By Alison Hewitt
Originally published in UCLA Today
Villaraigosa spoke with former Toronto Mayor David Miller on a panel moderated by UCLA professor Glen MacDonald, the director of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES). The panel kicked off a symposium, “Urban Sustainability in North American Cities.” The event was hosted by IoES, Canadian Studies at UCLA, and UCLA’s California Center for Sustainable Communities.
“In a couple of weeks, I will sign an agreement to take the city off coal by 2025,” Villaraigosa said, describing it as one of his proudest accomplishments as his second term as mayor draws to a close. “It will be a big deal.”
More and more, cities instead of countries are taking the lead in addressing climate change, MacDonald noted during the panel discussion, “What a Mayor can do to Green a City.”
“We’ve come here to learn from two cities and two leaders who have been really at the forefront, both within their own cities, but also at national and international levels at looking at how cities confront sustainability challenges,” MacDonald said. “[Cities] are pushing the state and national agendas in this area. And I would say that it’s fair to say that at the lead of that have been David Miller and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.”
The mayors’ successors will have to link the environment and the economy to succeed, Miller said.
“We’re not going to achieve our environmental sustainability goals unless we achieve our economic goals and social justice goals,” Miller said. “I think that’s absolutely critical.”