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Regional Sustainability Indicators in Southern California – CivicSpark Fellows



Supporting the Development of Sustainable Practices


[01:45] Introduction of Mackenzie Bolger.

[02:16] Introduction of Mike Kloha.

[02:45] Introduction of Bree Swenson.

[03:20] What is the sustainability indicators project?

[03:57] Mike Kloha gives more details of the project.

[04:59] How many people are involved in this project?

[05:47] What kind of project report will be issued?

[07:19] When the project is complete, how will people access the information?

[08:48] What impact are Bree, Mackenzie, and Mike hoping to see from the work they’re doing as CivicSpark fellows?

[10:02] Could this work produce healthy competition between municipalities?

[10:41] Mackenzie, Bree, and Mike share when they decided they wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.

[12:41] Bree, Mike, and Mackenzie describe how they feel about the ability to have a significant impact on issues of sustainability and climate change.

[16:28] Could municipal governments have a significant impact on sustainability if the right set of resources were in place?

[17:32] Bree shares what’s next for her in her career and how the CivicSpark experience impacted her.

[18:18] Mackenzie describes what’s next for her in her career and how the CivicSpark experience impacted her.

[19:13] Mike explains what’s next for him in his career and how the CivicSpark experience impacted him.

[21:00] What advice would be given to anyone who’s interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow?

[22:34] Where can people find out more about the CivicSpark program?

[23:04] What is one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities?

[23:23] What action can listeners take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future?

[23:58] What will Southern California communities look like 30 years from now?


Mike Kloha is from San Diego and is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with a degree in Environmental Policy and a minor in Urban Planning. He is a former NCAA athlete in cross country and track. Mike developed a great interest for sustainable urban planning, and has also worked in local government for over a year. He hopes to learn more about the sustainability needs of Los Angeles and to actively be a part of addressing those needs throughout the region.

Mackenzie Bolger is a 2015-2016 CivicSpark Americorps Fellow located in Los Angeles, California. In 2015, she graduated with honors from Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation with a Bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies and a minor in Sustainability. She is committed to transforming Southern California into a socially just, environmentally healthy, and economically vital region that will model sustainability for the rest of the world.

A Southern California native, Bree Swenson graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Anthropology and a focus on Global Health and Environment. She has worked on distributed energy policy, energy efficiency, and land use policy in St. Louis, DC, and Los Angeles and hopes to use her passion for environmental sustainability to continue this work in her hometown.


CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.


“The indicators, they span pretty much every topic you can imagine in sustainability. We’re looking at water conservation, renewable energy, climate action planning, greenhouse gas inventories. Basically, what we are trying to do is look at all the cities in the region and assess how well their policies and their actual performance on the ground is doing for all these various indicators.”

“It’s [the project] been ongoing for the past five years. Our manager here at [Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)] SCAG has been sort of measuring progress and expanding the research over that time. Last year, SCAG had CivicSpark fellows also and so they’ve started working on this, and we’re continuing their work. We’re definitely not going to complete it in the time that we’re here; we’re setting it up to transition for the people who will work on it next.”

“We also are working with the mapping team here at SCAG to develop an interactive, web-based map, where anyone from the public will be able to click on various different indicators and see where their city falls as far as that indicator goes.”


Green Region Initiative V2.0 – Sustainability Indicators Map provides a detailed look into sustainability planning and programming across Southern California. It serves as a resource for jurisdictions to identify current and potential progress areas, replicate best practices, and collaborate to increase sustainability in the region. The map presents policy and program data for all cities and counties in the region across 25 sustainability topics including climate action planning and greenhouse gas reduction, green infrastructure, waste reduction, water conservation, and active transportation. Access the map and user guide on the Tools page at

Have questions about the Green Region Initiative map? Email!

Learn More about the Fellowship and Check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Find CivicSpark on Facebook

Local Government Commission (LCG)


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