Rose Braz, influential climate activist, dies at 55

Ellen M. Gilmer, E&E News reporter. Twitter: @ellengilmer Email:  

Published: Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rose Braz, the Center for Biological Diversity's climate campaign director, died last week.

Rose Braz, the Center for Biological Diversity’s climate campaign director, died last week.

Rose Braz, an environmental and human rights activist who led campaigns to address climate change, died last week at age 55.

Braz was the Center for Biological Diversity’s climate campaign director, coordinating grass-roots efforts in California and across the country. She founded several coalitions that pushed for policy changes to address climate change and impacts from fossil fuel development.

She died last Wednesday after a three-year battle with brain cancer.

Colleagues remember Braz for her ability to bring together diverse coalitions for environmental and social justice causes.

“She brought people together better than anybody I know,” said Kassie Siegel, director of CBD’s Climate Law Institute. “She was an incredible organizer. She was an incredible mentor.”

Braz joined CBD in 2009 and worked on a variety of climate- and energy-related issues. She founded Climate Reality Check and Clean Air Cities, coalitions devoted to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She was also instrumental in the creation of Americans Against Fracking and Californians Against Fracking, which successfully pushed six California counties to restrict hydraulic fracturing in recent years.

Siegel said Braz walked precincts in Monterey County last year, advocating for the passage of Measure Z, a ban on fracking and other oil and gas production techniques. The ballot measure was approved by voters in November.

Braz founded and worked for Critical Resistance, a grass-roots organization focused on prison reform, before joining CBD in 2009. She then volunteered as a member of the group’s board of directors. She also previously worked as a criminal defense attorney, defending several political protesters. She received her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Braz’s husband, Brent Plater, is an environmental attorney at the Wild Equity Institute, a San Francisco-based sustainability nonprofit.

“I was the luckiest man, and she was the greatest human I ever met,” Plater said. “That really bears out in the number of people that Rose touched through her work.”