Interestingly, Joel Makower, on our first evening in San Francisco, noted that efforts had been made to turn sustainability and clean tech into a Venn diagram, or movement – but not always successfully. LACI is testament to California’s ambition to combine the two – and transform the state’s economy in the process.
By way of background, Wikipedia notes: “LACI’s Strategic Imperative is to move “the country off of its dependence on foreign fuels … California has already put its stake in the ground with AB 32, requiring all utilities to get 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. And Los Angeles is ahead of every major city by achieving almost 20% of its energy from renewable resources by 2010. The new strategic imperative is to focus the private and public sectors on the processes and technologies regarding the sustainable consumption of our natural resources.”
We were told that the site had previously been home to a brothel, while stunning photographs from the US Library of Congress showed women, more recently, in a range of industrial (particularly aerospace-related) activities and poses, including some from the Rosie the Riveter era.
Great to see sustainability up in lights, or at least as writing on the walls. And delighted to find LACI is directly linked to efforts to clean up the nearby LA River.
LACI is a test-bed for solar and other forms of energy, for electric car charing technology, and for technologies like light pipes or tubes. Huge numbers of 3D printers and even more exotic machines. Such a welcome contrast to the era symbolised by the nodding donkeys we passed, nodding, on the way in.
Then back to Marina del Rey once again, where we are to be picked up by a colleague of Ingvild’s in a rented Camaro, to go to a restaurant on Venice Beach, a few minutes away. A taste of the old, muscle car California, though after this trip I am even more confident that a very different future is bubbling under.
As William Gibson, long one of my favourite science fiction authors, has said: “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” Yet, we might say. And in the past 10 days we have been privileged to see some of the places where it is evolving at an increasingly exponential rate.