Back in 2016, the Sierra Club launched an effort with friends and allies to move Los Angeles to 100 percent clean energy. Los Angeles has long been plagued with dirty air, and is at increasing risk from climate change. Our dependence on fossil fuels is by far the biggest driver of these two problems.
On the flip side, Los Angeles has everything to gain from the transition to clean energy. Los Angeles is home to more than 115,000 clean energy jobs, even though less than 30 percent of our energy comes from renewables and just a fraction of cars are electric. Given the threats posed by fossil fuels and the benefits of the transition to clean energy, there's no time like the present to organize for 100 percent clean energy.
However, while threats to our environment, health, families, neighbors, and way of life continue, our best defense in Los Angeles has been a good offense. Sierra Club has been buoyed by the progress in the last six months to confront the dominance of the fossil fuel industry and turn a page towards 100 percent clean energy. We have three exciting updates to share:
Looking ahead, we still have a lot of work to do, but the future is bright. Up next? Los Angeles Metro's Board will consider a policy to accelerate the transition the 100 percent electric by 2030 in July. Through the summer and fall, our local utility will continue to chart its course towards 100 percent clean energy (no doubt with a few bumps along the way). All the while, the people of Los Angeles will continue to fight for a future defined not by who we aren't and what we're against, but by who we are, our values, and our vision for the future.
Two years ago, Long Beach based barber Gabe Torres suffered a life-threatening brain injury, and thought that he may never cut hair again. But, with a second chance at life, Gabe dreamed up the idea of a barber college for young people to learn the skills of a career that would change their lives, and would be a vehicle to provide dignity and care for those less fortunate in the community.
Cue Covenant House California, a nonprofit youth homeless shelter, who believed in Gabe's vision to create real career opportunities, teach entrepreneurial skills, and, most importantly, inspire a spirit of community service to their teenage clients.
Since receiving the My LA2050 grant, Gabe and Covenant House California have been hard at work pushing the barber college forward. However, they have also faced the tedious, bureaucratic process of state licensing, city permits, building leases and and renovations.
The good news is that while the school awaits accreditation by the State of California's Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), the Precise team is hard at work!
And things are looking good! Check out these photos of the project:
The floors are in, the furniture has arrived, and the team is hard at work, focusing on the plumbing, electrical and technology necessary to make the space function.
LAUSD is the second largest school district in the nation and it faces a mounting energy bill. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is helping the District with a grant for piloting new technologies as part of an effort to mitigate the rising costs of water and energy.
To help respond, Cleantech 2 Edtech is bringing high school students from diverse backgrounds into the world of cleantech startups and seeding new career directions in Los Angeles. A program of Caltech's Resnick Sustainability Institute, Cleantech 2 Edtech's mission is to engage young people in environmental entrepreneurship by providing opportunities to work with new companies piloting energy saving technologies with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Students from participating schools will work with companies that will help the schools pinpoint their energy hot spots, and manage energy use better.
With the support of LA2050, Cleantech 2 Edtech is exploring new clean energy and water technologies with LAUSD while offering education and internship opportunities for high school students. To implement the program, Caltech has:
Cleantech 2 Edtech will contribute to LA2050's goals of making Los Angeles the best place to create and learn by: 1) nurturing the next generation of cleantech innovators and job creators; 2) helping schools secure cleaner energy and use water more efficiently; and 3) promoting a culture of energy awareness in schools.
Over the next six months, Caltech will track all program participants – students, teachers, companies - to assess their engagement and program satisfaction. Caltech also see if these technologies can be more widely adopted throughout LAUSD. If successful, Cleantech 2 Edtech could become a valued adjunct to entrepreneurial curriculum across the whole District.
Kids are learning. Seniors are finding valued relationships. The homeless are being fed. People are having their needs met by volunteers at more than 130 nonprofits throughout Los Angeles.
These acts of service are the work of more than 600 adults with significant developmental disabilities. Have you seen them around town? Maybe not, but chances are, you've seen the impact they're making.
As part of Tierra del Sol Foundation's Pathways to Employment through Professional Volunteerism services, adults with disabilities - such as Autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy - are overcoming stereotypes and societal barriers to find their passion, connect with others, serve their community, enhance their skills, and prepare for careers.
