Environmental Justice Project

The USGBC California Annual Environmental Justice Project was initiated to close the divide between social justice and environmental resilience, as we acknowledge that the impacts of climate change disproportionately affect the communities most in need. Historical injustices, racial segregation, redlining, and the placement of hazardous pollution sources in disadvantaged communities have combined to generate disparities in pollution and access to resources, which are evident in California and throughout the United States today. Enhancing equity is a crucial element in constructing a more sustainable city for all its inhabitants. Environmental Justice Projects are designed to empower local individuals, communities, and organizations to implement initiatives that promote sustainability and social justice within their neighborhoods, fostering tangible transformation.

The Environmental Justice Project Committee is dedicated to ensuring that the chosen project garners community support, possesses an educational and sustainable focus, can be replicated, and enhances various socio-economic conditions. The Committee was established to select the recipient of the annual Environmental Justice Project Grant from USGBC California. After identifying each year’s project, the Committee offers assistance in the areas of design, development, volunteer backing, and resource referrals to ensure that the recipient team can effectively serve its target community.

Submissions for our Environmental Justice Project in 2024 are CLOSED.

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The Reverence Project’s Survivor’s Healing Garden was selected as the recipient of the 2023 Legacy Project award. This recognition highlights the enduring impact and significance of this transformative initiative, which will serve as a beacon of hope and healing for survivors of violent crime in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The Survivor’s Healing Garden, with its native landscape design, super adobe fire circle bench, bridge, and mosaic tiles art installation, embodies the essence of resilience and community support. It will provide a serene and supportive environment for survivors to find solace, strength, and connection as they navigate their healing journey.

As the 2023 Legacy Project, The Reverence Project’s Survivor’s Healing Garden will leave a lasting imprint on the community, symbolizing the power of collective action in promoting healing, resilience, and environmental justice. This project stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment to creating spaces of healing and empowerment for all members of the community.


The 2022 Legacy Project was awarded to The Reverence Project’s Survivor’s Healing Garden, which will serve as a place of reflection and gathering for survivors of violent crime in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. Featuring native California vegetation, meditative trails, pergolas, and art installations, this green space will facilitate healing and restorative justice solutions among community members.


The 2021 Legacy Project was awarded to the Boyle Heights Resiliency Center, part of the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory, a well-loved and respected local cultural institution. With plans featuring solar energy, water storage, air quality monitoring, battery backup power, and urban agriculture, the Hub aims to provide emergency training, communication services, and resources at a conveniently accessible community location. (Press Release)

Partners for the 2021 Legacy Project:


The 2020 Legacy Project was awarded to The West Adams Resiliency Garden to support formerly incarcerated individuals with employment and healing through building and caring for a garden at McCarty Memorial Christian Church. Read our Press Release on The West Adams Resiliency Garden.

Partners for the 2020 Legacy Project:


Watch this presentation on our 2020 Legacy Project held during our Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo: Resiliency and Reentry in the Garden: The Sunflower That Grew From Concrete


The 2019 Legacy Project was awarded to the Regenerative Learning Garden (RLG) at Arroyo High School. This area is considered a food desert without access to farmers markets or farm fresh organic produce. The RLG will serve the local community through education and engagement opportunities by demonstrating a variety of techniques for drought conditions to provide the community an opportunity and space to learn the principles of climate change and how to support watershed and regenerative landscapes. 

Partners for the 2019 Legacy Project:
  1. Arroyo High School
  2. Eco Urban Gardens


The 2018 Legacy Project was awarded to the Discovery Garden at the Simi Valley Public Library. This project was designed to bring a natural, native garden to the community of Simi Valley, with the opportunity for education on the importance of native landscaping to reduce water consumption and promote sustainability, encourage natural wildlife, and to help inspire the members of the community to do more to conserve natural resources citywide.

The Discovery Garden repurposed an underutilized and inefficient space in order to create the natuve plant garden equipped with low water use, ADA-inclusive learning spaces, and providing an area for children, families, caregivers, and educators. 


Partners for the 2018 Legacy Project:
    1. City of Simi Valley
    2. Theodore Payne Foundation


The 2017 Legacy Project was awarded to Community Services Unlimited, Inc. to transform a school bus no longer in use into a classroom and plant nursery. The Veggie Bus serves communities in South Los Angeles through education and provides a tangible solution to urban agriculture and sustainability for the community. You can read our past press release here.


Partners for the 2017 Legacy Project:
    1. Community Services Unlimited, Inc.


The 2016 Legacy Project was awarded to T4T.org (formerly Trash 4 Teaching, now Two Bit Circus) to help build out the Eco-Tech Maker Space which offered the Gardena community S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) curricula, hands-on learning, and environmental stewardship emanating from the reuse of discarded, safe manufacturing materials. This project, initiated in conjunction with USGBC California’s hosting of 2016 Greenbuild, initially serviced five area Title 1 LAUSD schools, prior to the general community. (Press Release)

Partners for the 2016 Legacy Project:
      1. T4T (formerly Trash 4 Teaching, now Two Bit Circus)
      2. Wazoku

Join the Environmental Justice Project Committee as a Member!

Would you like to make a meaningful contribution to our cause? You’re invited to be a part of our community, which includes thought leaders, experts in various fields, and sustainability professionals. This community serves as a hub for climate activism within our local area, and you can get involved by becoming a member.

If you’re interested in becoming a member of USGBC California, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Explore our membership options for additional details!

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