SEI Update

December, 2022

LACCD Sustainable Environment Institute
COP27 IPCC logo
Major international conferences on climate and biodiversity are not delivering

COP27 IPCC Climate Conference.
Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
COP19 CITES Panama
COP15 UN Biodiversity Montreal

The weakness of international environmental summits has been made more apparent in the last two years. The failure of COP26 (climate) in Glasgow 2021 highlighted the gap between the urgency voiced by activists and the complacency of the various delegations, particularly those from rich countries. COP27 at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, was also a disappointment and also saw the increased role of corporate lobbyists at the conference. As the Washington Post noted,“Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg and other ultra-wealthy businessmen are steering the energy transition toward their worldview and pet technologies.” However the conference did establish a “loss and damage fund” to address the needs of developing countries most affected by the climate crisis but minimally responsible for the GHG emissions.  

Now, two important conferences on biodiversity and extinction (COP19 in Panama and COP-15 in Montreal) have received scant coverage but have highlighted two important issues and goals. In Panama, the conference on endangered species pointed out that most of the regions with the most biodiversity (80%) are also regions that are primarily lands of indigenous people (3% of the people on earth). In Montreal the conference has focused on mass extinction and is working on a plan to leave 30% of the earth for wilderness. The US is still a hold-out on the Convention on Biological Diversity, given conservative opposition in Congress.  

This points to the need for more local efforts that do not depend on government appointed delegations to international conferences. Extinction Rebellion, now a global youth movement, has taken to direct action protests on a large scale. Efforts at “rewilding” in Europe are expanding, and Scotland might lead the way. And France has re-forested the country, with a 31% forest cover nationally, mostly on private land. Globally an area the size of France has been reforested. California’s 30x30 program has so far 24% of land and 16% of coastal waters protected. 
International trade in endangered species has to be brought to an end, but local species decline must also be addressed. Here in Los Angeles the Bureau of Sanitation Biodiversity Team has a recent report on the efforts to protect key habitats in LA. Corridors for wildlife are being designed and built.
SEI Plans for Spring

We are looking forward to an action-packed Spring.

SEI's monthly Thursday seminars will continue. Our first on February 23rd will be a lively discussion on CalSTRS and divestment from fossil fuels.

The March Seminar is scheduled for March 23rd with the topic yet to be determined

In honor of Earth Day, the expanded April 28th seminar will be comprised of panels, talks, and hands-on-opportunities. Times and topics to be determined. In addition, SEI plans to make the whole month of April "Earth Month," with a film festival and student-centered activities.

Spring is also when we will be introducing the Environmental Justice Community of Practice (CoP). We are working with 3CSN to build the framework for that now.  This CoP is for faculty desirous of support in integrating climate literacy into curriculum.
Climate Anxiety and Mental Health Resources

The Fall seminar on Climate Anxiety and Mental Health included suggestions for resources. Here is a link to the resource page that SEI developed for the event. Here are additional resources provided by participants:

Gold Creek Ecological Reserve Critter Cam and News
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Gold Creek Mountain Lion
November 2022
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Gray fox with prey, Red Trail, LACCD Gold Creek FIeld Station. 2019
grey fox eating dinner
Gold Creek Ecological Reserve is a LACCD-owned, 240-acre parcel of chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and riparian oak woodlands located in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains.

The reserve is experiencing a good deal of erosion lately due to the mix of rain and wildfire. The Gold Creek Committee would welcome expertise on erosion control. Please email Robert West at

The committee is currently planning for their spring open house and workday at the reserve. Stay tuned.

Proposals for Gold Creek learning activities were due Dec 2nd. They are reviewing applications now, and will announce awardees soon.
Opportunities to integrate into curriculum

The SEI is participating in this year's Pando Days promotion of sustainable practices in LA County.  (Pando Populus is a non-profit producer of educational programs.) Pando Days began in 2019 with the aim of focusing Southland colleges and universities on the challenge of creating a more resilient region, as articulated by the OurCounty plan for Los Angeles County.

There are 15 submitted projects this year from higher education institutions, ranging from community colleges to the UC's and CSU's. Pando Days "empowers teachers and students to use their intellectual and creative assets to build the future they want to inhabit, and gives them tools to do it. It grounds civil discourse in civic engagement."  

LATTC Architecture Professor Marcela Oliva is in this year’s running as well. She was just awarded “educator of the year” by the AIA. Her students presented their designs for a Watts Towers Nature Walk in preparation for the Olympics.
LAUSD Climate Curriculum advances

Thanks to the Climate Curriculum Committee and Climate Reality Project, the LAUSD climate curriculum efforts are advancing. 

The LAUSD Climate Literacy Instructional Committee met December 8 to continue the implementation of a climate curriculum on each campus. Each campus will have a “climate champion” trained to lead instructional innovation across the disciplines from STEM to social sciences, arts and humanities. This latter objective has been spearheaded by the LAUSD Climate Curriculum Committee headed by Lucy Garcia (who we had in a recent SEI seminar).  

The professional development efforts at the LAUSD will go beyond the narrow definitions of sustainability reduced to facilities and urban gardens. The Climate Curriculum Committee (not an official part of the LAUSD) received accolades from Al Gore last month.

Dec 17, 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM PST: Habitat Restoration Day. Join us for a morning of habitat restoration at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve 6100 Woodley Ave Los Angeles, CA 91406

Dec 17, 9am-12noon: Join TPF, Audubon California, CA State Parks, Test Plot and Los Angeles River State Park Partners for a day of hands-on, community-driven restoration at Rio de Los Angeles State Park!

Dec 17: The last event of the year is the Saltwater and Dunes Tour, sponsored by Friends of Ballona Creek.

Jan 6: The deadline to apply for the SFP-Program Director of the California Center for Climate Change Education At West Los Angeles College.

Jan 15: 11am-4pm Tarzana Native Plant and Book Sale. Free admission. All age workshops.

See also the Los Angeles Sierra Club Outdoor Opportunities Calendar.
from the editors…

2022 has been an impactful year for SEI. With the addition of two more members to our team, we were able to amplify our already amazing resources, develop new opportunities, and plan more ambitiously. Thank you for participating with us.

2023 will be even more robust. See above for upcoming plans for Spring.

As always we welcome submissions and feedback from LACCD faculty who might have a short text or commentary to share on any aspect of the environment from the global to the local to your own campus. Email the SEI staff with your proposed article or news brief, or calendar event. Contact