live Finalist / 2018
#NextStopCleanAir: Electric School Buses for LA’s Kids
Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.
We seek to run a campaign to transition Los Angeles’ old and polluting school buses to new, clean, and safe electric buses. Our coalition will engage and activate 100,000 students, parents, teachers, and community members in the effort. This activation will not only affect change in the short term, but because we are focusing on young people, it also will help build an enduring movement for clean air, a healthy climate, and good jobs.
Which of the live metrics will your activation impact?
- Exposure to air toxins
- Resilient communities
Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?
- LA is the best place to LEARN
- LA is the best place to CREATE
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- East LA
- San Gabriel Valley
- San Fernando Valley
- South LA
- Antelope Valley
- County of Los Angeles
- City of Los Angeles
How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?
- Advocate for policy
- Digital organizing or activism
- Trainings and/or in-person engagements
- Encourage businesses to change practices
- Increase participation in political processes
- Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to live?
When people think of Los Angeles, they think of the incredible mix of cultures that make up the backbone of our city, the sunshine, and maybe the beach. But they also likely think of the traffic and the smog, and their effects on our environment and our kids. It’s true that in our state, emissions from our transportation system accounts for a majority of the emissions that lead to climate change, and dirty air days are on the rise for the last three years running. These impacts are magnified on our city’s kids, leading to an astounding million days of missed school for kids suffering from respiratory problems, who travel to and from school on polluting school buses powered by dirty energy we don’t need. It shouldn’t be this way. Through intentional policies, we have the power to end this problem and create a more livable, breathable, and greener city for all—most importantly for our youngest residents—while creating pathways into good, clean manufacturing jobs for youth and underserved communities.
Every weekday, over 40,000 kids and hundreds of bus drivers and climb aboard 1,300 school buses around Los Angeles. But what if these school buses were powered by electricity, generated from the sun and the wind? The LA County Electric Bus Coalition is working to convince the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to take a critical step towards making our city the best place to live, cleaning up our air and creating a safer, healthier climate for the kids of today and tomorrow by transitioning its old polluting school buses to new, clean and safe electric buses by 2030 or sooner, that are manufactured right here in Southern California.
Our coalition has already had two major successes that are laying the groundwork for an all-electric school bus fleet. First, we convinced LA Metro to make a historic commitment to transition its fleet of more than 2,400 buses to electric buses by 2030. Second, we won a commitment from the LA City Council to transition the Department of Transportation’s 350 buses to electric by 2030 or sooner. Together, both commitments represent more than a quarter of all transit buses in the state.
We know how to win this fight, and it will take Angelenos of all stripes to make it happen. We will activate 100,000 students, teachers, parents and community members in our campaign, engaging them in activations as simple as signing a petition to training a teacher to turn out her students to an event in support of electric buses to engaging young people to monitor air quality on their daily bus commutes. The members of the LA County Electric Bus Coalition are committed to empowering kids to become leaders in their communities and build the movement fighting for a better city for decades to come, cleaning up our air, and creating good jobs for the region.
How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to live
Our activation aims to engage Los Angeles students, teachers, parents, and the broader community to build a clean air future for our city, starting with electrifying school buses. Through our activation, we will not only win a tangible improvement in health and air quality, but also help support the development of youth leaders that can use the skills learned in this campaign to advocate for broader change for the rest of their lives. We plan to:
Activate 60,000 Angelenos via a compelling digital organizing campaign using our websites, social media, text alerts and more;
Organize 15,000 students, teachers, parents and community members through on-the-ground trainings and workshops to advocate for a clean, electric bus future;
Activate students to apply for modest stipends to run projects designed to activate a combined total of 10,000 peers and parents within their community in support of electric school buses; selected projects, supported by the coalition, will also incorporate scholarships for the most fully realized projects;
Empower teachers through a small grant competition to develop electric school bus related projects. Combined, teachers will activate 10,000 students;
Work with 5,000 students at LAUSD and Community College District schools like Rio Hondo and Antelope Valley to ensure that there is a robust pipeline from historically marginalized communities into careers in transportation electrification.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.
Our activation tactics are intended to meet Angelenos where they are at and deepen their engagement in the movement, ensuring a ladder of engagement that gives everyone starting out with our campaign the tools and resources to develop and take on more leadership over time. Our activation tactics combine light engagement with deep engagement, providing pathways for leaders to carry the work forward after the two-year activation ends. It’s critical that this activation effort build a durable, long-term movement for clean air, green careers, and a healthy, equitable environment.
As organizers, we meet people where they’re at, and today that means activating people on social media. Through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, along with emails, text messaging, and other digital tools, we will activate Angelenos in a variety of tactics from tweetstorms to petitions, phone calls and more. Engagement means anyone who takes a specific, tangible action, whether it’s signing a petition, volunteering, placing a call, or asking their peers to get involved.
In addition to our digital work, we will be organizing on the ground with young people and parents across LA, from the classroom, to events, trainings, workshops, and more. Folks who get involved will be given opportunities to get more engaged. Activation means taking an action at school, at home, or in our communities, whether it be a petition, attending an event, or participating in a workforce development program.
Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?
We hope that this activation for electric school buses serves to strengthen the movement for a zero-emissions, equitable future in LA county. Each of our campaigns seeks to build on the previous campaign to support the next. We believe this campaign is winnable based, in part, on the work of our coalition to transition agencies like LADOT and LA Metro to 100 percent electric buses. Collectively, our campaigns build a legacy of good jobs in manufacturing electric buses, installing electric infrastructure, and engaging the public in the effort to clean up our air, fight climate change, and build a fairer economy. In five years, we hope to be running campaigns to electrify the region’s trucks, street sweepers, garbage trucks, and more, all the while using those policies to create the good jobs LA County needs to support historically excluded communities access good careers.