Building sustainable communities for over 30 years


Originally founded in 1984 as the Center for the Study of Law and Politics, the Environmental Policy Center (EPC) has a long history of conducting diverse perspective forums of discussion and debate as well as conferences on sustainability issues. The EPC staff has designed and implemented high-profile public education campaigns such as California's Flex Your Power campaign, and the subsequent Flex Alert energy conservation network. 


Read about our accomplishments


Originally founded by Walter McGuire when he was the Associate Dean of the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, the Center for the Study of Law and Politics focused on issues of vital concern today. Among them were an examination of the Buckley vs. Vallejo Supreme Court decision that equated money and speech in the context of political campaigns, opening up unlimited campaign funding and paving the way for the Citizen’s United case that said corporations were “people” with the same ability to contribute unlimited sums of money to political committees. Other forums included the California initiative process and campaign finance reform.

Renamed the Environmental Policy Center (EPC), the organization continued its work conducting diverse perspective forums of discussion and debate; publishing handbooks and case studies; and producing large-scale national and worldwide events.

The Center worked along side of Mr. McGuire’s firm, McGuire & Co., Inc., as that firm focused on campaigns and events promoting environmental quality, health care, and other public benefits.

This website summarizes the efforts of both organizations, and provides the strategies, organizational structures, media and materials used to make each a success. It is the hope of the EPC that this material will help others continue the work of promoting sustainability.

A few of the best-known examples include the 1990 20th Anniversary of Earth Day. This Earth Day celebration involved more than 200 million people in 140 countries and was hailed as the largest public event in history. At the behest of the Governor at the height of the energy crisis, the firm designed and directed the historically successful Flex Your Power Energy Conservation Campaign for the State of California. That successful campaign continues today as the “Flex Alert” emergency notification system for the California Independent Systems Operator that manages the California electricity grid and the Energy Upgrade educational campaign promoting energy efficiency.

A couple of the best know events include the 1984 Olympic Torch Relay across the United States in 84 days to open the Los Angeles Games. Viewed by over 30 million people, the event stands today as one of the largest fundraisers for Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA. This feat was repeated in 1996 for the Atlanta games with another torch relay honoring local community heroes, and the World Cup Legacy Tour to open the first ever in the United States World Cup. The Legacy Tour expanded soccer through hundreds of events and clinics in cities, designed to promote new soccer leagues and bring supporters to these league. Pope John Paul II’s two and a half day visit to Los Angeles had as a central theme diversity of peoples and religions.

Examples of major conferences and summits included a number on sustainability, including the Presidio Conference in conjunction with the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, the State’s Smart Growth Summit and the State Treasurer’s Smart Investing in the California Economy (the “triple bottom line”) conference.

In the early 1990’s, the EPC authored numerous publications including the ten volume "Building Sustainable Communities" handbook series, known as the Global Cities Project. At the time it was perhaps the seminal work on local environmental policies and programs. EPC additionally researched over 6,000 environmental programs, compiled over 600 Best Practice Guides of successful environmental policies and published the bi-weekly Newswire, then the leading electronic resource on vital California issues.

Other examples of our work, extending beyond sustainability, included setting up Sprint’s state government relations program across the country upon the divestiture of AT&T; the California 2000 Civic Engagement Campaign—Building a Better California; the California Urban Water Conservation Council’s Best Management Practices reporting system; Calstart’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Awareness Campaign; Northrop Corporation’s sustainable Principles; Three national health campaigns—the Walk for Women’s Health, Countdown on Cholesterol, and Walk with Your Doc—on behalf of Feeling Fine Productions and the American Medical Association; the City of Sacramento’s Sesquicentennial Celebration; the California Academy of Science’s building program; and the recycling education program for Norcal (now Recology).

These examples are but a few of the accomplishments of the EPC and McGuire & Co. that were dedicated to the public good. We are proud of our many successes, and it is our hope that the lessons learned, the strategies and the work products can be helpful to others working on building a more just and sustainable world.