Just beyond the built environment–WHALES!!


blue whale

Los Angeles has to be among the most modified human environments on the planet.????A massive, sprawling urban center, LA suffers from many environmental challenges, not the least of which is very bad air quality, particularly in environmental justice communities. The wider metro area is home to nearly 20 million people, making it one of the biggest urban concentrations on the planet.??So, perhaps it is appropriate that??just a few miles offshore, I was lucky??enough to see the??biggest animal on the planet–blue whales!

We took the I-5 from LA to Newport Beach to board a whale watching boat.?? The road was jammed with rush hour traffic. Most cars had only a single occupant–a stark reminder of the City’s immense ecological footprint. Yet, once we boarded our boat and left the harbor, also left the built environment.?? As the shore receded, we saw dolphins by the score, sea lions, as well as gulls and pelicans.?? Then to our great good fortune, we killed the engine watched a pod of 9 blue whales, including one baby.?? Our boat captain was almost in tears–we overstayed our tour by almost an hour.?? The juxtaposition between the built?? environment and the natural environment was pretty staggering.

blue whale with greater LA in the background