Since Tierra partnered with LA2050, 45 participants started new volunteer jobs and 90% improved their skills. In the past six months, Tierra has welcomed 23 new nonprofit volunteer sites. While this project increases rates of volunteerism, it also impacts many of the other LA2050 CONNECT metrics:
There is still more to be done! Summer is a key time for college students to volunteer, including the 144 students in Tierra's NEXUS College to Career program. However, it is often hard to find a position that meets each person's career goals and schedule. Tierra is working with the Summer Youth program, run by the City of Los Angeles and Mayor Garcetti, to create short-term paid opportunities for these students.
By the end of 2017, almost 600 adults will either gain a volunteer position or continue providing value to their volunteer site. Fifty of these people will obtain a new position, finding their voice and being recognized for their contributions.
What does this journey look like? Watch Meagan and Nuvia's stories here. Or read how volunteerism was the key step between Rocio's college education and her career. As Rocio describes it, “My journey has been so incredible. I never thought I would end up here…" (page 7).
AltaSea and its network of STEM educators are helping make Los Angeles the best place to learn, working with young Angelenos to underscore the importance of our oceans in building sustainable lives for us all. AltaSea has assembled a dynamic and diverse group of partner organizations that have delivered ocean-based STEM lessons to more than 350 LAUSD students, with exciting programs including and not limited to: the Ocean Exploration Trust, Catalina Sea Ranch, Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI), and Blue Robotics.
Altasea's STEM Network on the LA Waterfront is delivering hands-on ocean exploration, providing young minds with thrilling and eye-opening experiences with cutting-edge science and technology. Students hear from accomplished scientists, tech innovators and entrepreneurs in Blue Tech, experiences that can shape lives and career choices.
Thus far, AltaSea has:
Later in the year:
AltaSea's initial efforts have spawned new partnerships and programs that will further expand our network, such as:
This ambitious array of STEM-related ocean education and experiences will, of course, ultimately be evaluated against a range of metrics to ensure it effectively delivers on its promise to the students, families, educators and others affected. Altasea is conducting student surveys before and after workshops to define success measures, and is developing a tracking system to keep students involved with our network. Our best success measure will be years in the making, as we educate and inspire students to become champions for a sustainable ocean and planet, to take more STEM classes, and to pursue careers that can help sustain our oceans and indeed, our planet.
Lost Angels Children's Project (LACP) youth development and training organization that provides at-risk and foster youth with career-related skills training through classic car restoration and customization. LACP provides a safe space for youth in the Lancaster area aged 13-19 to work on automobiles and channel their creativity to make unique works of art using the tools and skills learned in the workshops. Through the program, students are taught how to safely and properly use tools, equipment and machinery necessary for working on automobiles in an environment that provides them with important life skills and a healthy meal after school. LACP's strength is that the program is built on promoting critical thinking and offering a positive outlet for self-expression.
Receiving the My LA2050 Grants Challenge grant to make LA the best place to LEARN has made a tremendous impact on LACP.
Right now, LACP students and staff are working hard to complete the 2017 automobile build — a 1958 Chevrolet Apache Pick Up — in time for the September 2nd Ventura Nationals. The main event of the year, this Labor Day Weekend, LACP will present and raffle off the completed customized truck. Tickets are on sale NOW and proceeds from the raffle will be used to implement Lost Angels Children's Project programming for another year.
The LA Weekly recently published an article that caught our eye, listing 20 ways to fix Los Angeles, ranging from address affordable housing to reforming the pension system. What we loved the most while reading the article is that many of our favorite organizations have been on the forefront of these issues in LA. Via the My LA2050 Grants Challenge, we've seen great ideas dedicated to implementing the solutions that will shape LA's future:
Number 6: Build pods for the homeless
In addition to supporting projects like Homes for Homes which was mentioned in the article, organizations across the region are seeking ways to think outside of the box to address homeless.
PodShare proposed a pilot program for transitional housing for homeless youth at their co-living community in addition to hospitality training to create pathways to employment.
Number 11: Cap our freeways with parks
Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP) seeks to build a 38-acre Hollywood Central Park by decking one mile of US 101 (creating a tunnel for freeway traffic) to promote active lifestyles and improve health.
Number 14: Legalize Street Vending
Past My LA2050 grantees, East LA Community Corporation and Leadership for Urban Renewal Network have brought together a expansive coalition of organizations working to ensure that street vending is decriminalized, legalized, and allows LA's entrepreneurs to safely operate their businesses.
