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LGBT community members to be represented at sustainability conference this weekend

SAN DIEGO -- A two-day conference focusing on sustainability will be held in San Diego this weekend and those within the LGBT community will notice many familiar faces participating in the event.

San Diego State University will play host to UnitedGREEN's second Forging a Sustainable Future symposium, which will feature a weekend of workshops, presentations and educational forums on living a more green lifestyle to protect communities for future generations.

Local activist and writer Walter "Max" Meyer, who is serving as one of the co-chairs of the event, pointed out a number of openly LGBT community leaders who will participate in this forum, emphasizing the importance of all communities coming together to discuss the future of our planet.

“I was an ‘environmental’ writer before I became a ‘gay’ writer, so I was only too happy to help do whatever I can to help the larger community," Meyer said. "I have participated in beach clean-ups with Gay For Good as well as groups like Coastkeeper and Heal the Bay, so it is a cause that is important to me. Putting on this conference is easier than picking up trash.”

Amongst notable LGBT community members who plan to attend include activist Stephen Whitburn, who is scheduled to MC the event. Whitburn has run for San Diego City Council and the County Board of Supervisors, and currently serves on the boards of the ACLU and San Diego Pride.

Kevin Beiser, an openly gay member of the San Diego school board, will sit on Saturday's energy panel discussion. Beiser has been instrumental in not only pushing for progressive anti-bullying policies, but also trying to get the schools to go green through the installation of solar panels, recycling and other projects.

On Sunday morning, sustainability consultant Morgan Pitts, who is also openly gay, will present what he calls “the 30,000 foot view,” addressing how all areas of a region must work together, culturally, economically and environmentally. Pitts has presented to the European Parliament in Brussels, has provided support for the NRDC’s green building team in Beijing and is conducting research for the United Nations University for Peace.

Pitts plans to ask the question, “How do we remake the human presence in the world in a way that is sustainable, fair and just, and which creates no ugliness now or for future generations?”

He will talk about how the Ohio city of Oberlin is working toward that goal and how those same ideas can be applied to the San Diego/Tijuana/Imperial County region.

Other speakers at the forum include Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who will give the keynote address; Congresswoman Susan Davis, who will give the opening remarks; Congressmen Bob Filner, appearing on the food panel; University of Florida professor Joseli Macedo from Curitiba, Brazil; Heather Honea of SDSU; and Capt. Marko Medved, who is in charge of the Navy’s efforts to go green in the Southwestern U.S.

Tickets to the two-day event are $95 for the public and $35 for members of partner organizations, and $10 for students. More information and tickets are available HERE.