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    Earth Day Organizers to Honor Greenpeace USA’s Annie Leonard as 2021 Environmental Hero

    The Community Environmental Council’s annual award will recognize Leonard for her bold climate action
    The Community Environmental Council (CEC) proudly announces Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, as the recipient of its 2021 Environmental Hero Award, presented as part of CEC’s Virtual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival being held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, April 22-24. The free festival is available to view at Leonard will join the festival on Saturday, April 24 to share insights into her vital work and accept the award in an interview with Community Environmental Council CEO Sigrid Wright and UC Santa Barbara Dehlsen Chair of Environmental Studies and Director of the Global Environmental Justice Project Dr. David N. Pellow. Check for the confirmed time closer to the event.

    Annie Leonard is the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, an independent environmental organization that uses research, creative communication, non violent direct action and people-power to advance environmental solutions. She is the founder of The Story of Stuff and previously spent two decades working on international sustainability as well as environmental and health issues.

    “It’s a huge honor to receive CEC’s Environmental Hero award,” stated Leonard. “CEC played a crucial role in the early days of the US environmental movement, raising the alarm and recruiting people to join – and it continues to do so today, working for solutions to climate and pollution that align with the demands of both science and justice.” She went on to say that California is the “pace car” in the climate race – meaning both the state and regional organizations like CEC have a huge responsibility in moving the rest of the world forward.

    This year’s festival theme is #CelebrateClimateLeadership, and the free three-day virtual event will focus on key areas where youth, business, and community climate leaders are stepping up to do the critical work needed to combat the climate crisis. CEC will also use the event to dive deeper into the organization’s ambitious plan for how our community can meet the urgency of the climate crisis and go all in together on halting the impacts of climate change – rapidly and equitably – to reverse, repair, and protect against climate threats.

    “President Biden’s ambitious climate agenda puts a strong wind at our backs, but at least 50% of implementing climate policy will take unrelenting and courageous action at the regional level,” said Wright. “Annie Leonard’s work exemplifies what it means to build the broad, boots-on-the-ground base of activism that we need to go all in together on the climate crisis.”

    Annie Leonard joins an esteemed list of previous Environmental Heroes, including: “Drawdown” author and activist Paul Hawken; U.S. Congressmembers Lois Capps and Salud Carbajal; “The OMD Plan: Swap One Meal a Day to Save your Health and Save the Planet” author Suzy Amis Cameron and director James Cameron; Marcus Eriksen of 5 Gyres; founder Bill McKibben; science educator Bill Nye; activist/actress Daryl Hannah; and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.

    Other Virtual Santa Barbara Earth Day Events/Activities:

    UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Dr. Robert Bullard: The Quest for Environmental and Racial Justice
    Wednesday, April 21 at 5:00 p.m.
    With more than four decades of action advocating for racial equality and fair environmental and urban planning, Dr. Robert Bullard is widely considered the father of the environmental justice movement. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Dr. David N. Pellow. Presented as part of the Race to Justice series by UCSB Arts & Lectures in association with CEC, the Central Coast Climate Justice Network, UCSB Bren School for Environmental Science & Management and UCSB Environmental Studies. Learn more and register.CEC’s Annual Climate Crisis Leadership Summit
    Saturday, April 24
    Following the Environmental Hero Award Interview, the Summit will feature climate leaders from around the community sharing their current projects, identifying needs, and offering opportunities for engagement. Learn more and register.

    Virtual Santa Barbara Earth Day Exhibit Hall
    Thursday-Saturday, April 22-24 and through Saturday, May 22
    Visit exhibitor booths to connect and engage with local businesses and organizations who will share their eco-friendly products and services. The virtual exhibit hall will be open April 22 through May 22, offering exhibitors 30 full days of opportunity to connect with Earth Day attendees, which numbered over 41,000 during the 2020 virtual event.

    During the three day festival, attendees can interact through live chat with exhibitors in between scheduled programming, or jump in any time to browse the virtual stores and find opportunities to take climate action. Dozens of eco-minded exhibitors are already signed up, including: Art from Scrap, BarrierEnergy, Brighten Solar, Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Citizens Climate Lobby, Explore Ecology, Ganna Walska Lotusland, GeoComb Homes, Inc, Los Padres ForestWatch, Rooted Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, and more. Exhibitor booths still available. Register for a booth at

    Festival Partners

    In 2021 the Community Environmental Council is partnering with Carp Events, Central Coast Clean Cities Coalition (C5), Cultivate Events, LOACOM, Mercury Press International, New Noise Music Foundation, Oniracom, Pharos Creative, Tri-County Regional Energy Network (3C-REN), UCSB Arts & Lectures, West Beach Films, and Write Kinda Girl to produce the event.

    Sponsors currently include Marborg Industries, the City of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Clean Energy, Carp Growers, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, Oniracom, Santa Barbara Independent, Advanced Veterinary Specialists, Armand Hammer Foundation, Bye Bye Mattress, Central Coast Community Energy, County of Santa Barbara One Climate Initiative, Farmacy, Glass House Farms, LOACOM, Quantum Energy Squares, Lazy Acres and Will Hahn Productions. Media sponsors include KJEE, Edhat, Hope Ranch Living, Noozhawk, and Voice Magazine. Become a sponsor at

    About CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day

    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. Led by a group of forward-thinking youth and elders, CEC incorporated in the spring of 1970 and its first act as a new nonprofit was to hold an Earth Day celebration – a one block long teach-in between State St. and Chapala St along Anapamu. Around the country, 20 million concerned citizens attended similar events. We recognize that “every day is earth day” and that special events like this are a way to bring diverse voices from our community together as a reminder to tread lightly on the planet.

    For up-to-the-minute information on CEC’s #CelebrateClimateLeadership Virtual Earth Day Festival:

    About the Community Environmental Council (CEC)

    Recognized as a 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year and 2020 City of Santa Barbara Climate Hero, CEC has worked since 1970 to incubate and innovate real life environmental solutions that directly affect the California Central Coast. Our current work advances rapid and equitable solutions to the climate crisis – including ambitious zero carbon goals, drawdown of excess carbon, and protection against the impacts of climate change. Our programs lead to clean vehicles, solar energy, resilient food systems and reduction of single-use plastic. Learn more about why CEC is one of only five nonprofits in Santa Barbara County to have the highest possible ratings on Charity Navigator and Guidestar at Find CEC on the web at and on,,, and

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