UCLA recognizes that health and sustainability are inextricably linked
The climate crisis is the most significant global threat to human health and UCLA is invested in preserving our habitat to maintain human health and well-being. With the rise of poor mental health, chronic illnesses, asthma, and vector-borne diseases due to environmental degradation, it is more important than every to recognize that sustainability is the key to improved planetary and human healthy.
The burden of poor human health also disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income communities. Efforts by UCLA to minimize operational impacts, including energy and water conservation as well as waste reduction and diversion, improves environmental quality and contributes to achieving the university’s human health priorities. This work also supports better human and community health equity by reducing the impact university supply chains have on neighborhoods adjacent to industrial and utility facilities, often referred to as fenceline communities.
Through environmental research and collaborations with entities like the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center, UCLA can increase social and environmental justice, community connectivity, and wellbeing. Semel HCI partnered with UCLA Dining Services to create Bruin Plate, a residential dining hall that supports mindful eating, healthy foods, and sustainable sourcing. They also built and help support the jane b semel Community Garden which provides an on-campus space for the UCLA community to grow healthy food and foster education of urban gardening practices.
The UCLA Health System, among the most comprehensive and advanced healthcare systems in the world, is committed to sustainability throughout its hospitals and clinical offices. UCLA Health is a member of Practice Greenhealth and the Healthier Hospitals Initiative and has been recognized with awards for practices in sustainability.
The UCLA ASHE Center has also implemented sustainability in their operations in recycling, water, and energy.
UCLA Recreation is another major partner in connecting health and sustainability at UCLA. Recreation hosts the jane b semel HCI Community Garden at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, managed by the student group DIG. UCLA Recreation also collaborated with UCLA Transportation and the Healthy Campus initiative on bicycle programs and active transportation initiatives, and led the greening of sports and recreation facilities at UCLA, such as the LEED Gold Spieker Aquatic Center, and the LEED Gold Pauley Pavilion renovation.