Spotlight on 3C-REN’s Itzel Torres
Growing up in Oxnard as the daughter of agricultural workers, I’ve seen firsthand how environmental decisions—like the use of pesticides—can impact communities and affect people’s lives. Many people in my neighborhood had respiratory problems, including my mother and brother, who both have asthma. As I learned more about health impacts and environmental justice, the value of sustainability became clear to me.
At the UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, I studied how the built environment can either continue or help solve issues of injustice and inequity, like lack of access to healthy food and affordable housing, or higher levels of pollution in lower-income communities. I became inspired to put my studies to practice and bring meaningful change back to my home—the Central Coast. This is an amazing place with amazing people.
In 2019, I became a Climate Fellow through the CivicSpark program, an initiative dedicated to building capacity for local public agencies to address community resilience issues such as climate change. I was drawn to apply to the position with 3C-REN to advance their energy and climate action goals. Although my background was in urban planning, I am enjoying the opportunity to immerse myself in the field of energy efficiency. I see how programs like 3C-REN’s can transform communities like the one I grew up in, by providing education and job training for people in the energy and building industry.
In my time as a CivicSpark Climate Fellow, I collaborated with colleagues and gained a better understanding of climate issues in California. I also witnessed the impact 3C-REN has on the Central Coast in shifting how people view energy efficiency, and supporting the livelihood and longevity of not only the planet, but the people living in it. Now, as a Program Administrator working out of Ventura County’s Sustainability Division, I continue doing the work I am passionate about.
In my work with 3C-REN, I am honored to help plan the future of our programs. Together we work to ensure that our region continues to support residents and to be the most energy efficient it can be.