On March 18-23, Greenpeace will be gathering together with activists from across the country to hold a week-long direct action training. This camp will give motivated activists the opportunity to build skills in a variety of non-violent direct action techniques, including action climbing, boat driving and blockades. Participants will also learn about the history and philosophy of non-violence and discuss Greenpeace campaigns during breakout sessions with the campaigners themselves.
Hear from two Action Camp alums about their experience at the camp last year, and why you should apply today!
Renee Montelbano: Climbing for the tigers
My name is Renee Montelbano. I’m a tiger lover, forest enthusiast and admirer of all creatures big and small.
I attended Greenpeace Action Camp in 2012 and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was already an organizer and since I worked for Greenpeace I knew exactly what they did for the environment. What I didn’t know was the extent and diversity of different activists who train and fight from so many different places and with so many causes. It was at action camp that i truly understood the common goal: Protecting planet earth and everything that exists on it. It couldn’t be just about the tigers or the paradise rainforest anymore.
It was incredibly easy to make friends. Everyone’s there for the same reason. I will never forget so many of the characters I encountered at camp.
Scared of heights? Yeah, me too. I was selected for the climbing track, I’m one of those people who can’t look down from the top of a flight of stairs. I definitely had a fair amount of nervousness about training. Would I be able to handle the heights? Would I be behind everyone else? Would people laugh at me? The trainers are amazing. Thank you all again! There was no point that I was left hanging-pun intended. Someone was with me every step of the way. I climbed with confidence! When it was time for the big scary repel Kelly let me be a scaredy cat for a little while but eventually got me off the platform and all I could imagine was saving some forests.
At action camp I gained a variety of skills and knowledge all of which are valuable towards my goals to preserve forests and my life as a environmentalist and an activist. I’m now an Earth and Environmental Sciences Major!
Psera Newman: Inspired mountain defender
I first met Greenpeace in 2010 at Appalachia Rising in Washington, D.C. I traveled to DC on a bus filled with local Kentucky activists determined to take our cry of ending mountaintop removal to the nation’s capitol. We picked people up as we drove across the state, sharing stories of how mountaintop removal had affected our lives and the lives of those we love. In DC we found that there were many, many people coming together to fight for our cause. It was refreshing to me that people from outside of our communities were willing to stand with us in our struggle. Greenpeace was on-hand to help us plan our action and navigate our worries and goals. When I saw Greenpeace, I understood that our voices had been heard by a larger community.
I was relieved and humbled, but those feelings were quickly surpassed by the magic that the non-violent direct action training and action planning bestowed on us. We worked with people from outside of our communities to plan an action that those of us living in impacted communities could feel good about. Over the course of a few days, I watched as this training gave voice, power, and confidence to people who had felt for many years that no one was listening. I knew then that helping people find their voice to protect their land and communities was what I wanted to dedicate my life to.
When I first received an invitation to apply for a Greenpeace Quit Coal Training Camp I jumped at the idea. I applied immediately, thinking there was little chance that I would be chosen. I was 34 years old. I was not yet a college student or on pay roll for an activist organization. While I have been active in my community and across the country in regards to coal mining, I thought Greenpeace would be looking for someone younger or more directly involved in activism, not a middle-aged mom from Kentucky. However, I also knew that this was my dream and I had to try. I got into that camp and it has since changed the course of my life. It was a three day camp focused mainly on non-violent direct action. I gave it my all. More importantly, I got to meet, talk with, and get to know some of the people working with Greenpeace.
I had seen pictures and videos of some of Greenpeace’s climbing actions. Being a sport climber and professional rigger, I had always thought, “I can do that.” So when I learned that the climbing trainers were at that first camp, I mentioned my desire to learn action climbing. Several months and emails later, I learned that Greenpeace would be having its Action Training Camp and that one track would be for climbing. I applied right away! I felt that this would be the opportunity of a lifetime. I would get to learn climbing skills that I had always dreamed of pursuing, meet with like-minded people, and move closer to my goal of empowering others through activism.
Greenpeace’s Action Training Camp was amazing. Spending a full week climbing is always wonderful. To do that with other activists, meet activists that have been part of past actions, hear their stories, and learn their valuable skills is an irreplaceable opportunity. I made countless new friends, many of whom I now see taking part in actions across the country. We have all kept in touch developing friendships that very likely will last a lifetime. The camp offered other opportunities; most surprising to me was boating. I had never thought much about boating skills, but in one day I learned to pull some maneuvers straight out of a James Bond movie! I may not be afraid of heights, but my day on the water was adrenaline pumping! I left the camp feeling strong, hopeful, and full of love for the other activists from across the country.
I was able to later take part in a Greenpeace action to save the mountains of Appalachia, an action that brought my community’s concerns to a global audience. Working with Greenpeace was not just beneficial for me, but helped empower my community.
Greenpeace Action Camp is the way to go if you’re interested in taking your actions to the next level. The friendships found there are built on a solid foundation of a desire to save our planet. Preserving a healthy planet for future generations will take all of us working together. Greenpeace Action Camp is a place for people from all walks of life to come together, to learn valuable skills, build friendships, and to work together for the future of the Earth.