On Thursday morning, business and environmental leaders and experts from around the country gathered at USC’s University Park campus to discuss how education, business practices, and policies will shape the future of Los Angeles.
After two years of being held virtually, the Los Angeles Business Council Sustainability Summit was held in the university’s Town and Gown Ballroom. The 16th annual event covered topics such as the city’s clean energy future, carbon-free power, water resources, drought rejuvenation of buildings and enabling a new all-electric transportation sector.
USC Dean Carol L. Forte says creating a greener and more sustainable Los Angeles for all residents is a great goal, but it requires people of all backgrounds to be at the table. said. Her own thinking as a biologist has shifted from her idea of sustainability as a way to preserve the beauty of the natural world to seeing it as a means to create greater equity in society.
“Some of the short-term solutions for sustainability and some perspective solutions may seem to exclude people,” Fort said. “One of our greatest jobs is to help people learn across their differences and solve these thorny problems without having to quickly divide their attention.”
USC Experts Participate in Sustainability Summit
Also representing the university throughout the summit, Alan Arkatov, Founding Director of the Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education at the USC Rossier School of Education, moderated the conversation on “edible education.” USC Chief His Sustainability Officer Mick Dalrymple joined his discussion on a panel on carbon-free power in buildings.
Dalrymple highlighted USC’s Challenge: The Earth Project. This is an action-oriented plan that guides the university’s commitment to sustainability and climate action from now until the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
“We are one of many leading institutions in LA and our community, so we have a responsibility to lead and set an example,” he said.
The city’s leadership was well represented with a panel featuring Fort, UCLA President Gene Block, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss clean technology and the future of LA’s workforce. The exchange was moderated by Manuel Pastor, his USC Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity, and began by addressing inflation-reducing legislation. The pastor called the bill, signed into law by President Joe Biden last month, “the most important piece of federal law on environmental justice,” and emphasized how it benefits disadvantaged communities.
“I’ve been saying all along, how do we ensure that equity is embedded instead of scattered?” the pastor said.
From there, discussions led to a collaboration among USC, UCLA, and LA’s other four-year colleges and community colleges to train the next generation of the workforce. Folt noted that having two major research universities in a forward-thinking city makes for a perfect match.
“The city is home to two of America’s largest research universities, both of which have committed to being climate neutral by 2025,” says Folt. “It’s a really big thing. It’s about California, it’s about this region, and it’s about helping the city lead it. So be really proud of that.” .”
Folt also spoke about USC’s sustainability efforts to date and the university’s future goals, including carbon neutrality, increased access to electric vehicles, and offering more courses on sustainability in a variety of areas. also explained.
“We have 22 different vocational schools and we believe that sustainability needs to be deeply embedded in all of our schools, whether in business or arts,” says Folt.
Sustainability Summit: Los Angeles 2035
One of the last questions posed to Fort asked what Garcetti and Bullock saw when they envisioned 2035 Los Angeles. Fort quoted world-famous primatologist Jane Goodall. “The real danger to the future is indifference.”
“I think there will be no apathy by 2035,” Fort said. “We want to wake up to a place where a student’s future is not limited based on where they grew up or how much it costs to get there. We train people and provide access to education at all levels. Leading the way to: a liveable life with great respect.”
Other stories: Carol L. Fort, Faculty, Sustainability