The New York Times on "Mexsicko" City's about-face on pollution The capital of Mexico, once so infamous for its pollution that it was nicknamed "Mexsicko" City, has made great strides in cleaning up its air quality, so much so that cities in other developing countries, notably China, are looking to it as a model for pollution reduction. "Ozone levels and other pollution measures now place it on roughly the same level as the (also cleaner) air above Los Angeles," writes The New York Times' Damien Cave. The government has helped make the air above Mexico City cleaner over the decades by closing polluting factories, banning drivers from using their car once a week, insitituting a bike-loan program, and improving public transit. But it's one of the many citizen-driver initiatives -- three towering vertical gardens meant to eat up carbon dioxide (one above) -- that's become the symbol of the city's green awakening, argues Cave.
The Los Angeles Times on green big-rigs The Times' Ronald D. White offers an encouraging example today of the interests of environmentalists and corporations aligning. Prompted by fuel-efficiency mandates in states like California and fears of another spike in diesel prices like the one that occurred in 2008, trucking companies are taking it upon themselves to update their fleets to make them more energy efficient -- creating the nice byproduct of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Companies are making their big-rigs greener in myriad ways: upgrading engines to fuel-efficient diesel, natural gas, electric or hybrid; buying aerodynamic cabs; installing software that optimizes trucking routes and cuts down on idle time. And given the results for one company, the energy savings can be significant for firms. "Atlanta-based Coca-Cola saved about 1 million gallons in 2011, or about 4.8% of annual fuel consumption."