Environmental economics specialist Van Jones will speak at the Marjorie Luke Theater in downtown Santa Barbara tomorrow to promote the Sustainable Vocations program and his message for a green American economy.
Having served as President Obama’s green jobs adviser and launched three nonprofit organizations targeting human rights and green economics, Jones will share his experiences to benefit the local Sustainable Vocations program, which educates youth about environmental issues and leadership. The event, entitled “Green for All: The Next American Economy,” is hosted by Sustainable Vocations’ parent organization Quail Springs Permaculture, which focuses on sustainability, and “eco-lifestyle” company LoaTree.
According to Sustainable Vocations Co-Director Tynes Viar, the educational series offers programs for students from 15 to 24 years old on topics including natural building, ecological literacy and renewable energy.
“We are not only teaching green skills, but also incorporate interpersonal skills, sustaining relationships with each other and the Earth,” Viar said. “We are trying to create new leaders to enter the economy — it is deeper than learning just green skills; it’s helping them find a vocation, a calling or path and apply sustainability in their life.”
Sustainable Vocations co-founder Warren Brush said Jones actively promotes progress towards sustainability for people from all walks of life.
“The proceeds are going to help our scholarship fund for people who come from socioeconomic backgrounds with limited resources — students who are trying to reach into the community but are unable to,” Brush said. “The scholarship follows Van Jones’ message of a green economy accessible to all — all people in America, not just those who can afford it.”
Jones’ experience with youth makes his message of sustainable lifestyles accessible to a younger audience, Viar said.
“Someone like Van, who has worked a lot with the urban youth and social justice movements, is a very charismatic person young people can identify with,” Viar said. “He speaks a language that resonates with the youth’s social qualities and urban environment.”
According to fourth-year environmental studies major and Environmental Affairs Board co-chair Cristina Cook, Jones’ message addresses the need for new leaders and jobs to create a sustainable green economy.
“Van Jones is an incredibly motivating speaker who is really passionate about our generation … and speaks about the importance of employing people right out of college,” Cook said. “He is one of the most progressive environmentalists and the environmental community really looks up to him.”
Student admission to the event is $10. For more information on the program, visit www.sustainablevocations.org.