Earth Day Organizers to Honor 2019 Environmental Heroes Acting on the Climate Crisis

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) proudly announces the recipients of its 2019 Environmental Hero Award: Author Suzy Amis Cameron, and Sunrise Movement UCSB student activist Rose Strauss. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, a strong advocate for environmental protection during her long tenure in the state legislature, will be a presenter for the awards. The awards are granted as part of CEC’s annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival being held Saturday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Alameda Park, with a bonus free concert on Friday, April 26 from 5 p.m to 9 p.m, when only the Main Stage and Beer & Wine Garden will be open.

In a year marking the 50th anniversary of the Santa Barbara Channel Oil Spill that inspired the environmental movement, events over Earth Month will call on that same spirit of grassroots activism to rally in the face of today’s climate emergency.

“The momentum of today’s climate movement is palpable. It’s fueled locally from the pronounced impacts of climate-driven extreme weather and nationally by reports like October’s alarming IPCC Special Report on the Impacts of Global Warming – which warns that we have just over a decade to make a massive, all-in shift to avoid the worst of climate change,” commented Sigrid Wright, CEO/Executive Director of CEC. “This year’s heroes reflect CEC’s approach of addressing the climate emergency through political and personal action. Suzy’s call for mindful meals exemplifies the powerful impact individuals can make on climate change through daily choice, while Rose’s activism to push for a Green New Deal speaks to the political will needed to take immediate, drastic measures in policy.”

Environmental Hero & Other Awards

Amis Cameron and Strauss will each accept the honor in person at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 27 at the festival Main Stage. Amis Cameron is a long-time advocate for plant-based solutions to address climate change. Most recently, she authored OMD (One Meal a Day): The Simple, Plant-Based Program to Save Your Health, Save Your Waistline, and Save the Planet, part of a multi-pronged effort to transform eating habits and the food system. Her husband, director James Cameron – who received CEC’s 2010 Environmental Hero Award – and she have founded multiple organizations and initiatives that center on food and the environment. Directly before the awards, Amis Cameron will do a talk and sign books (available for sale) at the Homegrown Roots stage from 1:00 -1:30 p.m.

UCSB Environmental Studies major Rose Strauss began working on climate issues in high school when she got involved with a campaign opposing a coal train in Oakland. That inspired her, as a 14-year-old freshman, to found the Bay Area Youth for Climate Action group. After graduating high school, she got involved at the national level with a fellowship from the Sunrise Movement. She gained a large public following by demanding climate accountability from politicians and took a sabbatical from her university education to advocate for immediate policy changes to address climate change. She is now back at UCSB and is the co-coordinator of the Sunrise Movement’s High School Campaign for the Green New Deal.

Explore Ecology Environmental Stewardship Award
As part of the Main Stage awards ceremony, the winners of the Explore Ecology Environmental Stewardship Awards – given to teachers, classes, schools, clubs, and students who create positive change for the environment – will be recognized by Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Cary Matsuoka. Winners of this award will have an extended ceremony and give speeches on the Kids Stage at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 27.

LACI Earth Day Innovator Award
A new inaugural award is also being presented by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). CEC is the northernmost partner of LACI, a non-profit, public-private partnership that helps promising companies deliver market-ready clean-tech solutions. Their Earth Day Innovator Award will recognize a startup that addresses one of our toughest clean energy challenges: renewable energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, grid optimization, or EV charging. The winner will also give a pitch on the Eco Marketplace stage about their work. 

Other Climate Resilience Events/Activities

The Community Environmental Council is adding additional events to foster conversation and action before, during and after the festival that will support the community in rallying to face the climate emergency, and in taking action to build a more climate-resilient future:

