Son of Westwood

Gold: heading back to school

After spending more than half of my life at Heal the Bay, I’ve decided to move on and test the waters in academia at my alma mater, UCLA.  The decision to step down as president of Heal the Bay was one of the toughest decisions of my life.  I’ve put my heart and soul into this place and most of my closest friendships are with staff, board, volunteers and colleagues. 

As an organization, Heal the Bay has accomplished so much in the last 26 years.  No one can say that our local coastal waters are more polluted or that our coastal resources are less protected than they were when the organization started in 1985.  Coming to work every day to work on improving everyone’s quality of life in the region, and protecting aquatic life was the best job I could realistically imagine. (I hope Vin Scully will always have the best job I could unrealistically imagine holding). My decision to step down marks a mid-life crisis of sorts. For the last five years, I’ve been obsessed by thoughts that I could have a larger beneficial impact in the environmental field.  My experience as an an Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Catto Fellow made me think a great deal about the future and having larger impact.

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Dorothy’s Class

A water policy class at UCLA aims to inspire the next generation of Dorothy Greens.

Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner Paula Daniels and I have just finished teaching a class in leadership in water management at the UCLA Institute of the Environment. The class resulted from a generous gift by the Annenberg Foundation to UCLA to honor the memory of Heal the Bay’s founding president, Dorothy Green.

I can’t think of a better way to honor Dorothy’s legacy than teaching a class designed to educate and inspire the next generation of environmental activists and professionals. Thanks to the Annenberg Foundation, the class will be taught in the UCLA Institute of the Environment for the next four years.

Paula and I took a pretty unconventional approach to the class. Some 55 students, many majoring in environmental science, hung in there while we lectured on water quality, water supply and even the public trust doctrine.

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