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Environmentally conscious government, business, and nonprofit leaders gathered online for a virtual summit to discuss pressing crucial topics including international climate policy, California’s strategy in the face of growing natural disasters, and regionalization of the energy grid. The 14th Annual Sustainability Summit was hosted virtually this year on September 21st - 22nd. Sponsored by the Los Angeles Business Council, the USC Price School of Public Policy, and the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, the Summit featured fireside chats and panels examining pivotal sustainability issues such as equity in climate goals, workforce education, clean and affordable water access, and the future in clean and renewable energy sources for urban development and transportation. Global and national leaders in policy and industry presented at the panel, including Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), assistant whip for House leadership, and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

  

The fireside chat on Day 2, Educating the Future Workforce to Create a Sustainable, Equitable Region, featured USC President Carol Folt, alongside Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Together, they discussed the interconnectivity of climate and how policy changes in one part of the world can greatly affect the air or water quality in other parts of the world. They expressed their desire for urgent environmental change and their hope in the future generation of students who, as Folt noted, are not patient and want big change NOW. This immediate call to action was echoed by Garcetti as he said, “We are being called to reach beyond our grasp. When we reach beyond our grasp, maybe, just maybe, we may [be able to] hold it, but even if we don’t, those who come after us will.  Now that it’s cheaper than ever.  [There are] no longer any excuses. There is momentum. This decade must be the decade of action.” The final panel of the summit, The Future of Clean Transportation, included METRANS Director Genevieve Giuliano along with other California transportation experts, like Secretary of the State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) David Kim, Mary Nichols from the California Air Resources Board and more, as they discussed current and upcoming developments in the industry.    

  

The 14th Sustainability Summit concluded with a rapid-fire speed round as the panel expressed their thoughts on what a post-COVID world would look like. Dr. Giuliano said, “People generally want to go back to business as usual after a crisis…however, if they have experienced things that made their life better, then they might adapt those too. I see the possibility of a big increase of people working from home because it is positively affecting a lot of people.”