The theme of Wednesday night was #TogetherWeWill. It was an opportunity to celebrate a handful of our community members who have been taking this theme to heart. A nomination committee came together to carefully select the first ever #BoulderEarthWeek Earth Champions. While there is no fortune associated with this award we hope to provide our deepest gratitude and support for your continued efforts.

Earth Champion Awardees:

Social Justice: Dan Benavidez, Ecocycle, Longmont PDLAC and LHDC

Dan Benavidez is a bilingual, marathon-running Colorado native. Amongst the many other Community activities he is involved in, he is presently the Board Vice President for Ecocycle, a member of the Longmont Police Department Latino Advisory Council, a member of the Board of Directors of the Longmont Housing Development Corporation (LHDC) and a volunteer for Longmont Community Justice Partnership.

This award recognizes Dan’s ability to take a holistic approach to bringing people together to address the important conversations in our community.

Energy: Nigel Zeid, Boulder Nissan & Susie Strife, Boulder County

Nigel has been with Boulder Nissan since 2007, and is a huge part of the reason for the Public-Private Partnership for successful EV adoption and rooftop solar including Boulder County, City of Boulder, other municipalities, Boulder Nissan, Sunrun, Custom Solar, and Namaste Solar.

Susie leads the County’s Sustainability Initiative, providing direction on policies and program implementation for internal and external sustainability activities while managing planning efforts and budgets. She also serves as the key liaison to other county agencies to support existing projects and guide the county towards a more sustainable future.

Nigel and Susie’s enthusiasm, seen everywhere from street fairs to email chains, is contagious and reminds us that together we can provide a path to a clean energy future and bring so much positive energy to the community and the planet.

Ecosystems: People and Pollinators Action Network & Bee Safe Boulder

People and Pollinators Action Network (PPAN) works across Colorado to promote sustainable agricultural practices, safeguard public health, and improve our environment by fostering a strong movement to build community awareness, change policies and support best practices in the use of chemical pesticides and habitat management.  

Bee Safe Boulder hopes to create cleaner, healthier and more biologically diverse urban and suburban environments—one neighborhood at a time—safe for bees and other pollinators, as well as all life. On April 22nd Bee Safe Boulder is going global.

This award is given to highlight the collective power of a swarm, people going house to house, buzzing our community to bring awareness community wide.

Resources: Fairview Net Zero Club & Bag-It Boulder

In 2011 a "Bag it Boulder" campaign was started by the Fairview Net Zero club to encourage City Council to take action on reducing plastic bag use in Boulder, where an estimated 33 million bags were being used annually. Through their persistence the City of Boulder passed the Disposable Bag Fee in November 2012 which put a ten cent fee on all disposable plastic and paper checkout bags at food stores in the city. City staff launched a large public outreach campaign before the fee started on July 1, 2013 called "Brought It Boulder" which has distributed over 40,000 reusable bags (made of recycled material!) throughout the city to date, with the majority going to food banks and public sector agencies to distribute to residents. The fee has reduced bag use by an estimated 69% at the stores where it is charged, keeping tens of millions of bags out of our landfills.

This award recognizes that change is coming from the youth of our community who are transforming the way we view resource use, one action at a time.

Collaboration: BoCo Strong

BoCo Strong increases the web of connections among individuals, organizations and governments across Boulder County to foster inclusivity, increase disaster resilience, and build vibrant and prosperous communities. BoCo Strong is comprised of representatives from Lyons, Jamestown, Boulder, Longmont and Boulder County as well as the Red Cross, and Foothills United Way.

BOCOstrong not only responded in the wake of our greatest natural disaster in recent memory, they modeled to all of us the strength that comes for collaboration.

Lifetime Achievement Awardees:

Leslie Glustrom:

In 2004, Leslie resigned from her job managing a biochemistry research lab at the University of Colorado-Boulder to work full time on climate change. She is a founding member of Clean Energy Action, served as the Director of Research and Policy for several years and is now serving on the Board of Clean Energy Action. She has spoken throughout the country on the environmental and economic imperative of accelerating the transition to a world without fossil fuels and has won many awards for her work.

Nick & Helen Forster:

Husband and wife duo, Nick and Helen Forster founded the weekly radio broadcast eTown, in Boulder in 1991. As musicians they understood the power of music in bringing together disparate groups of people. Each broadcast features live music and interviews with thought leaders on environmental and social justice issues. The show is broadcast on 300 radio stations nationwide and podcast globally, inspiring nearly one million listeners each week to take positive action on behalf of our planet. Nick and Helen built eTown Hall as a home for the values and ideas that have helped make eTown thrive.

BoCo Youth Climate Challenge Winners:

Clean Venture

Students: Mariah Wagner, Erika Shapiro, Alexis Weismann, Simone Fohrman

High School: Monarch High School

Teacher: Meghan Mosher
Summary: This project aims to increase visibility of local businesses that use clean energy through an online platform. The website will educate local businesses on tax subsidies and other benefits of clean energy, and draw consumers to green businesses in Boulder County.