350 Bay Area congratulates all of the 2020 Sustainability Award Winners acknowledged by Sustainable Contra Costa. Most notably, one of our own beloved organizers, Shoshana Wechsler. Read on for the write up by about the award and Shoshana’s impressive work.

About the Sustainability Awards

The Contra Costa Leadership in Sustainability Awards honor those who demonstrate outstanding commitment, leadership and contributions to practicing and promoting sustainability. Nominations are accepted throughout the year at Nominees are evaluated on how well their actions reflect these basic areas of sustainability: Environmental Health, Social Health and Wellbeing, and Economic Prosperity. They are also evaluated on: uniqueness, scope of involvement and impact in the community, level of organization-wide involvement, ability to serve as a model for others, and partnerships and collaborations. Winners are announced at the Annual Awards Gala happening today, September 17th.

Update: Watch the Awards Gala and Shoshana’s acceptance speech here at 56 minutes in.

2020 Award Winner: Shoshana Wechsler

Shoshana Wechsler has held leadership roles for many years in Bay Area environmental organizations, including the Sunflower Alliance, the Contra Costa Clean Energy Alliance, 350 Bay Area, and 350 Contra Costa. Shoshana is also a member of the Contra Costa County Sustainability Commission and provides input to the Board of Supervisors on environmental and sustainability issues. Shoshana provides research and education, forms coalitions, and formulates and implements strategies to improve the long-term health and well-being of low-income residents and communities of color who experience the worst air and water pollution in the county. Shoshana is a founding member of Sunflower Alliance, a union of scientists, workers, professionals, and unofficial leaders in local towns and neighborhoods who work to build bridges between elected leaders and eco-activists. In 2013, when a crude oil rail terminal was proposed in a residential area near downtown Pittsburg, Shoshana worked closely with community organizations and leaders and engaged environmental organizations from all over the East Bay to successfully fight this threat to public health and safety.

From 2015 to 2018, Shoshana inspired and guided teams who advanced the clean energy programs offered by Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) for both climate protection and economic development. Ultimately, the county and multiple cities selected MCE as their CCA, which allowed residents to increase the renewable energy powering their homes and businesses. In 2020, Brentwood residents asked Shoshana to join a campaign to stop proposed oil-and-gas drilling dangerously near their homes. She assisted residents in accessing the growing body of scientific research on the harmful health effects of drilling close to sensitive sites like homes and schools and connected them to key Bay Area supporters. In her role on the CCC Sustainability Commission, Shoshana presented a proposal for a moratorium on fossil fuel extraction in the county until the General Plan is completed and it was adopted unanimously.

One Planet Living holds a vision of a world in which people enjoy happy, healthy lives within their fair share of the earth’s resources, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness. The One Planet Living principles that align most closely with Shoshana’s work are

  • Health and Happiness: Encouraging active, social, meaningful lives to promote good health and wellbeing
  • Sustainable Water: Using water efficiently, protecting local water resources and reducing flooding and drought

” – Sustainable Contra Costa