Joyce Thung

Joyce Thung

My name's Joyce Thung. I'm from California. I go to school at the University of California, Los Angeles where I am a Masters in Environmental Health Sciences candidate.

What got you interested in sustainability?

My interest in sustainability first sparked when I saw the documentary Cowspiracy. I was shocked at how conventional food production is negatively impacting our environment. However, the film explained that pursuing sustainability is a feasible, forward-thinking solution that can help curb climate change and make our communities more self-sustaining.

What sustainability, energy, and mobility issues are important to you?

I am most concerned with health issues that arise from current inefficient and polluting modes of transportation. As a Los Angeles resident and public health student, I have growing concern for the transportation-related health issues, such as increased mental stress from traffic and the poor air quality from increased car emissions. I hope to support sustainability projects that address mobility issues and transportation-related emissions that disproportionately affect certain community groups.

What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

This spring quarter, two colleagues and I are working on a class project with the South Los Angeles-based community organization, Community Health Councils (CHC). Currently, Los Angeles Metro is creating a new Metro Crenshaw/LAX Line to connect more people to the LAX airport. Per CHC’s request, our team is producing a demographic profile of the Crenshaw Corridor, a group of neighborhoods surrounding the Metro Line. We are predicting the unexpected health impacts that the development will bring to the community, whether through increases in gentrification, housing burden, or local business development.

I am also currently working with Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy to create a health impact assessment (HIA) on the urban waste incinerator in Long Beach. The incinerator has been a better alternative to the methane-producing landfills; however, studies have shown that incinerators are not always clean-burning. Whether or not the incinerator continues to operate will impact the surrounding communities, including respiratory disease risks, climate change, and truck traffic in the commercial waste hauling sector. My goal of this 8-month project is to produce an evidence-based HIA with policy recommendations that city officials can use to make health-focused changes to the incinerator.  

What are your plans for the next five years?

I hope to work in the non-profit sector and promote health-based policy recommendations that support sustainability efforts in Los Angeles. After a few years, I aim to work with the City of Los Angeles in the “Sustainability City pLAn” to meet zero-waste, energy-efficient, and zero-emissions goals.

What made you want to apply to SISE?

The “Transportation NEXT” theme had such a connection with my current projects and my career goals. I also don’t have much knowledge of corporate sustainability, so I really appreciate SISE’s site visits with local businesses. I was also drawn to the program’s priorities on multi-sectoral collaboration, which is a very important aspect of public health.

What are you most looking forward to doing in the city?

I am excited to see the city’s sustainability efforts. Obviously, I’m excited to visit all the tourist attractions, like the Bean. I also love running outdoors in urban parks, so I am excited to visit green spaces like the Lakefront Trail. Lastly, I look forward to explore the diverse food scene and finally try deep dish pizza for the first time!

Do you like cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

I prefer dogs but I am willing to like cats if I meet one that doesn’t hide from me…