  • The Climate Crisis and Our Community: Sea-Level Rise and Health Impacts – Wednesday, April 17, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m., Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Public Library. The League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara present an April Community Forum to address a critical question: How will the climate crisis affect our community? A panel will look at the range of impacts and focus on sea-level rise and human health effects, and what we can do. Panelists will include Kathi King, Director of Outreach & Education at the Community Environmental Council, Linda Rudolph, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Climate Change and Health at the Public Health Institute, local planners, and health experts.
  • Earth Day Climate Summit – Sunday, April 28, 9:00-11:00 a.m., Alameda Park Pavilion across from the Main Stage) CEC is bringing climate-focused groups together to mobilize immediate public action on climate change. Youth activists and seasoned climate leaders are invited to join us for a special summit on the second day of CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival. Co-facilitated by CEC CEO/Executive Director Sigrid Wright and UCSB Environmental Studies Program Chair David Pellow. Continental breakfast included. RSVP required at
  • The Spill that Rocked the World: A 50th Anniversary Photographic Retrospective of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill – Saturday, April 27 & Sunday, April 28, Installation along Anacapa Street in the Eco Marketplace, Alameda Park, Santa Barbara. An array of images document the aftermath of the 1969 Santa Barbara Channel Oil Spill, which served as the impetus for the modern environmental movement. Curated by Mercury Press Int’l and Pharos Creative with design support from Lucidity Festivals.
  • In Love With Earth: Testimonies and Heartsongs of an Environmental Elder – Saturday, April 27 11:30 a.m. & Sunday, April 28, 2:00 p.m. Eco Marketplace Stage. Alameda Park, Santa Barbara. Founding Community Environmental Council Board member Marc McGinnes will speak about his memoir of ongoing work in the environmental movement at its birthplace in Santa Barbara after the devastating 1969 oil blowout. Books available for purchase and signing.

The festival itself will have dozens of other ways for attendees to learn about and take action on building climate resilience and addressing the climate emergency, including:

  • Eco Marketplace: Sugar Mill Farms, Channel Islands Restoration, So Delicious, Final Straw, Brighten Solar, All Good, Sun & Swell Foods
  • Great Outdoors: Various UCSB groups working on biodiversity and restoration projects; the SB Wildlife Care Network, UCSB Adventure Climbing Tower and archery games
  • Home Grown Roots: SB Beekeepers Association, Farming for Life, Get Hooked Seafood, Edible Santa Barbara, Cuyama Cider Company
  • Kids Corner: Explore Ecology, Learningden Preschool, Surf Happens, Pura Stainless, SB Museum of Natural History, MOXI
  • Green Car Show: Toyota Mirai, Central Coast Clean Cities Coalition, Pedego Electric Bikes, BMW
  • Public Square: City of Santa Barbara, MarBorg Industries, Gaviota Coast Conservancy, Surfrider, Environmental Defense Center, Bye Bye Mattress

“Fifty years ago, an oil spill in Santa Barbara happened and sparked 20 million people to gather across the U.S. a year later on a newly minted Earth Day to seek environmental solutions,” said Wright. “In the face of today’s climate crisis, that is the spirit of engagement and activism we are seeing develop again, and the Earth Day Festival remains our region’s best forum to harness and act on that energy.”

One way community members can get involved is by volunteering. Over 300 community volunteers annually step forward to help around the park – greeting attendees as they arrive, supporting in zones like the Green Car Show, capturing moments on camera, and so much more. Volunteers can sign up today for 3-hour shifts as individuals or groups at

Attendees can also engage with: the annual Green Car Show, featuring the largest public collection of efficient and alternative-fueled vehicles on the West Coast with Ride & Drives of electric cars and electric bikes; a Zero Waste zone where the public can learn about waste diversion and help sort in exchange for tickets to the CEC booth drawing; an Elected Officials booth where the community can speak directly to representatives; a Homegrown Roots section with local food artisans; a sustainable Food Court where every vendor is local and committed to sourcing at least 50% of their ingredients from local farms, ranches and food artisans, all serviceware is compostable, and no plastic water bottles are sold; a Great Outdoors section with companies dedicated to enjoying and protecting the natural world; an Eco Marketplace with green solutions for daily life; a Beer & Wine Garden featuring local brewers and vintners; and three mini-stages stages with speakers and interactive demonstrations on environmentally-friendly topics; and over 200 eco-friendly exhibitors

Festival Partners

In 2019 the Community Environmental Council is partnering with Carp Events, Cultivate Events, Learningden Preschool, LoaTree, Lucidity, New Noise, Oniracom, Pharos Creative, SBBike, WA Event Management and Write Kinda Girl to produce the event. Major sponsors currently include MarBorg Industries, the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator, Toyota, So Delicious, the City of Santa Barbara, the Firestone Walker Brewing Company featuring 805 Beer, Cambria Estate Winery, Sugar Mill Farms, BMW, Bank of America,Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians, Santa Barbara Nissan, Bella Vista Designs, Advanced Veterinary Specialists, Water With Life, Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, Armand Hammer Foundation, Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, Coastal Dispensary, Santa Barbara Electric Bikes, Husqvarna, Southern California Edison, Good Energy Solar, and Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals. Major media sponsors include the Santa Barbara Independent,  KJEE, KEYT, Noozhawk, KCSB, MTD, Edhat, KCRW, and Visit Santa Barbara.  


