Representatives from key L.A. County organizations hash out critical aspects of water, energy, climate, and transportation that “Our County” Plan must address if Los Angeles is to become a national leader in advancing sustainability.

Heat rising up from the baking pavement outside of downtown Los Angeles’ La Kretz Innovation Campus served as a reminder of the urgency for the gathering of local government and industry representatives at the Energy and Climate Workshop for the “Our County” sustainability plan on July 31st. The workshop was just one of eleven in summer and fall of 2018 hosted by the County Chief Sustainability Office bringing together key stakeholders to discuss key aspects of the ambitious “Our County” plan, which seeks to outline a bold, inclusive vision for the future that balances the environment, equity, and economy. These intensive workshops brought together between 50 and 80 diverse stakeholders representing dozens of organizations to discuss the goals of the plan and gather feedback to inform the first draft of “Our County.” To maximize participation, workshops were separated into those for nonprofit groups and academia and those that brought together both public and private entities to discuss “Our County.”

In the workshops, breakout sessions provided attendees an opportunity to express their priorities, concerns, and innovative ideas through hands on activities and brainstorming. Several key themes emerged during the summer nonprofit and private industry/public agency workshops surrounding water resources. For example, these diverse groups all agreed that there is a need for improved governance structure and accountability in water management. They also noted the need for enhanced water literacy amongst residents through strategic education initiatives and the prioritization of projects that eliminate disparate water impacts on disadvantaged communities. Likewise, on the topic of energy and climate, stakeholders across the board advocated for strengthened energy policy decision-making and governance for better accountability, transparency, and community involvement. Attendees also stressed the need to create a “Just Transition” plan to help the equitable development and growth of LA’s emerging green economy.

Workshops with nonprofits, the public sector, and private sector also covered transportation and land use, landscapes and ecosystems, waste and resource management, equity and resilience, and public health and air quality. Input received during these workshops will serve as the foundation for the draft “Our County” plan, which will be presented to the public during several Sustainability Summit events in early 2019 for further stakeholder engagement and feedback before finalizing the plan in Summer 2019. If you are interested learning more about the sustainability plan, please visit the project website. For updates on the public Sustainability Summits and the County Chief Sustainability Office, join our mailing list.

Emily Marino, Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office