The extraordinary symbol of Pando the tree reminds us of hope. No part is ever isolated or alone. We’re all in this together. Former First Lady of California Maria Shriver put it this way: "Being Pando means, I belong to you, you belong to me, we belong to each other."
Our founding conference in the summer of 2015 set out to rethink civilization along ecological lines, positing that everything is connected. The Covid-19 crisis is another illustration of how deep connections really go.
In response, we’re accelerating -- our mission, work, and even the feeling of hope itself.
Pando is building community resilience, whereby “community” we mean the whole network of human and non-human “communities of communities of communities of communities,” as our founding chair John Cobb puts it. And by “resilience” we include the whole of social and ecological sustainability. It’s what Cobb references as “ecological civilization” and Pope Francis as “integral ecology.”
If Pando is accelerating hope through action, then we're delighted to report that a great deal of hope is actively moving through the pipeline, as you’ll see below.
PANDO DAYS initiatives wrap and will soon start rolling out to build County sustainability
Some 120 people gathered for a PANDO DAYS sneak preview on Feb. 16 at the home of Rob Floe in Pasadena.
Ten PANDO DAYS initiatives developed over more than six months at higher educational institutions across the Southland will soon begin publicly rolling-out over Zoom, culminating in a mid-summer virtual finale. We’ll keep you posted on the roll-out schedule so you don’t miss a one!
Each of the schools' initiatives focused on a different goal of the Los Angeles County sustainability plan. Projects were conceived over sequential brainstorming Blitzes and then accelerated through a process of project advising, pitch coaching, and seed funding.
Participating higher educational institutions include SCI-Arc, Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, LA Trade Tech/Architecture, Woodbury, USC, Otis School of Art and Design, Pasadena City College, Cal State Long Beach, and Caltech/Sustainability.
Earlier this year, some 120 Southlanders got a Sneak Preview of what’s to come at the Pasadena home of Pando board member Rob Floe. The Rev. Ed Bacon, who also sits on the Pando board, presided over what was an extraordinary event, raising funding in the process to help underwrite project budgets.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz and LA County Superintendent Sheila Kuehl served on the Host Committee.
We have been fortunate that the effect of the Coronavirus has not been as destabilizing to PANDO DAYS as we had feared. Even though all participating campuses have been shuttered, the vast majority of projects have pushed aggressively ahead. We lost only two schools from the final lineup, and picked up a new one.
See for yourself what these LA County-based higher educational institutions have been up to! Watch your inbox over the coming weeks for announcements of roll-out events.
UCLA and USC pulling together to help us develop our Accelerator model
Gary Wexler leading the non-profit advocacy course at USC earlier this year. The course focused on Pando as the test-case.
Ongoing courses at UCLA and a semester course that’s just wrapping up at USC are focused on helping Pando develop its Accelerator model for the Southland. As ROOTBALL readers will know, the Pando Accelerator has been operating physically out of a section of the Maryknoll Sisters’ campus in Monrovia and aims to bring the most diverse groups together to grow inventive new initiatives for a more resilient LA County.
At USC, the focus of instructor Gary Wexler’s class in non-profit marketing and communications has taken Pando as its site of real-world application for developing advocacy, volunteer, partnership, and fundraising strategies, with student teams creating implementation plans.
“The creativity and commitment of the teams is extraordinary,” says Pando’s president Eugene Shirley, who has met over the semester in-person and virtually with the class (student collaboration has spread over 16 time zones). “I’m expecting an embarrassment of riches with final presentations.”
While the USC class has been focusing on strategic planning issues, classes from UCLA are working on program development.
UCLA ecologist Alison Lipman's courses are helping to define the top five research and public education/demonstration areas on which a Pando Accelerator in the Southland should focus, factoring in County needs and site-specific opportunities.
“The involvement of Alison and her classes,” Eugene adds, “means that we’re getting critical help in developing our program -- based on meeting some of the most pressing research and public education needs. Their work will help shape what we pursue.”
Two artists in residence have also come through UCLA to take advantage of the Accelerator environment: Maru Garcia, who is experimenting with bio-materials, and Yogan Muller, a photographer and scholar focusing on the imagination and landscape of the West. Both are working with UCLA design professor Rebeca Mendez’s CounterForce Lab. Read more about them and their work in blog posts highlighted immediately below.
Pando Blog Highlights
Some of the bio-material that Garcia has grown. Photo by Aubrey Burgess.
Pando Artist in Residence Maru Garcia is growing alternatives to plastic packaging in the wet lab of the Pando Accelerator -- and what she’s growing is beautiful!