April 2021 News + Updates
Dear UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge supporters,

Just about a year ago our lives changed dramatically as we came to grips with impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it would change and impact our day-to-day lives. A few short months later, the need for racial justice in this country could no longer be ignored and we, along with so many of you said it was not enough to simply stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, so we vowed to take action.

The global pandemic has only magnified the social and environmental injustices in this country, and we aim to address some of these injustices with the introduction of our inaugural Sustainable LA Grand Challenge Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Fellows Program — now accepting applications!
We invite passionate, innovative and highly motivated UCLA graduate students to work with UCLA faculty mentors in partnership with our external partners to discover and co-develop sustainable interventions that focus on improving equity, diversity and inclusion in the Los Angeles region.

This year we are pleased to announce our partnerships with the newly formed City of L.A.’s Climate Emergency Mobilization Office, L.A. County Chief Sustainability Office and L.A. Metro – Chief Sustainability Office and Office of Equity & Race.
Project ideas may be as diverse as the disciplines from which they come, and we welcome ideas ranging from identifying and quantifying equity metrics, to policy analyses, technological interventions or an art piece focused on equity in urban sustainability — and everything in between.
Applications are due May 3. Please visit the Application Toolkit for more information.
When it comes to championing equity, diversity and inclusion, this is just the beginning of our efforts in partnership with both UCLA and community stakeholders.
And as always, thank you for your support!
Eric M. V. Hoek, Ph.D.
Director, UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge
Cassie Rauser, Ph.D.
Executive Director, UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge
Sustainable LA Grand Challenge Sandpit 2020
At the end of last year, several months of workshopping led to the first-ever Sustainable LA Grand Challenge Sandpit. The objective of the Sandpit 2020 was to promote cross-campus, interdisciplinary research designed to advance L.A. County’s sustainability goals with equity and community engagement woven throughout all projects.
More than 60 faculty members from 27 UCLA departments formed eight distinct teams to tackle the region’s most urgent urban sustainability challenges. The focus of these projects was guided by 28 regional stakeholders who served as mentors to the teams and jurors in the selection of the winner. Congratulations to the winning team, Heat Resilient L.A.!

Although only one project was awarded the grand prize, the Sandpit 2020 resulted in a portfolio of urban sustainability work that, when fully realized, will have an incredible impact in the L.A. region, and globally. The Sustainable LA Grand Challenge will continue to work with all eight teams to further expand and refine their ideas and secure funding to take these projects to the next level. Concurrently, we are already thinking about the next Sandpit and look forward to working with partners like you to make the next one bigger, better and even more impactful!
California Conservation Genomics Project Website
Two years ago the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge helped catalyze a statewide, UCLA-led California Conservation Genomics Project (CCGP). It launched its official website in March. This state-funded $12 million initiative focuses on identifying the most vulnerable plant and animal species to climate change based on their genetics and creating a body of research aimed at protecting California’s biodiversity. This work is a priority of the Governor’s California Biodiversity Collaborative. Key applications of the project’s results include supporting ecologically-wise decisions after wildfires, protecting California’s natural habitats through the early detection of invasive species and strategically siting renewable energy infrastructure to ensure we are also preserving the state’s unique biodiversity.
The website showcases the diversity of species being examined and ultimately serves as a resource for CCGP partners, state and federal agencies, as well as policymakers.
Research Spotlight
Using art and technology, project aims to increase bike commuting in L.A.

For many Los Angeles residents, the daily commute is frustrating. A project by three UCLA faculty members aims to change that — especially for those who ride to work on two wheels — by creating bicycle “flows” that produce real-time digital art exhibitions throughout the city. The Sustainable Grand Challenge team has had the pleasure of working with the Civic Bicycle Commuting (CiBiC) team as they progress through the National Science Foundation’s Civic Innovation Challenge for an opportunity to win $1 million in federal funding. Read more.
Events and Opportunities

UCLA Emmett Institute Spring 2021 Symposium: Environmental Justice in the United States
April 14, 16, 26 & 27

This series of panels hosted at UCLA School of Law will examine environmental justice advocacy in the U.S., taking a wide view of efforts at the national level to address disparate outcomes in environmental protection. Panelists will address the root causes of environmental inequity across a range of issue areas; assess nascent efforts under President Biden’s administration to advance environmental justice; and develop ideas for further progress using federal law. Read more.