About Suzy Amis Cameron

A noted environmental advocate, founder and mother of five, Suzy Amis Cameron is committed to the principles of sustainability in all aspects of our lives, with an emphasis on plant-based solutions to address climate change. She is the author of OMD: The Simple, Plant-Based Program to Save Your Health, Save Your Waistline, and Save the Planet (Simon & Schuster/Atria) and the founder of the OMD Movement, a multi-pronged effort to transform eating habits and the food system. She is also a Founder of Plant Power Task Force, focused on showing the impact of animal agriculture on climate change and the environment, founded in 2012 with her husband James Cameron and Craig McCaw. In 2005, she founded MUSE School CA, with her sister, Rebecca Amis. MUSE is the first school in the country to be 100% solar powered, zero waste, and with a 100% organic, plant-based lunch program. Based on the engaging and relevant MUSE values and curriculum, they aim to franchise the model worldwide through MUSE Global. Additionally, Suzy is a founder of the plant-based initiatives, Verdient Foods, Cameron Family Farms, and Food Forest Organics, with her husband. In 2009, she launched Red Carpet Green Dress, showcasing socially and environmentally responsible fashions. Suzy has produced documentaries such as Game Changers which is about plant-based athletes and serves on several nonprofit boards. As an actor she was featured in more than 25 films, including The Usual Suspects and Titanic.

About Rose Strauss

Rose Strauss is a UCSB Environmental Studies undergrad and a fellow of the Sunrise Movement, an activist organization mobilizing youth college-age and younger to stop climate change and create new green jobs. Rose became interested in climate justice organizing when she lived in the Bay Area and heard about a proposal to bring coal on a train to Oakland. This catalyzed her work getting political around climate change issues, and at age 14 she started a group called Bay Area Youth for Climate Action. After graduating high school, she wanted to continue her work at the national level, and got involved with the Sunrise Movement by applying for their fellowship program. She campaigned with Sunrise Movement during the 2018 midterm elections, taking a quarter off of school toward that effort. She also played a role facilitating connections between youth climate organizations and the Future Coalition, which organized a student walkout to encourage young people to vote in the 2018 midterm election. Rose is now the co-leader of the Sunrise Movement’s High School Campaign for the Green New Deal.

About CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival 

Widely acknowledged as the birthplace of Earth Day, Santa Barbara’s involvement began with the devastating 1969 oil spill off its coast. This led a local group of concerned citizens to begin discussing a different way of looking at environmental systems. During that time, Senator Gaylord Nelson visited Santa Barbara to view the oil spill damage. When he returned to Washington, D.C., he introduced a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the earth. Over the next few years, the environmental movement was born across the country – including CEC. In the spring of 1970, CEC incorporated and, in its initial act as a new non-profit, hosted Santa Barbara Earth Day, one of the first celebrations of its kind in the country. We recognize that every day is earth day, and that special events like this are a way to bring our community together as a reminder to tread lightly on the planet each and every day. 

For up-to-the-minute information on CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival:
• Find Earth Day on the web at 
• Like “Santa Barbara Earth Day” on 
• Follow the event on Twitter @SBEarthday and on Instagram @SB_EarthDay 
• Call CEC at 805-963-0583 Ext. 112

About Community Environmental Council

Since 1970, CEC has incubated and innovated real life solutions that directly impact climate change. Our programs lead to clean vehicles, solar energy, resilient food systems and reduction of single-use plastic. We educate and activate the community by producing events like the annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival. Our commitment to excellence has made CEC one of only a small handful of nonprofits in Santa Barbara County to earn the highest possible ratings from both Guidestar and Charity Navigator. Find CEC on the web at and on and


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