Sustainable Energy Expert/Engineer, Politician, Activist | Graz, Austria
Martha Bissmann is a sustainable energy expert and politician who had been serving as an independent Member of Parliament in Austria from 2017-2019. Currently she is top candidate of the newly founded party SOEZ running for Vienna mayoral and Council elections in October 2020. She is Member of Global Council for Tolerance and Peace (GCTP) and Principal Advisor of Austrian Council for Sustainable Development.
Bissmann grew up as the eighth of nine children. She studied Energy and Environmental Management at FH Burgenland and graduated in 2006 with a Dipl.-Ing. degree. During her studies, she was initiating the intercultural exchange program and club culture series Brighton Calling, a clubbing series combining electronical music and political discourse. Bissmann was also co-founder of the ELEVATE festival in Graz. From 2003 to 2005 she was a board member of the political academy of the Greens.
Within her diploma thesis she examined the technical and economic feasibility for wind-driven seawater desalination, while working as an energy expert in an Austrian Agency for Development Cooperation project in Cape Verde. After graduation, she moved to Munich and worked 10 years as a project manager for EU-funded sustainability campaigns and research network coordination projects in the fields of climate protection and renewable energy. The climate change campaign tour Energy Union which Bissmann initiated placed second in the 2013 Sustainable Energy Europe Award. She also initiated the EEMusic-Energy Efficient Music Culture project which linked up and trained festivals and club operators from 28 European countries in sustainable event production.
At the beginning of 2016 Bissmann worked as a campaign manager for the presidential election campaign of Irmgard Griss. In 2017 she went back to Austria to participate in the National Council elections in October 2017, where she ran as independent candidate for the List of Peter Pilz, a former Green MP Bissmann took a seat in the Austrian Parliament where she stayed as independent MP until the new elections in 2019. In the parliament she was spokesperson and member of the committess for environment, energy, transport, agriculture, development cooperation and citizen participation. Bissmann built strong ties with civil society movements such as FridaysForFuture. During her two years as MP, she delivered 69 speeches. During one of her speeces Bissman put on a headscarf in sign of solidarity with muslim women suffering from discrimination and islamophobia. That video went viral and reachd more than 25 million people from over 20 countries.