Rootball is the newsletter of Pando Populus.

Pando unites the people who care most about the future of Los Angeles. Focuses them on the right things. And motivates them. With passion. To implement LA County’s sustainability plan.

You are enthusiastically invited to reserve your seats for the Pando Days ’22 Awards.

It’s the sustainability event of the year, where we’ll gather to recognize accomplishments and kick off the upcoming Pando Days season.

When: Sunday, April 16, 2:00 p.m.  

Where: Dabney Hall Lounge and Gardens, Caltech, Pasadena

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“Surf and Snow – Venice Beach” by Wade McMillan. Copyright.

Vision vs. Execution: A reality check-in on climate action with the acting LA County Chief Sustainability Officer

As we celebrate the completion of the 3rd season of Pando Days, we asked Andy Shrader, former Director of Environmental Affairs for LA City Councilmember-Emeritus Paul Koretz, to connect with Rita Kampalath, LA County’s Acting Chief Sustainability Officer, and talk about what it means to implement the most ambitious regional sustainability plan in the country. 

ANDY SHRADER: The LA County Sustainability Plan, OurCounty, is almost four years old now. How is implementation going? Any recent big victories to highlight?

RITA KAMPALATH: It’s hard to believe that it’s already been nearly four years. Though sometimes, with everything that the world has been through since then – the pandemic, the racial justice protests – it seems like it’s been much longer than that! 

When we were writing the plan though, from the start, we wanted to make sure that it didn’t just sit on a shelf, so we really tried to build in a structure that would keep it alive and support implementation. I know there’s a lot more we have ahead of us, but given all the challenges, I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish to date. 

For instance, since the adoption of the plan, we’ve adopted an ordinance banning single use plastics at restaurants, a zero waste policy and a water conservation policy for County facilities, and released a Just Transition Strategy to support an equitable phase out of oil drilling in the County. We’ve also kicked off development of an Urban Forest Management Plan for the County, and are getting ready to launch our Youth Climate Commission.

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Sustainability Planning in Metropolitan Los Angeles, an interview with Mark VanderSchaaf on his new book

We sat down with urban planner Mark VanderSchaaf to discuss his upcoming book, “Sustainability Planning in Metropolitan Los Angeles: An Overview.” It’s an astounding achievement, assessing thirteen Southland sustainability plans, and providing an overview for specialists and lay readers alike. The book is published in collaboration with the CSO Taskforce and the American Planning Association and is scheduled to be released at the Pando Days ‘22 Awards event at Caltech on April 16th.

PANDO: First off, congratulations on a groundbreaking book that brings together for the first time the various sustainability plans – thirteen in total! – in the California Southland. It is a remarkable achievement. 

MARK VANDERSCHAAF: Thank you. Sustainability planning in the California Southland is a fascinating topic.

The California context is especially vital when one considers how Metropolitan Los Angeles compares to the two other largest metropolises of the United States – New York and Chicago. Both of those metropolitan areas include multiple states – New Jersey and Connecticut along with New York state in the case of New York City, and Indiana along with Illinois in the case of Chicago. This gives L.A. a big advantage accruing from a single state policy framework within which to operate.

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