In an effort to demonstrate holistic leadership, UCLA’s new sustainability plan contains a series of initiatives that bridge faculty scholarship and research, campus operations and community engagement. The new plan highlights the intersections of planetary and human health, and begins the work to ensure that equity, diversity, inclusion and justice are integrated into campus sustainability policies and programs.
“There has never been a more crucial time for the university to align its resources and sustainability objectives into one guiding document,” said Nurit Katz, UCLA’s chief sustainability officer. “Climate change and its impact on underserved and vulnerable communities is a critical global issue, and with this plan, we hope to start making significant strides towards lasting change.”
The plans, which includes input and feedback from more than 1,000 community members, includes specific initiatives related to sustainable transportation, climate, food systems, water, and moving campus to zero waste, among others. In consultation with Mishuana Goeman, special advisor to the chancellor on Native American and Indigenous affairs, UCLA will work with members of the Tongva community to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge into its efforts.
“We need to create a culture of reciprocity with life on Earth,” Katz said.
Climate change and the loss of biodiversity continue to be critical issues that threaten the health and well-being of people and the environment. Additionally, the impacts of these crises are often more significant for our most vulnerable communities, emphasizing the importance of preparedness and finding equitable solutions to protect the larger UCLA community and the world.
The campus’s sustainability efforts date back to the 1980s and 90s with efforts to make transportation and energy consumption more efficient and the formation of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Efforts didn’t stop there; in 2004, the campus created its sustainability committee, and in 2013, UCLA launched the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge.
“This sustainability plan brings together the longstanding efforts that continue to be made across campus and within the community, and charts a new ambitious path forward,” said Bonnie Bentzin, deputy chief sustainability officer. “We invite all Bruins to read this strategic document as we will need the involvement of our entire community to drive these efforts and build on the university’s progress.”