Tuesday, April 21, 2015

An Entirely New River

Hi, my name is Andy Aparicio. On the morning of April 18th, 2015, it was nearly required to attend an environmentally positive event, that being many students and adults alike cleaning up the Los Angeles River. It was certainly a strange assignment and though I have a love for nature, helping the environment was not one of my major focuses in my life. ESPECIALLY given the fact that Los Angeles is one of the most nature-deprived cities in the United States. The truth is, I never attended the LA River other than crossing it in one of it's bridges. But I heard not so pleasant things about it. My first impression was that it was completely concrete and perhaps man-made. I was reluctant to go, but I braved on. I was disappointed to find the river next to FoLAR's site was dry and non impressive. My partner and I decided to move forward to see if there was any water to find, but not without trying to pull some trash out. We went it deep in the shrubs to find wrappers, bags etc., and kept moving forward. Eventually, we reached the water, which wasn't too far away. This is where things started to look different to me. Suddenly, there were ducks floating by. The river was shallow but alive; I became intrigued. Further on, we pushed and the nature of the river grew. Like a mini exhibit, the river was a beautiful mix between the old design of nature and the man-made concrete banks that controlled it. The sound of traffic, though not efficient, gave the river a twist in what it should be seen as. The suburban hills crowding the river added to this blend, and started to make me think. "Why can't there be a river that contains the best of both worlds?" I know many would argue this, claiming a river should be 100% natural. But Los Angeles isn't like the City of Boulder where it looks like people live in the trees. LA is sort of the opposite. We don't build over nature, nature builds over us, and this river is a great example. The only issue that remains is the environmental status of the river. Why isn't the city doing something about this? Why isn't the river good enough to bathe in? When will the city in general provide concern over what could be a popular landmark? Instead, we're left with what many consider not a river at all. The best we can do is help clean it, one year at a time.

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