Los Angeles — Sustainability continues to be a watchword among individuals and communities nationwide, as climate change, food scarcity and related issues make headlines. In Los Angeles, global engineering firm BuroHappold hosts an event series for sharing ideas and contributing to solutions.

Now in its third year, BuroHappold’s “Collective Impact” speaker series invites experts and concerned citizens to the firm’s L.A. office, where they speak to attendees about their work. A dozen or more speak, for just three minutes each, on what they are doing personally or professionally to advance sustainability initiatives.

The next event in the series will take place Wednesday, May 8.

“Our Collective Impact speaker series began two years ago, born out of an idea to bring people together who care deeply about sustainability,” says Jodi Christopher, an Associate with BuroHappold in L.A. “The people who come to speak and to listen are passionate about creating more sustainable and equitable communities, in Los Angeles and beyond.”

The most recent Collective Impact event was held February 20 and featured speakers addressing a broad array of topics:

  • Brian Sheridan, Development Director for Clean Air LA, speaking on the impact of idling gas-powered vehicles;
  • Allison Lynch, Senior VP for Watt Companies, on volunteering with Meals on Wheels and what she has learned about the city’s homebound;
  • Harjot Kaur, of UCLA School of Law, on the disparate impacts of climate change and “environmental racism”;
  • Several speakers on initiatives to connect people to their food systems through urban gardens, composting and more.

Immediately following the lightning round of talks, BuroHappold Associate Principal Heidi Creighton and LA County Sustainability Program Director Kristen Torres Pawling led a roundtable discussion to generate ideas for taking immediate action. The ideas included attending planning commission meetings, participating in or volunteering for car-free street events through groups like CicLAvia, or even attending a school district curriculum workshop focused on careers in architecture or engineering — for those interested in making a sustained impact.

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