EAST COUNTY LEADERS ORGANIZE FUTURE SAN DIEGO: GREEN ECONOMY

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Oct. 18 event at UCSD to feature Lt. Governor John Garamendi, green
jobs fair and more

By Miriam Raftery

Event organizers Chuck Brands (left) of El Cajon
and Mark Hanson of Lakeside (right) with keynote speaker, Lt. Governor John
Garamendi (center)

October
1, 2008 (San Diego) -
Looking for a “green” job?  Own
a business seeking to save energy and money with eco-friendly technologies?

You’ll find a wealth of information on these topics and more at Future
San Diego: Green Economy, an all-day program on October 18th dedicated to educating
the public on ways to transition our region to a more secure and environmentally
sound economy. 

Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, who is running for Governor, will be the
keynote luncheon speaker at the event, which will be held at the UCSD Institute
of the Americas.  The event is sponsored by United Green, a division of
the nonprofit Heartland Coalition dedicated to empowering a sustainable community.

“As Lieutenant Governor, John Garamendi is in charge of economic development
and protecting the environment,” said Mark Hanson, PhD, executive director
of Heartland Coalition, which also publishes East County Magazine.  “He
will speak on green jobs for a sustainable economy statewide.”  Garamendi’s
presentation will cover economic development as well as making businesses more
effective and creating better jobs through sustainable energy initiatives. 

“We are trying to work with universities and nonprofits to have town
hall meetings and discuss the green economy in hopes that it can bring jobs
back, help the environment and have clean energy,” Hanson explained.  “The
green economy is the way we can replace some of those jobs that have been sent
over to India or China. It’s a way people can have a living wage, some
benefits, and also have hope for the future.”

The program will include a green jobs fair as well as educational opportunities. “There
will be multi-national businesses looking for engineers and people who can
install photovoltaic cells or solar thermal,” Hanson noted.  In
addition, local colleges will have information on training programs in green
jobs, such as a three-course offering at City College. 

The program also features a presentation on job opportunities for the deaf
and disabled.  “Over 80% of the deaf community is unemployed,” said
Hanson. “They are capable but nobody wants to hire an interpreter.  We
will look at benefits to employers and the potential for people to get good
jobs with benefits even if they are disabled.”

Businesses seeking to be more productive can learn how to save money while
going green. For instance, many new building materials such as insulated panels
are less costly than traditional wood-framed construction and also drastically
reduce energy costs.  “You can audit your building and make changes
that pay for themselves in three months through energy savings, or look at
tax credits for solar energy,” Hanson said, adding that installing solar
can pay for itself in a few years, depending upon geographic location.

Besides tracks on green economies, green businesses and green jobs, presentations
on bicycling and green transporation will also be featured.

United Green is the brainchild of El Cajon resident Chuck Brands and Hanson,
a Lakeside resident.  Heartland has been involved in environmental and
conservation issues for many years through its Project Destination before establishing
United Green last year. 

The entity’s first major event last year at UCSD drew hundreds of participants.  It
featured architect Ed Mazria, whose Architecture 2030 plan has been widely
adopted by architecture and building professionals as well as cities across
the U.S. to require energy self-sustainability in new construction and major
remodeling projects.

United Green plans additional Future San Diego events --  including an
upcoming event in East County.  “Our next one will be specifically
focused on green jobs – saving inner city youths as well as polar bears,” Hanson
disclosed. “We are hoping to have the next event at San Diego State University,
but we could have one at Cuyamaca.”

All event tickets for the October 18 event cost $180, including all meals.  Morning/afternoon  or
morning/evening passes are available for $120, with evening passes for $60.  Tickets
to Carol Padden’s lecture on “The Future of Sign Language” at
7 p.m. are available for $25, or $15 for students.

For more information, registration and tickets, visit www.unitedgreen.org.

Miriam Raftery holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental
studies from UCSD. She has been writing about sustainable energy since
the 1970s.