Photo by Toddy Cheney
Photo by Toddy Cheney

Spotlight on the IoES

We drive interdisciplinary environment and sustainability initiatives on campus.

UCLA and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability were saluted in the Princeton Review 2014 Green Honor Roll and Sierra Club Cool Schools 2013 rankings. The university tied for first place with 21 other campuses as the most sustainable universities in the nation in the 2014 edition of the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll. The rating cited the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability as a hub for green academic activities. This guide to green colleges was produced by the Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools. The university’s successful sustainability practices were also honored by the Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental group. UCLA made Sierra Magazine’s Cool Schools 2013 ranking of the most environmentally friendly colleges in the country. This is the magazine’s seventh annual ranking of the most eco-enlightened schools in America. UCLA received high marks for innovation, planning, and waste management — initiatives the institute helped champion.

We educate the next generation of professional and scientific leadership committed to the health of the planet.

The Practicum in Environmental Science requires all IoES Environmental Science majors to complete a year-long research project. Working in groups, undergraduates collaborate with an external client to perform original data collection, produce a final analysis, and present their findings. The 2013 Practicum had student teams working with local government, city officials, an architecture firm, a research university, and environmental nonprofit. The end results will help protect wildlife in developing landscapes, increase protection of endangered and threatened species, advance water quality practices in Southern California, improve management in recreation and conservation areas, refine a climate action plan for the City of Hermosa Beach, help building designers upgrade energy efficiency, and promote citizen science and reduce sound and light distractions that harm animals in their natural habitats. Read the reports here.

We generate knowledge and provide solutions for regional and global environmental problems.

The new UCLA Grand Challenge will tackle urban sustainability. “Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles” aims to achieve 100% self-reliance on renewable energy and local water supply while protecting our natural resources and biodiversity in the L.A. region by 2050. This inaugural project was spearheaded by the institute and the team leads are all IoES associated faculty. Southern California could potentially serve as a model of sustainability for major metropolitan areas around the world.

Grants awarded to IoES researchers increased tremendously in 2013. Center for Tropical Research Director Tom Smith received close to $5 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a project to investigate the effects of climate change on biodiversity in Central Africa’s rainforests. California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA Director Stephanie Pincetl also received funding from the NSF to study water use in Los Angeles. The U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided support for additional research on climate change impacts along coastlines, energy usage, and remote sensing analysis.

We inform and encourage community discussion about critical environmental issues.

Outreach is an integral part of the institute’s mission. In 2013 the IoES hosted and co-sponsored lectures, symposia, and film screenings in partnership with campus and community organizations. Regular events include the signature Oppenheim Lecture Series and UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science Annual Lecture. The IoES brought renowned experts to campus to educate the public on topics such as population dynamics, local impacts of climate change, sustainable water and energy resources, and the global biodiversity crisis. The institute strives to continuously introduce new activities that increase our engagement with the UCLA population and the general public.