The time to eliminate fossil fuels is now. Though easier said than done, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, combined with the existing climate crisis, makes the issue urgent. Southern California’s history is deeply rooted both in fossil fuel extraction with extensive drilling for oil, and an insatiable demand for fossil fuels from its century-long love of the automobile.
As LA Mayor Eric Garcetti has said, “when we laid out L.A.’s Green New Deal, we presented a vision for the sustainable and equitable future our children deserve — and three years later, we can proudly report on our incredible progress, [thanks in large part to] the growing coalition of community, business, and environmental justice leaders who have made it their mission to make this decade one of climate action.”
At this convening, we will explore the opportunities, barriers and strategies needed to make the vision a fossil-free world a reality in Southern California. We’ll learn from a set of local stakeholders working on these issues, with suggestions for funders who want to support this work.
The SCG Environmental Funders Group meets quarterly to educate prospective and current environmental funders about environmental challenges and opportunities in Southern California, foster collaboration, and share successes and challenges. Please contact Katy Pelissier at email@example.com for more information.
Executive Director, Physicians for social Responsibility- Los Angeles
For over 45 years Martha has been part of Los Angele's social justice community working as an organizer, health educator and coalition builder. She joined PSR-LA in 1999 and became Executive Director in November 2007. She is the Co Chair of Standing Together Against Neighborhood Drilling, Chari of Californians for A Health And Green Economy, and founded the LA Leap Coalition who has successfully
created the office of Climate Emergency Mobilization in the City of Los Angeles. She is currently the Co Chair of CARBs EJ advisory Committee working on the 2022 Scoping plan
Associate Executive Director, Climate First: Replacing Oil & Gas
Haley Ehlers, Associate Executive Director at Climate First: Replacing Oil & Gas (CFROG), environmental advocacy nonprofit in Ventura, CA. Haley holds a Master of Science in political science in applied community and economic development from Illinois State University and a BBA in nonprofit from Pacific Lutheran University. She served as a community economic development Peace Corps volunteer in Timor Leste and in resource development.
Acting Chief Sustainability Officer, LA County Chief Sustainability Office
Rita joined the County of Los Angeles’s Chief Sustainability Office in June 2017 as a Sustainability Program Director for the office. She supports development and implementation of the County’s first sustainability plan, in addition to providing policy support for other County sustainability-related initiatives. In May 2022, she was appointed Acting Chief Sustainability Officer. Prior to joining the County, Rita was the Science and Policy Director of the non-profit Heal the Bay where she oversaw advocacy and research projects related to water quality and water resources, and guided the development of Heal the Bay’s positions on a wide range of policy issues. Before joining Heal the Bay, Rita worked for Geosyntec Consultants on a range of water quality projects, primarily focusing on stormwater. Rita received a B.S. in chemical engineering from Columbia University, and an M.S. in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. in civil/environmental engineering from UCLA.
Executive Director, Health and Environmental Funders Network
Ansje Miller is the Executive Director of the Health and Environmental Funders Network (HEFN). Throughout her 20 plus years in the environmental health and justice fields, Ansje has collectively mobilized with partners to address threats to our health through environmental exposures, and rising racial and social justice attacks on our communities. She has led state and national advocacy coalitions and successful legislative and regulatory campaigns to promote environmental health and justice leading to the reduction of exposures from toxic chemicals and efforts to mitigate climate change. Her organizing, congressional testimony, research reports, and popular articles have also led to the creation of numerous policies on toxics and global warming including California’s landmark global warming law AB32, the Green Chemistry Initiative, and won critical health protections in the 2016 update to the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Before joining HEFN, Ansje was the Director of Policy and Partnerships for the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). In that role, she represented CEH with elected officials, regulators, and business leaders as well as directed the activities in the Eastern States office. Prior to her work at CEH, Ansje founded and directed the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, a coalition that brought together the nation’s leading environmental justice, faith- based, and policy organizations to advocate socially just policies on climate change.
Ansje has served on the Boards and Advisory Committees of the National Sierra Club, Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Biz-NGO Working Group for Safer Chemicals, Cancer Free Economy Network, and Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.
Senior Attorney and Director, Southern California Ecosystems Project, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Damon Nagami is a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the director of NRDC’s Southern California Ecosystems Project. He works to protect parkland, open space, and wildlife habitat and advocates for park and coastal equity in southern California. Damon’s work includes preventing a controversial toll road from paving over San Onofre State Beach, working to revitalize the Los Angeles River without displacing existing communities, and protecting communities and the environment from the impacts of expanded oil production in Los Angeles County and throughout California. Prior to joining NRDC, Damon practiced environmental law at a Los Angeles firm, specializing in contaminated property litigation, Clean Air Act compliance, and litigation under various environmental laws including CERCLA and the Clean Water Act. Damon earned his J.D. at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and his undergraduate degree in environmental sciences at U.C. Berkeley. His blog can be found at https://www.nrdc.org/experts/damon-nagami.
Executive Director, Climate Emergency Mobilization, City of LA
City of Los Angeles (LA) appointed its first-ever Chief Heat Officer (CHO), Marta Segura, who also serves as Director of the City’s Climate Emergency Mobilization Office (CEMO). In this role, she is charged with overseeing the City’s response to extreme heat events, inclusive of an Extreme Heat Campaign and the development of a heat action plan. The CEMO is responsible for creating equitable climate solutions across LA, assuring all voices are heard in the City’s efforts to address the climate crisis.