Volume 1, Issue 4  |  View this email in your browser

Rising Heat in
Los Angeles is Not Equal

Urban Heat Island Effect (Explained): Urban cores retain heat for a variety of reasons, creating a heat island effect. Canadian researchers illustrated the differences between rural areas, leafy neighborhoods and downtown areas with the following summer example (diagram). Diagram illustrates urban heat island during [hot] late afternoon temperatures. Dark roads and asphalt parking lots retain heat. Dark rooftops retain hear. Lack of trees means less shade and less evapotranspiration to help cool the air. Heat trapped by buildings keeps urban cores warmer at night. Waste heat from factories, buildings, and vehicles adds to the heat island effect. Impermeable surfaces reduce surface moisture.

Highest L.A. Temperature Ever Recorded

L.A. County recorded its highest ever temperature in Woodland Hills on September 6th at 121°F. The Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative (LAUCC) estimates that average temperatures in Los Angeles are expected to rise 3 to 7°F by the middle of the century. Cities, compared to rural areas, face significant threats of increased extreme heat because the built urban environment often concentrates and amplifies heat; this is called the urban heat island effect. Major increases in deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits associated with extreme heat have been documented and present major health risks, especially as heat waves and extreme weather events become more common--something we're already facing.

LAUCC's report made an important distinction:
"It is clear that heat does not impact the health of all communities in Los Angeles County equally."

Residents in neighborhoods with substandard housing, limited access to air conditioning, inability to afford the electricity to run air conditioning, little shade from trees, and heavy reliance on public transit and active transportation (i.e. walking and biking) — are vulnerable to dangerous conditions outdoors and have limited relief indoors.

LAUCC identified three groups that are likely to see the largest increases in mortality as L.A.’s climate heats up because of these disparities in housing infrastructure: the elderly, black Americans, and Hispanics.

“Greening the built environment is absolutely important,” he said, “but it’s only a start.”
Rob Jones, executive director of Groundwork Richmond, New York Times.

 "Extreme heat is worse in redlined neighborhoods." Video by Grist.

Redlining and racial covenants have largely contributed to and codified inequity in exposure to extreme heat in cities across the U.S.

Redlining and racial covenants were part of federal housing policies from the 1930s that were used to divert funds from low-income neighborhoods of color and that banned nonwhites from buying property in the cities' most desirable neighborhoods. These policies limited housing options for people of color to neighborhoods severely lacking vegetation, green space, and infrastructure needed to combat the urban heat island effect, and have largely contributed to the heat disparities we see in cities across the U.S. today--even though redlining was officially outlawed by the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

Today, neighborhoods that house lower-income communities and communities of color are still disproportionately exposed to a variety of environmental hazards and racial covenants are often still found in the language of housing deeds. Furthermore, the New York Times recently reported that lack of investment in communities of color is a problem for more recent climate protection measures too. White communities are prioritized in the design process and often given access to technological solutions, like green roofs, before communities of color.

Inequity in extreme heat exposure is just one example of how environmental racism thrives in the U.S. now, and illustrates why achieving equity and justice is absolutely critical to fighting the climate crisis. Inequality in housing, incomes, health and education all factor into climate vulnerability says Rob Jones, executive director of Groundwork’s Richmond chapter. Cool pavements, green roofs, and parks are all part of a slew of cooling strategies that can help fight extreme heat, if implemented in a timely and proper manner. Ultimately, dismantling and eradicating policies and systems that perpetuate environmental racism will protect communities who have been made most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis--otherwise, they will continue to suffer the first and worst impacts of climate change. “Greening the built environment is absolutely important,” Jones says, “but it’s only a start.”

You Can Fight the Urban Heat Island Effect By: Planting Trees! The Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative found:  Shade from trees can lower surface temperatures by up to 45°F.  Trees also provide evaporative cooling and can lower air temperatures up to 9°F. L.A. City Residents can get free trees at!
Yes, you can help fight the urban heat island effect by planting trees in your neighborhood! Trees can help cool your neighborhood by: lowering surface temperatures, providing evaporative cooling, and improving outdoor air quality that prevents smog build up. 

The best part is, they're free for residents of the City of L.A.! Head to to order free yard trees and free street trees, and try out City Plant's new interactive tool to discover the best planting locations in your yard to reduce your energy bills.

The LACCD Climate Action & Justice Speaker Series

Over the next two weeks (and beyond), you can join us to hear from a variety of organizations working to advance climate action and justice and learn how you, as a student, can help make a difference by bringing your own skills to the table. You can view all presentation recordings here if you can't attend live sessions.
Link to Complete Speakers Schedule

Pacoima Beautiful
(Sep 22 12:30PM PT)

Pacoima Beautiful is a grassroots environmental justice organization that provides education, impacts local policy, and supports local arts and culture to promote a healthy and sustainable San Fernando Valley. Join us to hear from Pacoima Beautiful at the link below.
Link to Zoom Presentation

Danielle Hoague, B.S. UC Berkeley (Sep 23, 12:00 PM PT)

Danielle Hoague (she/her) is a second-year Ph.D. student in the UCLA Environment and Sustainability program pursuing interdisciplinary research in environmental justice and science and technology studies. Join us to hear about Danielle's work at the link below.
Link to Zoom Presentation

The Energy Coalition
(Sep 24, 12:30 PM PT)

The Energy Coalition (TEC) empowers communities to leap into the future of clean energy, and envisions a future in which communities are energy-producing networks and clean energy is affordable and accessible for everyone. Join us to hear from TEC at the link below.
Link to Zoom Presentation

Nourish L.A.
(Sep 28, 12:30 PM PT)

Nourish L.A. is a neighbors-helping-neighbors grassroots organization to help folks gain access to Nourishing foods and seedlings for their gardens during the time of COVID-19 and any other pandemics that may occur. Join us to hear from Nourish L.A. at the link below.
Link to Zoom Presentation

Korean Youth + Community Center (Sep 30, 9:00AM PT)

KYCC’s Environmental Services Unit provides training and resources for residents to beautify their neighborhood, to increase open space for families and to grow tree-lined streets in Koreatown, one of the least green and most densely populated urban neighborhoods in the U.S. Join us to hear from KYCC at the link below.
Link to Zoom Presentation

Imperfect Foods
(Oct 1, 12:30 PM PT)

Imperfect Foods’ mission is to eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone. They offer imperfect (yet delicious) produce, affordable pantry items, and quality eggs and dairy and deliver them to your door at up to a 30% discount compared to grocery store prices. Join us to hear from Imperfect Foods at the link below.
Link to Zoom Presentation
Are you an LACCD-associated student, staff, or faculty member with a story or materials you‘d like to have featured in our monthly sustainability newsletter? Please email submissions to and include the subject title “LACCD: Sustainably” in your email.
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LACCD: Sustainably is a publication of the Los Angeles Community College District ​​Office of Facilities Planning & Development, Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) Facilities Energy Management Fellowship, in collaboration with the LACCD Office of Communications & External Relations.

Chloe Ney, SEI Facilities and Energy Management Fellow, (213) 891-2484,
Aris Hovasapian, Utility Program Manager, (213) 891-2239,

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