SEI Update

February, 2023

LACCD Sustainable Environment Institute
SEI-LACCD seminar on fossil fuel divestment. large banks and pension funds

Finance and Fossil Fuels: a Panel- banking defunding and divestment from carbon burning Feb 23rd 11:30 am-1:00 pm

This lively panel will give the LACCD community the opportunity to gain a more clear understanding of the money behind fossil fuels, the implications and our options for impact. Please join George Leddy as moderator, along with our panel guests.

A new legislative effort is underway to divest California’s giant pension funds from fossil fuels. And given that the committee chairman who blocked passage last year has retired to become a sheriff, it has a real chance of passing! As Fossil Free California put it: If passed, this critical bill would protect the retirement savings of California’s teachers, firefighters, and state workers from being used to finance oil, gas, and coal — the very drivers of the climate chaos upending Californians’ lives. It’s well past time to divest California’s public pension funds. 

March 21st, a national day of action (click here) is an opportunity to let banks know that it is time to defund their investments in fossil fuels. and Third Act are organizing events around the country. You can find events here  “Together we demand banks stop funding climate chaos”.
Wangari Maathai

Black History Month and the environmental crisis

The ongoing contributions of Black leaders and artists to the broadening and deepening of the environmental movement should be highlighted this month in our classes and lectures. Our students should know who Robert Bullard is as well as Wangari Maathai (pictured here) and George Washington Carver. Bullard’s work opened his readers to the statistical reality that the most dangerous polluted sites in the US, identified by Superfund maps, could be overlaid on Census maps that showed that, even more than the variable of social class, race played the determining role in proximity to these sites.

Author and commentator, Van Jones, identified three waves of environmentalism in the US. The first was wilderness protection. The second was brought by Rachel Carson when environmental thought “grew up” and applied science to the understanding of environmental problems mostly brought on by pollutants. This brought us the era of environmental laws and their regulatory impacts. The third, according to Van Jones, begins with the emergence of the environmental justice movement (EJ) and the re-focusing of political efforts to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change and pollution on communities of color. LAUSD teachers are already compiling resources on climate justice and EJ.

The birthplace of EJ was in Afton, North Carolina, when local people led by church pastors, mobilized to oppose the siting of a toxic waste dump. “Many veterans of the civil rights movement—often affiliated with black churches—showed up in Afton, helping to attract national media attention. Among them were Reverend Ben Chavis and Reverend Joseph Lowery, then of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Reverend Leon White of the United Church of Christ's Commission for Racial Justice.”

Students in some environmental science classes also learn about Tyrone Hayes’ work on agro-chemical poisons and their ecological impacts. The well known astro-physicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson produces YouTube videos to educate the broader public on climate science. A very good primer on Black History Month and environmental justice is available online from 
College 101 update

The LAUSD will require all 11th graders to take College 101. College 101 was created by Valley College as a way to assist students transitioning into college. We estimate that there will be 500 sections added - to be spread between all nine colleges. SEI has requested, and in course developers and instructors, have agreed to include climate literacy in the current classes and in the COR 

The LAUSD Climate Curriculum Committee has also approached the UTLA for support in the request for implementation of climate literacy in K-12. Lucy Garcia tells us that “This week, there appear to be opportunities to create a path for teachers to deepen their understanding of climate and get better at teaching it.” 

We at SEI are very excited that we can reach so many students with this vital knowledge, and that we can assist LAUSD and the Climate Literacy Committee of the Climate Reality Project, to meet their goals of embedding climate literacy into all k-12 classrooms, across all age groups.

Gold Creek Ecological Reserve
Critter Cam and News
Gold Creek Striped Skunk
Gold Creek Striped Skunk
February 2023
Gold Creek Bear cub
Bear cub exploring the area in January of 2023
Gold Creek is scheduling their annual work day and open house, tentatively scheduled for the last Saturday in April or the first Saturday in May. Work days are likely to take place in March or April.

Awardees of the Gold Creek learning activities stipend will be announced soon.

District Discipline Day, March 17

District Discipline Day, March 17th SEI will be holding a seminar on embedding climate literacy into curriculum on Discipline Day. If you would like support figuring out ways to do this in your classroom please join us. Watch for the discipline day schedule.

Our Community of Practice will be starting up this spring, the discipline day seminar will be a great warm up.
Organizations We follow:
Climate Reality Project
The Climate Curricula Committee is a group of teachers, educators, students, and community members dedicated to helping solve the climate crisis and educating the public based on proven science.
3rd act
If you have been following Bill McKibben's organization, you may be award of Third Act. This is an off shoot organization for folks over 60 years old and may have less to risk in terms of jobs-education and finances then younger activists might.
350’s work is building a future that's just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of the climate crisis. “A lot of the low-hanging fruit of climate action has happened. So we’re left with big actions that require people working together. We’re at the messy implementation phase. We need to develop some comfort with that.” -May Boeve
fossil free CA
Fossil Free California works with many environmental, climate justice, and social justice groups in California and around the country. They are an important resource for the campaign for CalStrs divestment from fossil fuels
UC seal
"The project goal is to create one million climate warriors by inspiring course participants to make simple but high-impact green choices in their everyday lives, and to share these actions with their communities."

Feb 23: 11:30am-1pm, via zoom. Finance and Fossil Fuels: banking, defunding and divestment from carbon burning— a Panel Discussion with the SEI.
Feb 25: 8:30am-12noon : California Native Plant Society - LA Works: Tree Planting Event with the National Park Service
Feb 25: 10:00 am - 12:30 pm AltaSea Open House Featuring California Fish & Wildlife
Feb 25: 8am-11am: FOLAR, Habitat Restoration in the Sepulveda Basin. 6100 Woodley Ave 6100 Woodley Avenue Los Angeles, CA 91406
Feb 26: 9am-3pm: CicLAvia: (rain or shine!), we're opening up Sherman Way connecting Canoga Park, Winnetka, and Reseda for a 5-mile stretch of open streets.
March 4: 9am-5pm: Santa Monica Mountains Wildfire Preparedness Training, free, in person, Chatsworth
from the editors…

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