Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council Creates New Sustainability Committee



At its July board meeting, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council voted to create a new standing committee to address issues of environmental sustainability in the Greater Wilshire community.  The vote came at the request of GWNC Windsor Village representative Julie Stromberg, who originated the idea for the new group…so we asked her to tell us more:

Larchmont Buzz: Where did the idea for the Environmental and Sustainability Committee come from, and why do you think it’s necessary? 

Julie Stromberg: I’m always looking for ways to build community and to get more stakeholders engaged in the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.  Neighborhood Councils are a vital component of our City and an excellent way for people to have an impact in their communities.

I noticed in the Larchmont Chronicle and Larchmont Buzz that there were regular articles on drought-tolerant landscaping and the need for water conservation — both topics related to sustainability. I realized that many people in the Greater Wilshire area were interested in sustainability, and there was a need to organize people and provide them with a means to further develop their interest. I also saw the committee as a great way to unite our stakeholders.

In addition, the City of Los Angeles, under Mayor Eric Garcetti’s leadership, is really making important strides to attain sustainable goals. For example, the City of Los Angeles’ Sustainability Group is doing some important work and Mayor Garcetti appointed L.A.’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, Matt Petersen, in 2013. Also, in April, the Mayor launched the first ever City of Los Angeles Sustainable City pLAn. So big efforts are being made at the city level, and I think it’s important for similar work to be done at the Neighborhood Council and local levels — in addition to on a personal level.

Growth and quality of life issues are at the heart of sustainability. If we can organize to help achieve these noble goals, we’ll have a greater likelihood of making an impact in our community. So that’s what compelled me to form the committee. I think it will be an excellent way to engage more stakeholders and show the GWNC’s commitment to one of the most pressing issues of our time.

LB: What is the mission of the committee?

JS: The missions of the Committee are education, engagement, and activism.  More specifically, we will:

(1) Unite and organize stakeholders concerned about sustainability in the community;
(2) Promote education and awareness on environmental and sustainability issues that have local to global impacts; and
(3) Reach out to the community with ways to promote a sustainable lifestyle, and use local resources to promote that goal.

The Committee will enhance the quality of life in the GWNC by working with the community on projects that will benefit the community. We’ll work with stakeholders, environmental organizations, Neighborhood Council groups and committees, local neighborhood associations, businesses, and public agencies to further and promote our mission and benefit our local community.

GWNC Windsor Village Representative Julie Stromberg
GWNC Windsor Village Representative Julie Stromberg

LB: What kinds of topics and activities will be covered? 

JS: We hope to cover a broad range of topics related to environmental concerns and sustainability. For example, at our inaugural meeting, Carolyn Casavan, Environmental and Energy Consultant with Casavan Consulting and Founder and Chair of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council’s Green and Beautification Committee, will discuss water conservation measures indoor and out, including options, considerations, and how to assess your progress. Ms. Casavan will also discuss actions Neighborhood Councils can take to help with water conservation. And we’ll discuss our partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, along with an upcoming rain barrel distribution event.

Over time, other topics that we hope to cover include:

– LADWP rate increases
– Water use in the Greater Wilshire area
– Water conservation and related implementation strategies
– Economical ways to be sustainable
– Positions on new related policies
– The Sustainable City pLAn and tracking the City of Los Angeles’ progress toward reaching pLAn goals
– Local farming (i.e., farm to table)
– Creating a rain garden
– Storm water management
– Simple infiltration pits
– Gray water systems
– Recycling and solar installation programs
-How to promote sustainable practices
– LADWP’s Stormwater Capture Master Plan, Enhanced Watershed Master Plan, and proposed alternative to LADWP’s rebate approach (for example, a tiered rebate approach)

In addition to education, we’ll also plan and/or participate in activities and events that encourage community engagement. These may include:

– Greater Wilshire Drought-Tolerant Landscape Design Garden Tour in March 2016
– Recognition of Local Green Businesses
 – CicLAvia
– LADWP California Friendly® Landscape Incentive Program
– Forums on planting drought-tolerant, California natives, and pollinator-friendly plants
– Tree plantings in the community
– Community Clean-up Days, including clean-up of local parks and playgrounds
– Environmental Town Halls
– CFL/Composter/Rain-barrel Giveaway Days
– Earth Day Program
– Forums on Green and Sustainable Business Development
– April 2016 Los Angeles Business Council Sustainability Summit

And finally, we hope to plan a number of activities throughout the year for families and children. Sustainability is about making our planet a better place for our future. Therefore, it’s important to instill the importance of sustainability in our children, especially at young age.

LB: When/where will the committee meetings be held?

JS: Our inaugural meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, at 7:00 p.m., in the Youth Chapel Room of the Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90005. Our meetings will be held quarterly, with programs in between. For example, we’re planning a rain barrel distribution event in November, and our second meeting will be on December 1.  (We also envision meeting more frequently when the committee becomes more established.)

LB: Who are the committee members, and can others join?

JS: So far, I and our GWNC La Brea-Hancock Alternate Barbara Savage are the only members…but we do have four other individuals interested in leadership positions, and we’ll hold officer elections at our September meeting. But there will be many opportunities to serve the committee in various capacities, including subcommittees to oversee the various aspects of the committee, form policy, and manage our water conservation programs. Committee membership is open to anyone who lives, works or owns property in the Greater Wilshire area. You don’t need to be a GWNC board member to join or to attend the meetings – everyone is welcome.

For more information about the GWNC Sustainability Committee, or if you’d like to participate, contact Ms. Stromberg at
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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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