When the panel for Friday July 18, 2019 came together to discuss the Green New Deal, the focus was local. Held at the Helms Bakery District, the Westside Urban Forum took it’s monthly breakfast meeting, populated with developers, architects and design professionals, and opened a conversation about how to continue reshaping the southland to meet climate change challenges, and meet (or even beat) the goal for greenhouse gases and carbon neutrality.
Chaired by David Abel of the VerdeXchange Institute, the panel consisted of three women; Lauren Faber, the Chief Sustainability Officer of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, Evelyn Blumenberg, the Director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and Professor of Urban Planing at UCLA, and Susan Reyes, whose affiliations included the National Board of Directors of the Sierra Club, and the Executive Board of the LA Department of Water and Power.
Abel is also the leader of of ABL Incorporated Publishers, which produces both The Planning Report and the Metro Investment Report.
As the panel engaged with Garcetti’s Green New Deal, the representative of the mayor’s office. Faber, found herself leading the lion’s share of the conversation. Tasked with implementing the policies and positions to ‘green’ Los Angeles, she focused on the role of the economy in supporting the environment. With the Deal keyed into the Paris Climate Agreement, Faber emphasized the need to get Angelenos employed in the green economy, and using the tools available for policy shift to connect the impact of climate change with the benefits of clean energy and sustainability.
Blumenberg’s focus on transportation, the center of her recent research, showed how much our current policies are not improving lives or mobility issues. and said that the crucial point was “not coming at these things piecemeal.” The connection between transportation policy and equity tied in tightly with green reforms.
Reyes, as the Director of Low Income Customer Access at the DWP, held that equity was the center of all strategies to make the city greener. “The Green New Deal is not new…these are problems we have been trying to resolve for a very long time.”
Everyone on the panel agreed that time was the single most important resource in turning the Los Angeles area into a greener metropolis.