For a long time, corporations and governments have used the tried and true tactic of divide and conquer: they’ve tried to convince us that the immigrant rights struggle is different from the worker rights struggle, which is different from the climate justice struggle, to name just a few of the efforts to make the world a more sustainable place. Continue reading
There is something about Valentine’s Day that always leaves me pondering the BIG existential question “What does love mean in my life these days”? Cliché I know, but I would wager most of us share this train of thought at some point as the red roses and candy flutter around us mid- February.
This year my answer came to me as I was delivering the news to a young college student that she was accepted to the next Greenpeace Semester. Almost in tears, she thanked me and told me how excited she was as she never thought she would get in. Though I hear similar stories from applicants often, I am always stuck by the raw emotion in their voices. In that moment I get to witness a unique side of love- someone who loved themselves so much they were willing to do something they never thought they could to fulfill a dream.
As we talked I told her more about how most alumni from the program go off to begin environmental or social justice organizing careers. In essence I was welcoming her to the metaphoric “family” of hundred of thousands of activists bound together around the globe by our love for protecting this planet.
Over the next few weeks she will be reaching out to her family and friends to tell them the good news. With their help she will save money and prepare herself for the program. With the help of her professors she hopefully secure college credit.
So what does this have to do with cupid and Valentine ’s Day you ask? In my opinion there is something profoundly beautiful about the love a person can have for the work they do. It helps define us, give us purpose, heals us, and gives us another “family”. So in honor if V-day I am sending my gratitude to all those who spread love through activism, and to those people who helped them get there. Much love to you all!
The Rainbow Warrior, on her first visit to New Zealand, sails in to Matauri Bay in Northland, where the original Rainbow Warrior, bombed by French secret agents in Auckland, rests on the seabed.
New Zealand’s Matauri Bay played host today to two Rainbow Warriors, the original and the current Warrior – one lying peacefully on the sea bed providing an artificial reef for sea life and the other a gleaming, eco-friendly environmental activist ship.
Captain Joel Stewart speaks onboard the Rainbow Warrior, during the protest vessel's first visit to New Zealand, as she visits Matauri Bay, Northland, January 9 2013, at the resting place of the original Rainbow Warrior, which was bombed by French secret service agents in Auckland in 1985. Ngati Kura, the guardians of the waters where the first Warrior lies, and Greenpeace crew, take part in a whakatau ceremony to welcome the ship.
The ship travelled to Matauri Bay to pay homage to the legend of the original Warrior which was bombed and sunk in Auckland Harbour in 1985. Continue reading
As a Greenpeace lawyer, people often ask me whether I don’t feel hopeless, seeing how wealthy polluters can adjust laws to serve their needs. But a recent ruling makes me optimistic that might isn’t always right.
On a frigid morning in September, polar bears wandered through the forecourt of one of Shell’s largest fuel stations in the Netherlands. At the same time, activists hung bicycle locks around the fuel nozzles, while others explained that they were stopping fuel sales in protest against Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. Over the course of the morning, 72 out of about 600 Shell petrol stations in the country were similarly ‘frozen’.
Shell immediately filed a 100-page legal complaint. The suit had obviously been prepared well in advance, ready to stop those irksome environmentalists once and for all. The company wanted a court order permanently banning actions by Greenpeace or its sympathisers within 500 metres of all Shell properties worldwide, with an automatic penalty of €1 million per breach. Continue reading
“Ferocious jungle predators, laying in wait, stalking their fast food hawking adversaries. The scene was set–our Sumatran tigers were in place, our orangutan armed with fliers, and a banner to catch the attention of the many motorists driving down Colorado Blvd, the backbone of East Denver, Colorado traffic. Our activists were excited to talk to the masses of KFC customers, so that they could in turn engage with a brand they’re loyal to, and help encourage change through direct dialogue. “ – Event Coordinator, Andrew Pytlik
Last weekend, activists in Denver demonstrated in front of a local KFC- a sight that’s been happening across the country. Why are people taking to the streets and the storefronts of KFCs nationwide? Photographs, supply chain research and forensic testing leave no doubt: KFC is trashing rainforests for throw-away packaging like chicken buckets.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock (Aug. 15 to 18), Treehugger.com has been running a series of articles about the spirit of protest born in the 60s and how it has shaped activism today. I wrote a brief history for them about the role rock musicians have played in Greenpeace activism over the years, starting with the benefit concert by Joni Mitchell and James Taylor that started it all, up to today when Anti-Flag is helping us organize young punk rockers at the Warped Tour.
One thing I didn’t touch on in the piece that came up in my research, which I think is really awesome, is that Allen Ginsberg was an “early advisor and mentor” to Greenpeace. I’m a big fan of Ginsberg’s poetry, so it made me pretty proud to find this out, and I thought I’d share this picture of Ginsberg reading “Plutonian Ode” at a disarmament rally back in the 70s.
I’d also like to give a little plug to the fantastic book in which I found much of the info for the Treehugger piece as well as both pics you see here on this post. It’s by Rex Weyler, a journalist and one of the first Greenpeace activists, and it’s called Greenpeace: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists, and Visionaries Changed the World.
Here’s a little taste of the many photos awaiting you on the Treehugger post. This is my personal favorite: Jerry Garcia playing to a sold-out crowd at a Greenpeace benefit concert right here in San Francisco, on Pier 31, in front of the Greenpeace ship James Bay:
The story of how this benefit concert featuring the Jerry Garcia Band came about and was pulled off in just five days is pretty fascinating. You can get a bit of it from my Treehugger post, but you’ll have to pick up Rex Weyler’s book to read the whole thing!
Photos © Rex Weyler