Green jobs, an emphasis on public transportation and other key environmental issues central to Ventura County will make up the basis of a community-building luncheon on Friday, Sept. 18.

Touching on the Iroquois “Seven Generations” motif, a warning that living unsustainably will impact the seventh generation of people into the future, the event, hosted by CAUSE (Oxnard’s Central Coast United for a Sustainable Economy) will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Residence Inn Marriott in Oxnard.

It will mark the third annual luncheon for CAUSE, says the group’s executive director, Marcos Vargas.

“The purpose of the event is to bring together members of the community to better understand the work of CAUSE,” he said. “It’s an effort to engage the community more effectively, but also to increase our community support.”

Keynote speaker at the event will be Maria Echaveste, a Ventura County native who is the former White House deputy chief of staff for President Clinton during his second term.

“She’s local, so she has a great understanding of our region, but also has a global perspective,” Vargas said.

Diana Marquez, a CAUSE consultant, elaborated on the selection of Echaveste.

“Basically, (she) has been involved in bankruptcy reform, international issues related to Latin America,” said Marquez.

The event’s master of ceremonies is Dr. Manuel Pastor, an economist who directs the Environmental and Regional Equity program at the University of Southern
California.

“He works with us on our environmental justice studies,” said Marquez, adding that Pastor was instrumental in aiding, for the last three years, CAUSE’s integral part in dealings with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to tear down and clean up the Halaco site in Oxnard. Last month, it was announced that federal officials would raze the buildings of the former toxic waste plant at Ormond Beach by the end of the year.

Between Echaveste and Pastor, several topics will be explored around sustainability matters, according to Marquez, that include transportation, green jobs and environmental justice.

“We’re working around issues like expanding public transportation and decreasing use of the automobile in the region,” Vargas said.

There will also be a discussion on the creation of more, better paying green jobs across the county, which it is hoped will promote a healthier environment.

“The potential is there, coming from the national level in the commitment of making more ‘green collar’ jobs, but also at the local level,” said Vargas. “At the grass-roots, community level, there’s a strong voice in government taking a role in creating green jobs.”

Marquez said local elected officials, as well as local clergy and business leaders, are expected to attend the free event, which is nearing capacity, he said. Those interested in attending, making a donation to CAUSE, or seeking other information can call 658-0810 or e-mail eduardo@coastalalliance.com.   

paul@vcreporter.com