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Earth Day Organizers Announce
Congresswoman Lois Capps and
Organization 5 Gyres as 
2016 Environmental Hero Award Recipients

Community Environmental Council works to empower individuals in face of climate change, advocating for collective power of political action and purchasing decisions

March 17, 2016, Santa Barbara, CA – The Community Environmental Council (CEC) proudly announces Congresswoman Lois Capps and plastic-free advocate 5 Gyres as recipients of the 2016 Environmental Hero Award, granted as part of CEC’s annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival being held Saturday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Alameda Park. Both Capps and 5 Gyres co-founder Marcus Eriksen will be present on Saturday to accept the honor in person and speak about their work to protect and preserve the natural environment.

“The concept of climate change can feel overwhelming when looked at as a whole,” commented Sigrid Wright, CEO/Executive Director of CEC. “Congresswoman Capps, through progressive legislation, and 5 Gyres through the research and advocacy of co-founder Marcus Eriksen, both exemplify the power we as individuals have to effect positive change in the face of global warming. We hope Earth Day attendees walk away from this year’s festival and embrace the practical changes they can make by voting to support environmentally sound legislation, like the plastic bag ban in California, and by choosing to eliminate single-use plastic from their lives.”

In addition to honoring Capps and 5 Gyres leadership with the Environmental Hero Award, CEC is actively shaping the 2016 Earth Day festival to engage the public in their responsibility to take personal action against climate change. In a nod to the global agreement reached at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris in December of last year, the festival’s One World theme is a reminder of the need to work together as individuals, communities, and nations to create positive change, one step at a time.

“If we are going to avoid the worst effects of climate change and keep global temperatures from rising more than two degrees – the level at which most scientists agree will allow us to avoid catastrophic droughts, floods, and population displacement – then we all have to act together on this,” said Wright. “As CEC’s work has shown time and again over the past 46 years, working together we can create positive solutions for our community, and these can translate into national, and international, change.”

Leading up to the festival, LoaTree will host its annual Green Drinks benefit for the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival on Wednesday, March 23 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Soho Restaurant & Music Venue. This year’s party will celebrate the Santa Barbara Independent for 30 years of covering environmental issues, featuring music by D.J. Darla Bea, specialty cocktails, and a fun photo projection show. Tickets are $12 in advance, $20 at the door and can be purchased at

The festival, which is free to attend, annually depends on 300 community volunteers to help around the park – greeting attendees as they arrive, supporting in zones like the Green Car Show, capturing moments on camera, and much more. Volunteers can sign up today for 3 hour shifts as individuals or groups at

Other activities at the festival include:

One March – The second annual Santa Barbara Earth Day youth march will start at the festival Main Stage on Sunday, April 17 at 2:10 p.m. Community leaders, along with 7-foot-tall environmental advocate Snook the Eco-Sloth, will lead the Kids Monarch March from the Main Stage to Kids Corner, where speakers and activities will engage all present in taking steps for the climate. Anytime before the march, participants can go to the Explore Ecology booth to make signs and the Learningden Preschool booth to make butterfly wings. Location: Meet by the Main Stage.

One Climb –  Festival-goers can reach for the summit of climate change at UCSB’s 26-foot-tall Adventure Tower at the Sports & Recreation zone. Cost: $5 per climb. Location: Sports & Recreation.

One Ride – Our annual Ride & Drive event at the Green Car Show allows attendees to experience clean-fuel cars for themselves, taking a free test drive and learning how they can minimize their transportation footprint. Last year over 300 people took advantage. Location: Micheltorena Street at top of Green Car Show.

One Microbiome – Join the Kraut Mob on Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17 at 2:00 p.m. Presented by the Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival, the Kraut Mob will activate dozens of festival attendees to make their own sauerkraut as a community – and learn how to feed their microbiome with beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, kombucha, and more. Cost: Free to participate. Location: Homegrown Roots Stage.

One Dollar – Individuals can donate to the festival’s $10,000 matching donation campaign, helping Community Environmental Council continue work to protect the climate throughout the year. Location: Find Earth Monarchs in butterfly wings who will circulate around the festival or at the CEC booth raffle or visit .

One Vote – Many booths throughout the park will offer attendees the chance to register to vote in preparation for the November election. Attendees are encouraged to vote for earth-friendly legislation, like the California plastic bag ban initiative. Location: Public Square.

At the event, a Main Stage and two mini-stages offer two full days of music and speakers, with California favorites like Mystic Braves, KOLARS (a He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister project), Whesli, and Omar Velasco, as well as Santa Barbara-based talent including The Ole's, LAYOVR, Spencer the Gardener, Afishnsea the Moon, David Courtney, and Erisy Watt.

