Edens Lost & Found: How Ordinary Citizens Are Restoring Our Great American Cities

Do-gooders unite in the Los Angeles version of PBS' four-part traveling series "Edens Lost & Found: How Ordinary Citizens Are Restoring Our Great American Cities." Whether it's cleaning up a park in a gang-infested area or planting trees to help the ecological system, regular folk prove they can make a difference.

Do-gooders unite in the Los Angeles version of PBS’ four-part traveling series “Edens Lost & Found: How Ordinary Citizens Are Restoring Our Great American Cities.” Whether it’s cleaning up a park in a gang-infested area or planting trees to help the ecological system, regular folk prove they can make a difference. But by the end of the hour, it feels like a bit of overkill.

Narrated by Jimmy Smits, one-hour special examines different scenarios in which locals find that getting off the couch and actively participating in the ecological welfare of L.A. gives them a feeling of accomplishment — as well as making the city a more hospitable and healthy place to live.

First seg focuses on Andy Lipkis, the president of Tree People and a believer in the power of the pine (and the fern and the palm). Planting trees since the mid-1970s, Lipkis and his team have helped reduce smog levels; a clip of him presenting a small tree to Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” establishes that he has never been in this for the short run.

Following seg profiles Darrell Clarke, a public transportation advocate who hopes Angelenos will one day commute by paddling down the L.A. River. It doesn’t wash. “Jetsons”-like personalized spacecraft probably has a better chance of coming to fruition than L.A. boating.

Enlightening piece on Ed Begley Jr. covers the actor’s longstanding commitment to everything green — from his well-known electric car to the solar panels on his modest house. His decades-long resoluteness in a town where marriages often last less than a single TV season should be applauded.

Edens Lost & Found: How Ordinary Citizens Are Restoring Our Great American Cities

PBS; Thu., Jan. 11, 10 p.m.

Production: Executive producers, Harry Wiland, Dale Bell; director, Wiland; producer, writer, editor, Beverly Baroff. Running time: 60 MIN.

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