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.

Our streets are their future

Early in the fall semester of every year, we take a day to Blitz – to think wrong about how to meet the Southland’s biggest sustainability challenges. 

This year’s Pando Days Blitz had over 70 students and instructors sign up to focus on a single challenge statement, crafted in collaboration with the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro): 

How might Metro’s 12,108 bus stops become something more than hubs to hail a ride — but portals to a sustainable region? 

Because young Angelenos know that our streets are their future.

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Magenta House goes to school

We are delighted to announce that Magenta House has become an official project of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for the 2023/24 school year. The program is supported by LAUSD and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Classes are enrolling now for launch in the first quarter of the new year.

“Pando’s Magenta House program is an exciting expansion of LAUSD’s education and awareness offerings,” says Will Meade, LAUSD Senior Sustainability Specialist. “It creates an opportunity to meet a crucial need for the youth of LA to become changemakers and leaders in the pursuit of a more sustainable region.”

Magenta House is a middle-school program that challenges students to invent water and power conservation and efficiency projects for implementation at home, school, and community. Projects are judged in a competition, with winning submissions honored at the Pando Sustainability Awards in April of ‘24 at Caltech.

Want to volunteer your time to help guide the next generation of changemakers? We're looking for mentors to advise student teams on Magenta House project R&D. Let us hear from you if you're interested: [email protected].

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Camp Pando: for the radically committed

We’re scaling the Pando Days model to a new audience – beyond collegiate campuses, to meet the needs of 18-24 year-old young people who are not enrolled in school and don’t have jobs but want to make a difference for equity and sustainability in the communities where they live. 

It’s called Camp Pando and is a program in partnership with Homeboy Industries and Learning Works Charter School. 

Camp Pando applies our tried-and-true Pando Days model to a new demographic of informal learners. It is a project-centered, creative boot camp for a cohort of 8-10 young people led by our own team of project innovation specialists.

Attendees are taught project creation and development skills from people who have spent their lives designing change.  And they walk away with project-based, creative skills development, an extraordinary network of opportunity, and a skills-based foundation for individual and community empowerment.

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Strong sustainability

Regional sustainability planner Mark VanderSchaaf talks about the differences between "strong" and "weak" sustainability. Mark is author of the important new book, “Sustainability Planning in Metropolitan Los Angeles” (CSO Taskforce, 2023).

We’re all familiar with the concept of sustainability. But did you know that there’s a debate regarding whether sustainability strategies should be “weak” or “strong”?

The easiest way to grasp the difference between “weak sustainability” and “strong sustainability” is by comparing two different diagrams illustrating each position. 

Both make use of the common observation that sustainability needs to include three dimensions: environmental, social, and economic. But the way in which they imagine the relationships among those dimensions differs. 

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