Our friends at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation (RPDFF) just announced additional grant funding to NINE organizations that submitted to the 2016 My LA2050 Grants Challenge. We are so thrilled for these organizations, and grateful to RPDFF for partnering with LA2050 to support solutions for the future of LA. Check out the winners below!
Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network will provide multi-disciplinary arts in youth detention camps/halls and Juvenile Day Reporting Centers across LA County.
California Partnership will increase civic engagement through community education, outreach, and relationships.
Children Now will bring together thousands of voices in LA County to promote a comprehensive policy agenda to reduce childhood trauma.
Children's Action Network will expand their successful digital campaigns that use micro-targeted digital messages and videos to potential foster parents and mentors.
Neighborhood Housing Services of LA County will create the first of several Centers for Sustainable Communities in Compton.
Investing in Place will spark a series of discussions and online videos around our transportation system.
LA Food Policy Council will catalyze over hundreds of organizations and stakeholders to create a NEW Good Food For All Agenda – a visionary policy platform for health and resiliency in our local food system.
National Foster Youth Institute will recruit and train foster youth and family members to advocate with policymakers for new approaches to transform the child welfare system.
ICON CDC will provide entrepreneur training and internships for low-income and minority youth.
Great news! Thanks to some pretty awesome technology, LA's tap water is just as healthy as bottled or filtered water.
So, that's where you come in. We can help our local environment (and save some $$) by skipping those plastic bottled waters and opting to fill up on that good stuff flowing from straight from the tap.
Check out reusable bottle from LA brands and nonprofits to help you get more enviro-friendly!
Swell Destination Collection: Los Angeles | Think the West Coast is the best coast? Show your pride with this LA bottle.
Sisters of Los Angeles Water Bottle | Do not get caught in traffic without one of SoLA's Freeway Water Bottles! Whether stuck on the 101, the 10, the 5 or the 405 you will stay hydrated with your 16oz stainless steel bottle around. Each Freeway is available in white or stainless.
Trust for Public Land Water Bottle | Stay hydrated on the trail with this handsome water bottle, printed with the message “Land for people."
Derby Dolls Water Bottle | The LA Derby Dolls is Los Angeles' premier all-female, banked track roller derby league.
The LA Times launched their first ever food bowl--a month-long series featuring chefs and leaders in the food justice world. The series is focused on driving conversations about sustainability, food waste, and hunger. Many of our favorite organizations are hosting events, and you don't want to miss them. Check out our picks below:
Various dates | SNAP Budget Friendly Food Demonstration
Select farmers markets will host chefs throughout the month of May to demonstrate recipes from Cheap and Good: Eat Well on $4/Day, using seasonal farmers' market ingredients. The book is based on the limiting SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) budget of $4 per person per day.
May 3, 10, 17, 24, & 31, 5pm-9pm | The Immigrant Dinners
To honor the rich contribution immigrants make to the L.A. culinary scene, every Wednesday night in May, Momed presents a special menu of food from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan paired with cocktails created by bar director Robin Chopra. A portion of the proceeds will benefit immigration and refugee charities.
May 7, 12pm-4pm | Downtown Food Bike Tour presented by CicLAvia
Join CicLAvia on a food-filled bike tour of the downtown area. While traveling along previous CicLAvia routes, you'll stop at some of L.A.'s best food destinations.
May 10-12, 8am-9pm | S3 : Safe, Secure, Sustainable
This wonderful event explores, through panel discussions and innovative field trips, solutions to achieving a safe, secure and sustainable food system.
May 13, 1:30pm-3:30pm | The Intersection of Hunger and Food Waste
Conversation will feature a discussion about the state of food waste and food insecurity, as well as innovative approaches to utilize surplus food to reduce hunger, leveraging logistics, technology and other approaches.
L.A. has the largest population of food-insecure families in the nation. At Harvest for the Hungry, local nonprofit Food Forward invites you to take change into your own hands: pick some fruit. Join Food Forward and hundreds of volunteers to harvest the gorgeous, historic citrus groves at the San Fernando Valley's own Orcutt Ranch.
The Ron Finley Project will open its garden gates for an exclusive one-day pop-up taco bar hosted by the “Gangsta Gardener" Ron Finley.
May 25, 6:30pm-9:30pm | The Fight for Fair Food
How food comes to us is often fraught with troubling injustices ranging from unsafe conditions for workers to unequal access to healthy foods by zip code. The Los Angeles Food Policy Council presents a panel discussion exploring how to make food fair.