The Community Environmental Council Announces 2013 Environmental Hero Award Recipients: Van Jones and Bill Nye

Van Jones will accept the award in person on the main stage at the CEC’s Earth Day Festival at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. Bill Nye will accept the award in person on the main stage at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 21.

Van Jones

Van Jones is president and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for bottom-up, people-powered innovations to help fix the U.S. economy. A Yale-educated attorney, Van has written two New York Times Best Sellers: The Green Collar Economy, the definitive book on green jobs, and Rebuild the Dream, a roadmap for progressives in 2012 and beyond.

Jones is the founder of Green for All, a national organization working to get green jobs to disadvantaged communities. He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act; signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” Under the Obama administration, it has resulted in $500 million for green job training nationally.

While best known as a pioneer in the environmental movement, Van has been hard at work in social justice for nearly two decades, fashioning solutions to some of urban America’s toughest problems. He is the co-founder of two social justice organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change.

Among many awards and recognitions, Jones was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009; was the recipient of the NAACP’s Image Award; and was named Rolling Stones’ 12 Leaders who Get things Done in 2012. Jones is currently on the board of the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC).

Bill Nye

Nye’s latest project is hosting a show on Planet Green called Stuff Happens, which is about environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make as they go about their day and their shopping. Also, you’ll see Nye in his good-natured rivalry with his neighbor Ed Begley. They compete to see who can save the most energy and produce the smallest carbon footprint. Nye has 4,000 watts of solar power and a solar-boosted hot water system.

Begley Jr., actor, environmentalist and friend of Nye told Earth Day producers, “I would not be able to do the work that I do without good science to back it up. My greatest source of that is my friend and neighbor Bill Nye. He has an uncanny ability to present the facts, in a way that is entertaining, and easy to understand, and we are all better for knowing him.”

Nye is the host of two other currently-running television series. The 100 Greatest Discoveries which airs on the Science Channel and The Eyes of Nye which airs on PBS stations across the country.

Nye is a national spokesperson often seen and heard in the national media speaking out on behalf of the overwhelming scientific proof of manmade climate change.

While working on the Science Guy show, Bill won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years.

Earth Day Festival:

The Community Environmental Council’s 2013 Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival takes place Saturday, April, 20th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 21st from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Alameda Park, 1400 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

Widely acknowledged as the birthplace of the modern environmental movement, the festival showcases the latest in green technologies and products to the environmentally savvy of California’s Central Coast. The 2013 festival will promote the power of grassroots action in protecting and preserving the environment, with specific resources for reducing the use of fossil fuels. CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival is FREE for attendees. The festival will include the annual Green Car Show containing the largest collection of efficient and alternative fueled vehicles between Los Angeles and San Francisco and a Clean Tech Pavilion offering up products, services, and processes that rely on renewable materials and energy to reduce emissions and waste. In addition, the festival will feature approximately 250 exhibitors, some selling goods and services in the EcoMarketplace.

Santa Barbara Earth Day History: 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 country in 1970.

About the Community Environmental Council

Since 1970, CEC has led the Santa Barbara region – and at times California and the nation – in creative solutions to some of the toughest environmental problems. Today CEC is focused on eliminating the use of fossil fuels in the Central Coast region in one generation – Fossil Free by ’33. Find the CEC on the web at, on Twitter @CECSB and on Facebook at

For more information on Earth Day: go to, follow the event on Twitter @SBEarthday, “Like” at or call 963-0583 ext. 100.


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