By the time she was 12 days old, my daughter Katya, like any child born in the Los Angeles region, had already surpassed the EPA's recommended lifetime exposure to carcinogenic toxins. Diesel particulates as visceral an introduction to the world as her mom's milk and parents' touch. A lifetime condensed into less than two weeks: welcome to L.A., kid! My work has gotten me involved in trying to reduce environmental challenges facing the region and helping pilot some more sustainable programs involving food and transportation. All the while, I've tried to 'boost' Los Angeles' self-image, its sense of possibility. Counterprogramming to the neo-noir pessimism of a region forever sunk in sprawl and inequality. Maybe not too different from parenting, since Los Angeles is a young city by world standards. Can it become a place where the positives of living here - symbolized, say, by my daughter's public school with its outside lockers, year round days at the park or the beach, all emanating potential and sunshine - melt away the smog and the divides by geography and wealth and ethnicity? Let's see who and what they grow up to become.