Pando Populus produces hyper-local initiatives on environmental, social, and economic matters, strategically chosen to help fast-track a more resilient LA County. We bring some of the most unlikely partners together to make great things happen.
Every January, we gather creative and passionate change-makers from academic, government, art and design, faith (and no faith), business, and activist communities to assess eco and social justice challenges. Brainstorm ingenious solutions (we call it, “thinking wrong”). And develop action plans based on small, achievable bets that in aggregate might really add up to something.
Our inaugural event in June of 2015 brought together 1,500 people from around the globe to rethink civilization in explicitly ecological terms. John B. Cobb, Jr., pioneer at the intersection of philosophical theology and the environment and Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, served as intellectual architect.
Since then, we’ve put shovels in the ground for an eco-homeless shelter. Developed community gardening and urban farming initiatives in the cities of Carson and Ontario. Helped launch a field-based education program related to the region’s great watersheds. Deepened interfaith collaboration for the Earth. And, with the Maryknoll Sisters in Monrovia, created a remedy for burnout among local social justice and environmental change-makers.
We’re now deepening our collaboration with Maryknoll Monrovia to experiment in creating what we call a “residential research park for integral ecology,” based on the vision of Pope Francis in his 2015 encyclical to the world, Laudato Si’.
In all these initiatives, we create capacity for our partners. And help them accomplish work together that is difficult to pull off alone. Think old-fashioned barn-raisings, with an urban and eco twist.
In 2017, we launched the CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) Strategic Taskforce to focus on a countywide sustainability vision that’s larger than any siloed interest. Taskforce members come from the leading government, business, and academic institutions in the County.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz helped launch the initiative. Caltech CSO John Onderdonk serves as Taskforce chair.