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.

Betty Yee delivers keynote at The 2024 Pando Sustainability Awards. She focused at the intersection of young people, civic engagement around sustainability, and hope. Photo credit: Cyndi Bemel.

“This is the Power of Pando:” Betty Yee keynotes The 2024 Pando Sustainability Awards

We were deeply honored to have Betty Yee, former Controller for the State of California and currently the Female Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party, as keynote speaker for The Pando Sustainability Awards held at the Caltech campus in Pasadena on April 14. Hundreds turned out for the event.

Yee is no stranger to navigating the intersection between policy and pragmatism. She urged the gathered students and faculty to “Build the future you want to inhabit.”

“As these projects that we’re hearing about come to scale, as we see how broad our reach can be with these initiatives that our young people are putting together, there’s nothing that can stop us. 

“This really is the brilliance of Pando. It’s in the young developing minds taking by storm so many of the challenges that they are seeing and living every day. 

“But it is also in the fact that we have so many institutions and supports that all are declaring together that we can and will build a better and brighter Los Angeles. And the power of that vision, where everyone can see themselves in it thriving, is really the power of Pando.”

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Some 400 registrants from throughout the Southland were welcomed to the Caltech campus on April 14 to celebrate ingenious projects young people have innovated for a sustainable future. Photograph credit: Cyndi Bemel.

The Pando Sustainability Awards 2024: Recap and winners

The excitement was palpable at The Pando Sustainability Awards, held on April 14 on the Caltech campus. 

For the first time in the Awards history, real-world sustainability projects developed both by the Pando Days program for higher ed and Magenta House program for middle schools were honored, while a wholly new program, Camp Pando, was introduced that aims to foster the work of non-traditional learners. The event also marked the official beginning of the Pando Days ’24 season.

Sixteen Pando Days projects from the 2023 season were in the mix this year aimed at implementing regional sustainability goals, created by 12 participating colleges and universities. The lounge and gardens at Dabney Hall brimmed with students, professors and project advisors eager to connect with leaders of Los Angeles County’s sustainability community with the aim of moving projects forward in local communities. 

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Artwork copyright © Tucker Nichols

Flowers for all

When The Pando Awards exploded upon Los Angeles with all the energy and enthusiasm of a fireworks bonanza, outstanding folks received their awards with flower paintings created by artist Tucker Nichols.

Well, these are no ordinary flowers, and Tucker is no ordinary artist.

This is what he said:

I make lots of flower paintings because flowers speak a secret language nobody really knows how to speak. They’re amplifiers of occasions. And of course they’re a terrible form of communication but at the same time, they’re absolutely perfect.

Flowers are the opposite of words. They’re not logical, giving flowers has to do with exploring big feelings and celebrations and things that are hard to put into words. 

They fill in the blanks where words fail.

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Cover of Mark VanderSchaaf's updated and expanded book, Sustainability Planning in Metropolitan Los Angeles: Products and Processes. Click here to obtain a free copy.

New study analyzes sustainability planning in metropolitan Los Angeles

April 14, the date of The Pando Sustainability Awards, served a dual purpose by marking the official publication date of the CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) Taskforce publication, Sustainability Planning in Metropolitan Los Angeles: Products and Processes.

A free resource provided as a public service, the book is written by noted regional planner Mark VanderSchaaf who has written on many regional planning topics such as One Water and Priority Development Areas in Los Angeles. The book is the first to identify and analyze the wide variety of contemporary sustainability plans affecting the L.A. region and is a treasure for all who are interested in better understanding the region’s sustainability work.

Published in collaboration with the Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division of the American Planning Association, Sustainability Planning in Metropolitan Los Angeles fills a void felt by many who work on sustainability issues throughout the nation’s second largest metropolitan area.

Different agencies with different functional and geographic responsibilities address different aspects of sustainability – for example, carbon footprint, biodiversity, water availability, transportation technologies, and housing affordability. With this new resource it’s possible to gain a thorough overview of how all of those aspects may be drawn upon to craft a holistic strategy to deal with the great sustainability challenges of our time.

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Artwork copyright © Tucker Nichols 

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