-haired ladies that populate Florida. Well, their parents live in Palm Springs. Deserts are not naturally green, of course, but with enough siphoned, sucked-up or stolen water, they can be transmogrified into emerald cities. Palm Springs is a curious button, as it was involved in environmental progressiveness long before fashion, with its vast wind farms and other ingenuities, and then it enjoyed a lost weekend during the Hope/Sinatra/Skelton period, where it smacked of overindulgence and development at the expense of eco-conscientiousness; and now it is back, retrofitting, retooling, and fashioning a green future, or at least one that strives for balance. Read More

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