Introducing Robyn Eason, strategic sustainability advisor
Robyn Eason is a sustainability professional with experience rooted in intermixing systems thinking, strategy, social-connectedness, and care to nurture tailored, community-centered approaches to climate action. Previously, she was a Senior Planner for the City of West Hollywood.
PANDO: It was so good to see you at the Pando Days ‘22 Awards event at Caltech! How did it go from your perspective?
ROBYN: Pando Days Finale and Award events are always a treat, even when they were virtual during the pandemic. This year, the tone of the entire day was very celebratory and draped in excitement. From Pando board members to school teams to LA County Supervisors to community supporters to industry practitioners, the smiles were as contagious as was the magic and spirit of the day.
Magical definitely is the right word to describe how the day went.
It was so special to be in conversation with so many folks invested in the LA County Sustainability Plan and willing to steward the creative hope harnessed by the various school teams through their projects.
The day should have been a good one for those with a background in sustainability.
My professional contributions have mainly been centered in nurturing climate and community action within the built environment. More specifically, from 2016 to 2022, I led efforts to co-develop a comprehensive sustainability program for the City of West Hollywood (CA) that was committed to the intersectional components of the field, uplifting all living things and amplifying inclusivity, reciprocity, and equitable outcomes.
I see you already were very “Pando” before your involvement as well.
Yes! My previous work encompassed a portfolio of projects, including electrical vehicle charging readiness, clean energy initiatives, water efficiency and conservation, climate action planning, and green building.
The role enabled me to gain firsthand experience in fostering a continuum of climate action, from helping the City lead by example, to collaborating with implementers of change (e.g., developers, utility companies, etc.) to executing the City’s policies, to working with the local community on opportunities to enhance their environment.
Sounds like you have been fostering interconnection for most of your career.
The theme of interconnectedness is an additional reason for my attraction to being involved with Pando. The namesake of Pando, the forest in Utah, is a powerful metaphor for life of all forms — both human and nonhuman — and how we are all related, interdependent, and interconnected in more ways than one.
I would say it is almost the necessary metaphor for tackling sustainability challenges.
My work in sustainability has always required thinking in terms of interconnectedness and interdependence as being the very nature of sustainability itself, rooted in collective action. Early on, my assignments largely prioritized and valued integrated technical solutions derived from the collaboration of experienced professionals in multiple sectors to reduce carbon emissions.
Over time, however, many of us have learned that the most effective collective action goes far beyond technical solutions alone, and must begin with anchoring the lived experiences and expertise of those impacted first and worst by climate change.
It also must incorporate a changing mindset of how we view and value nonhuman species and their roles, expertise, and contributions to the larger environmental ecosystem. It is only with this extended embrace can a true sense of interconnectedness and interdependence be fostered and achieved, often leading to much better outcomes.
It makes sense, then, your attraction to the Pando Days program.
I totally agree. I was initially attracted to Pando Days as a creative, collaborative exercise to consider thoughtful solutions to issues identified in the LA County Sustainability Plan by channeling the brilliant minds of students and faculty from the region’s colleges and universities.
I joined Pando due to my desire to be among various experienced professionals and community groups to brainstorm how the organization could make a significant impact in the region. Being involved with Pando these last few years has been fun, rewarding, eye-opening, and humbling.
Thanks for your time Robyn. As always, it was a pleasure.