Attendees will also experience: the annual Green Car Show, containing the largest public collection of efficient and alternative-fueled vehicles on the West Coast; a Homegrown Roots section with local food artisans; a sustainable Food Court where no plastic water bottles are sold, all serviceware is compostable, and every vendor is local and committed to sourcing at least 50% of their ingredients from local farms, ranches and food artisans; a Beer and Wine Garden featuring local brewers and vintners; speakers and interactive demonstrations on environmentally-friendly topics; and over 200 eco-friendly exhibitors

In 2016 the Community Environmental Council is partnering with LoaTree, W.A. Event Management, New Noise Music Foundation, Cultivate Events, SBBike, Oniracom, Learningden Preschool, and Carp Events to produce the event. Major sponsors currently include the City of Santa Barbara, MarBorg, So Delicious, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Mesa Lane Partners, Firestone Walker Brewing Company featuring 805 Beer, Armand Hammer Foundation, Amtrak, Mother Dirt, Santa Barbara Nissan, The Foundation for Santa Barbara City College, and Advanced Veterinary Specialists. Major media sponsors include the Santa Barbara Independent, KJEE, KTYD, KLITE, KCRW, KEYT, KKFX, TVSB, and The Sentinel. 

About Lois Capps

Congresswoman Lois Capps has been a resident of Santa Barbara, California since 1963, including a 20-year tenure as nurse and public health advocate for the Santa Barbara School District, and represents the Central Coast, including San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, and a portion of Ventura County. She was sworn in as a Member of the 105th Congress on March 17, 1998, succeeding her late husband, former University of California, Santa Barbara professor, Congressman Walter H. Capps.

In addition to volumes of critical work in healthcare and education, Mrs. Capps has been at the forefront of efforts to protect the environment, leading movements to prevent new oil and gas drilling off our coast and on the public’s lands and to protect consumers from shouldering the financial burden of cleaning up pollution in their water supplies. She sits on the Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as the Health, Energy & Power, and Environment & the Economy subcommittees. She is co-chair of the National Marine Sanctuary Caucus, and the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. From these posts, Capps focuses on energy policy and the protection of our air and water, as well as Medicare reform, the nursing shortage, cancer, and mental health. 

She also serves on the Natural Resources Committee and sits on the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands. Her focus here is on energy production, fisheries and wildlife, public lands, oceans, and Native Americans. 

About 5 Gyres

Founded by researchers Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins, 5 Gyres has led the effort to research aquatic plastic pollution and to find solutions for regaining a plastic-free ocean. Aiming to empower citizens to become leaders in combatting the global health crisis of plastic pollution, they work to understand the impact of plastic pollution by sailing through and studying the 5 subtropical gyres, organizing research expeditions (16 to date) with scientists, journalists and other sailors who work side by side with the crew to conduct the science, and return to their communities engaged to promote solutions. 

5 Gyres shares findings about the global impact of plastic pollution through multimedia outlets, traveling exhibitions, consumer education campaigns, youth summits, and peer-reviewed publications, while advocating new materials, better designed products, fair legislation, post-consumer cleanup efforts focused on coastal and island debris removal and mitigation. Among other efforts, they led the way to the first ever state microbead legislation, caused 16 major cosmetic companies to remove microbeads from all products, and co-sponsored a national microbead bill, being debated now.

About Community Environmental Council's Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival 

In the wake of the devastating 1969 oil spill off Santa Barbara’s shores, a group of local concerned citizens began talking about a different way of looking at environmental systems. Over the next few years, around the country the environmental movement was born – including the Community Environmental Council, which was incorporated in the spring of 1970. During that time, Senator Gaylord Nelson visited Santa Barbara to view the damage from the oil spill. When he returned to Washington, D.C., he introduced a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the earth. In CEC’s first act as a newly established non-profit, it hosted one of the first Earth Day celebrations in the U.S. in 1970.

For up-to-the-minute information on Santa Barbara Earth Day:
• Find Earth Day on the web at 
• Like “Santa Barbara Earth Day” on Facebook, 
• Follow the event on Twitter @SBEarthday and on Instagram @SB_EarthDay 
• Call CEC at 805-963-0583 ext. 100

About Community Environmental Council's Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival 

About Community Environmental Council's Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival 
Since 1970, CEC has been at the forefront of the environmental movement, leading the Santa Barbara region – and at times California and the nation – in creatively solving some of the toughest environmental problems. Today, CEC pioneers real life solutions in areas with the biggest impact on climate change – most notably energy, transportation and food systems.

For more information on CEC: 
• Find CEC on the web at 
• Like CEC on Facebook at 
• Follow CEC on Twitter @CECSB and on Instagram @CEC_SB 
• Call CEC at 805-963-0583 ext. 100 
Our mailing address is:
Community Environmental Council
26 W Anapamu
Second Floor
Santa Barbara, California 93101

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