Carbon Shift from Seth Jacobson: LA Times Blogger Comes Clean About Being Green


One of the LA Times’ newer blogs, Carbon Shift is the brainchild of Seth Jacobson, evironmental advocate. FBLA asked him how the blog came to be in the LAT, and Jacobson gave us the story:

“The idea for Carbon Shift sprung from a conversation that Rob Barrett and I had back in the fall of 2005. Rob and I have known each other for years through other internet-related projects and mutual friends.

At the time, Dick Riordan was sponsoring me to consult on energy issues with John Sullivan at LA County’s Terrorism Early Warning Group. A friend and I were also launching an environmental nonprofit — the Green Coast Foundation — which is dedicated to accelerating markets for clean, renewable energy technologies in California.

Rob and I were talking about that stuff, and he recognized the opportunity to create a blog that was a nexus of various energy-related stories that LA Times is covering regularly — climate change, energy security, renewable energy/altfuel businesses, health/air quality issues, etc. — and that the blog format could be used to draw connections among these topics in a way that may resonate with readers at

From that initial conversation, we kept the ball rolling (slowly!) until the launch this week.”

FBLA thinks that for a big city, Los Angeles is a surprisingly small town. All these guys knew each other. But just how green is the good Mr. J?

FBLA grilled him over some smokeless recycled briquets:

“Am certain that there are Angelenos whose lives are much more entirely Green than mine.

Since I moved back to town around 7 years ago, though, I’ve been exploring different transportation alternatives. Took the subway a few times in the last year — twice from downtown to Pasadena to go games at the Rose Bowl — it’s easy, cheap and took only @ 30 minutes. The Gold Line was packed with Trojan fans for the SC-UCLA game — which was great when my Bruins won and I got to ride back among those quiet, sulking Trojan faces — as phenomenal as the game was, the subway ride definitely enhanced the victory.

When I was a teenager, my friends and I used to take the RTD all over the place before we could drive — to the beach, the Valley, etc. — and I would also take it home from school. I’ve heard that LA’s bus system is much improved, but I haven’t had that experience recently — it needs to get better. Santa Monica’s Blue Bus system, though, is great.

I don’t drive a hybrid. In the last year I started driving an old Mercedes turbo diesel that the Lovecraft shop in Silverlake converted to run on vegetable oil (in addition to running on biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel). It’s an experiment. I’m not saying that it’s a solution — today there are no silver bullets — but so far it gets around 25 MPG and runs well. Learning to pour veggie oil from 35 pound jugs without spilling on my pants took a little time, as I’ve always had a problem dripping food.”

He’s green and messy.