Climate Resolve Interview: Emmanuel Lopez

Posted by on November 23, 2016

emmanuel-interview-picDescribe your work in one sentence.

I am a CivicSpark Fellow that is working on ensuring that the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) region has a more robust participation in the State Affordable Housing & Sustainable Communities program.

What inspired you on your career path?

I think it’s a pretty mixed bag. On the one hand, my time on the Speech and Debate team in community college gave me the opportunity to do a persuasive speech (that won awards, thank you very much) about the harassment that climate scientists face in the U.S. That got me unnerved because I detest bullies and I feel like of all the people that could be bullied, they should be last. They’re just trying to keep the planet green! On the other hand, my Senior Honor’s thesis at UCSD was on the Political Economy of Chile’s Renewable Energy Sector. It was a really rough six months of research, but it got me really interested in policy analysis and renewable energy.

What are the key external factors that drive your work?

Animals. I really love animals and I hate that they’re losing both their lives and well-being because of mistakes that human beings have made. To me, it’s unthinkable that we drove a large mammal (the West African Black Rhino) to extinction out of greed. My work focuses on sustainability for humans, but also for the fuzzies (and not-so-fuzzies)!

What have you added to your field/workplace? Brag a little: what’s your value-add?

Once I get moving, it takes mountains to stop me. I’m also very passionate, and I think that, given the right circumstances, that passion is what makes me want to make sure the world is a better place when I leave than when I came in.

A genie grants you two wishes to help fight climate change. What do you ask for? (And what would you do with the third wish?)

To make climate change deniers believe (or stop lying). It still worries me that there are people who can look at science and data and still claim that these things are a hoax.

Maybe to also end corruption in politics.

Third wish would probably be to bring back all of the lost flora and fauna from deforestation.

Name two things you like most about LA, and what would you change?

I love the vibrant culture and from that culture: the food. I also love the ridiculousness of the city. If you just walk around and listen for thirty minutes, it’s like reading a William S. Burroughs novel in real life.