Africa’s Readiness for Climate Change (ARCC) Forum 2021
April 19-23
This inaugural forum will expand an integrated vision of “Green Development” in Africa that is both ecologically and economically sustainable, emphasizing local solutions to climate change developed by African stakeholders in urban and rural communities. ARCC 2021 will assemble interdisciplinary panels of scholars, scientists, industry leaders, climate change innovators, youth activists, and policy-makers to discuss the most successful sustainable development projects. Read more.

Do we have the science we need to predict wildfire and its impacts in California?
Wednesday, April 21 | noon to 1 p.m.
Join this webinar hosted by the University of California Center Sacramento featuring UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences Alex Hall, along with UC Berkeley’s John Battles and Patrick Wright, Director of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Forest Management Task Force. Read more.

Luskin Center for Innovation Climate Adaptation Research Symposium: Call for Abstracts
Deadline: May 7 | Symposium: September 8

This virtual event will feature recent social science research on the impacts of climate change, particularly on vulnerable populations and communities. Abstracts are welcome from economics, geography, law, public health, sociology, urban planning and related disciplines. Research should measure the scale of climate impacts or focus on strategies to reduce these impacts. Read more.
Seen and Heard in the News
  • Sean Hecht (Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment in the School of Law) weighs in regarding the impact of a federal court ruling on the Dakota Access pipeline and how it could impact future projects in Bloomberg Law.

  • A Popular Science story examines what it means for auto emissions overall now that GM wants its cars to be fully electric by 2035 — a move that J.R. DeShazo (Luskin Center for Innovation in the Luskin School of Public Affairs) calls a “seismic event.”

  • Julia Stein (Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment in the School of Law) comments to Bloomberg Law the pitfalls of only catering to people who currently can afford electric vehicles.

  • A UCLA study led by Yifang Zhu (Fielding School of Public Health) that finds fossil fuel use in household appliances can adversely impact indoor air quality is cited in a Washington Post article regarding the tug-of-war between municipalities wanting homes to go fully electric and the gas industry objecting.
Highlights from Across UCLA
Ann Carlson to the NHTSA
The Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and faculty co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment, was appointed to serve as chief counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Local Demand and Energy Targets
Research by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation shows the growing impact of community choice aggregators, or CCAs, on energy procurement and illustrates the effects cleaner energy providers are having on the state’s power supply. Read more.
Drought Restriction Side Benefit
A new study by scientists from UCLA and three other universities found that reducing shallow pools of water where mosquitos lay their eggs is key to preventing the spread of the West Nile virus.
Air-Quality App Charts Pollution
Two papers by UCLA Anderson’s Magali Delmas and Aanchal Kohli of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment & Sustainability explore the potential of smartphone apps to inform and alter behavior around local air quality. Read more.
Peak Period Energy Conservation
The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation has developed new research identifying how effective certain incentives can be in motivating people to use less energy in their homes. The researchers found that promotional messages actually prove effective at motivating customers to use less energy.
Clearing Air Pollution by Buildings
When buildings are aligned in rows with no gaps between them, pedestrians are usually exposed to higher concentrations of vehicle-related, ultrafine particles that harm human health, according to a newly released study that was co-authored by UCLA air quality expert Suzanne Paulson.
About the UCLA Sustainable Grand Challenge
The UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge is a university-wide initiative aimed at applying UCLA research, expertise and education to help transform Los Angeles into the most sustainable megacity by 2050. Our vision is to create a cleaner, healthier, more livable, equitable and resilient Los Angeles of the future that can serve as a model for megacities across the globe. Make a gift to support cutting-edge sustainability research and to educate the next generation of sustainability leaders. Be a part of our movement to make a positive sustainable impact right here in Los Angeles. If we can do it in L.A., we can do it anywhere!