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Global Climate Action Summit: What's Next for Southern California?

Friday, November 9, 2018
10:00am - 12:30pm PST
Community Partners, 2nd Floor, Suite C
1000 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Members: $0.00
Non-Members: $0.00
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In September 2018, thousands of global, regional and local leaders from all sectors convened in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit (for a summary of stories, click here). Much of the focus centered on the sub-national role, lifting up where states, regions and cities can increase leadership to meet climate, sustainability and equity goals. From Southern California, a broad cross-section of local leaders joined in these historic conversations and are now carrying the work forward here locally.

The Southern California Grantmakers Environmental Funders Peer Group invites you to a special debrief on the Global Climate Action Summit, with a focus on what’s next for Southern California. In the region, climate change is a cross-cutting crisis that also provides opportunity in the fields of public health, community and economic development, education, arts and communications. It impacts everyone, with disproportionate impacts in low-income communities of color. Learn about local initiatives to develop of clean energy, stormwater capture, local food production, community engagement, transit oriented communities and low-carbon transportation options such as transit, bicycling and walking.

This convening will bring together the leadership from several local leaders from multiple sectors, all who attended the Global Climate Action Summit, to share their experiences and recommendations for how Southern California can move forward. You’ll learn how they’re working in partnership across organizations and silos to help create thriving, climate resilient communities working towards a just transition. You’ll also have an opportunity to connect and learn from other funders supporting this work in Southern California. After the formal program, we invite you to continue informal conversations over lunch, which will be served.



  • Marissa Aho, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Los Angeles
  • Gary Gero, Chief Sustainability Officer, Los Angeles County
  • Gregory Lopez (Moderator), Program Officer, Climate Program, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
  • mark! Lopez, Executive Director, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
  • Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director, Climate Resolve
  • Alex Wang, Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law




Marissa Aho, Chief Resiliency Officer, City of Los Angeles

Marissa Aho, AICP, serves as Chief Resilience Officer in the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, where she leads city-wide resiliency efforts, including those found in the Mayor’s “Resilience By Design” report, and as part of the 100 Resilient Cities program pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. Marissa has 15 years of policy, planning and project management experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors where she worked with interdisciplinary teams to find creative solutions to complex problems. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Marissa held senior staff positions at two Los Angeles planning and land use consulting firms. She has a B.A. in Political Science from American University and a Master of Planning from the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy. She is an active member of the American Planning Association serving as AICP Commissioner, Region IV (California & Nevada) and is a member of the USC Price Alumni Association Board of Directors.


Gary Gero, Chief Sustainability Officer, County of Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed Gary Gero to be the County’s first Chief Sustainability Officer in November 2016. His duties include: building and launching the largest community choice energy program in California; creating a countywide sustainability plan that addresses regional environmental, economic and equity issues; and serving as the key environmental advisor to the Board of Supervisors. Gary previously served as the President of the Climate Action Reserve, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Los Angeles and operating across North America. He now serves as the Vice-Chair on its Board of Directors. Gary’s career includes many years in local government including having served as the Assistant General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Department. Gary earned his Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and his undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.


Gregory Lopez, Program Officer, Climate Program, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

Gregory Lopez directs the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s Climate Program grantmaking and investment portfolio, focusing on domestic and international climate change solutions. He previously worked with Seven Generation Advisors, acting as Project Manager for low-carbon, economic development projects and as Director for a Smart & Sustainable Cities Program. Gregory is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a B.S. degree in Environmental Science.





mark! Lopez, Executive Director, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice                                    

mark! Lopez was raised in the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of East LA Santa Isabel – MELASI), an organization co-founded by his grandparents, Juana Beatriz Gutierrez and Ricardo Gutierrez. This set his trajectory as a community activist. He has engaged in a wide array of student activism at UC Santa Cruz where he earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies, and taught university courses at UC Santa Cruz, Cal State Northridge and UCLA Extension. mark! earned his M.A. from the [email protected] Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, where he completed his Masters thesis titled "The Fire: Decolonizing “Environmental Justice.” mark! joined East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ)  as a member three years before joining the staff. After serving as Lead Organizer for East Yard Communities and Co-Director with EYCEJ Co-Founder Angelo Logan, mark! is now the Executive Director. mark! is the 2017 North American Recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize.


Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director, Climate Resolve

Before founding Climate Resolve, Jonathan Parfrey served as a Commissioner at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (2008-2013). Jonathan is a Founder and Vice Chair of CicLAvia, the popular street event, as well as the founder of the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability and the statewide Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation. He served as Director of the GREEN LA Coalition (2007-2011), and as the Los Angeles Firector of Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization Physicians for Social Responsibility (1994 to 2007). Prior to that, Jonathan Founded and Directed the Orange County Catholic Worker (1987-1993). He was appointed to Governor Schwarzenegger’s Environmental Policy Team in 2003. He received the Paul S. Delp Award for Outstanding Service, Peace and Social Justice (1992), and was awarded a Durfee Foundation Fellowship (2002), a Stanton Fellowship (2010) and was appointed a Senior Fellow at the USC Marshall School of Business (2011). He is currently a fellow at the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities; a member of the State of California Climate Adaptation Technical Advisory Committee (2016); a member of the steering committee for the US Climate and Health Alliance (2016). In April 2016, he was received the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair’s Green Leadership Award. 


Alex Wang, Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

Alex Wang is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, and a leading expert on environmental law and the law and politics of China. His research focuses on the social effects of law, and the interaction of law and institutions in China and the United States. Prior to 2011, Alex was a Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) based in Beijing and the Founding Director of NRDC's China Environmental Law & Governance Project. In this capacity, he worked with China's government agencies, legal community and environmental groups to improve environmental rule of law and strengthen the role of the public in environmental protection. He helped to establish NRDC's Beijing office in 2006. He holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law and a B.S. in Biology with distinction from Duke University. He is a member and former fellow (2008-10) of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Advisory Board to the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations.


The SCG Environmental Funders Group meets quarterly to educate prospective and current environmental funders about environmental challenges and opportunities in Southern California as well as fostering collaboration and to share successes and challenges. Please contact Dave Sheldon at [email protected] for more information.


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No cost to participate

Who May Attend
SCG members and eligible non-members

SCG members: register online (you must log in to your SCG account)

Accommodations for People with Disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this activity, please contact our programs team at [email protected] or (213) 680-8866. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.


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