As Los Angeles continues to grow, the issue of how to keep the environment healthy and sustainable will become increasingly important for policy planners, environmentalists, and developers alike.
To address these matters, a two-day conference titled "A Sustainable Future? Environmental Patterns and the Los Angeles Past" will be held on the California Institute of Technology campus September 19-20. The conference, sponsored by the Haynes Foundation of Los Angeles, is free and open to the general public, and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.
According to William Deverell, who organized the conference as the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation Fellow, the presenters will represent a wide variety of perspectives, including those of scientific researchers in seismology, air quality, water management, and weather. Other presenters will discuss the history of land and resource use in the Los Angeles basin, and still others will address issues that can be taken up by policymakers and legislators.
"We're not necessarily trying to have an immediate impact on public policy, but are mainly interested in getting a lot of people into the room who may have common interests but have never had the opportunity to talk to one another," says Deverell, an associate professor of history at Caltech and authority on the rise and development of Los Angeles.
All lectures will take place in Ramo Auditorium on the Caltech campus, beginning with coffee and registration on the Ramo Auditorium Mall at 8:30 a.m., Friday, September 19. At 9:30 a.m., the participants will be welcomed by Donn Miller, president of the Haynes Foundation, followed by Miriam Feldblum, special assistant to the president at Caltech; and Deverell.
The first session, beginning at 10 a.m., will focus on metropolitan nature and will feature a talk by Professor Greg Hise of USC, with commentary provided by Andy Lipkis, founder and president of the organization TreePeople. The second session, beginning at 11:30 a.m., will involve issues of sustainability and will include presentations by Andrew Roth of Pomona College concerning the Taylor Yard complex adjacent to the Los Angeles River; Janet Fireman, editor of California History, on the current status of the Cornfield park in downtown Los Angeles, and Marcus Renner of Occidental College, speaking on the Arroyo Seco, which runs from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Los Angeles River.
Following the 12:30 p.m. lunch, which is free to all those who register, the afternoon session will continue with a series of presentations on issues involving the Los Angeles basin. Presenters will include Caltech professors Janet Hering, on water quality in the Los Angeles basin; Kerry Sieh, on seismic history and contemporary earthquake concerns; and Andrew Ingersoll, on changing weather patterns in the basin.
The 3:30 p.m. session is titled "Prehistoric Landscapes and Finite Resources" and includes presenters Paula Schiffman and Mark Raab, both of Cal State Northridge; and Terry Young of Cal Poly Pomona. A reception will follow at 5 p.m., hosted by the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Caltech.
The Saturday, September 20, sessions begin with coffee at 8:30 a.m., followed by a session on sustainability at 9:30 a.m. featuring presenters Robert Garcia of the Center for Law in the Public Interest and Tom Sitton of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.
The 10:15 a.m. session on politics and economics will be a panel discussion involving Robert Gottlieb of Occidental College; Deborah Weintraub, the city architect of Los Angeles; David Abel of the Planning Report; Doug Gardner of Catellus Development Corp.; and Jennifer Wolch of USC.
The final session begins at 11:30 a.m. with a talk entitled "What Now? What Next?" to be given by writer D. J. Waldie.
All sessions are free and open to the public, but Deverell urges those interested in attending to send an e-mail in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.