Next up in the spring blog relay is Rachael from our Active Supporter Unit - catch up on entries from other Greenpeace staff.
About 11 years ago I was lucky enough to be at an Orang-utan sanctuary in northern Sumatra, Indonesia when a huge, pregnant, semi-wild orang-utan swung down from the trees and stole my boyfriend's camera. How to explain this to the insurance company? Fortunately on deciding she couldn't eat it, she threw it down from the treetops where it landed in a patch of leaves with nothing more serious than a missing lens cap!
What, I hear you ask, does this have to do with Greenpeace? Well, this was one of many occasions in my life when something in the natural world filled me with a sense of awe and wonder and an urgent desire to protect it. And when I read in 2003 that the orang-utan sanctuary and village of Bukit Lawang had been virtually wiped out by flash floods caused by illegal logging, I could no longer sit on the sofa and just let it happen. I had to do something. This is why I got involved with Greenpeace: to do everything I can to stop the desolation of our planet and the extinction of all the species we share it with.
I've been working for Greenpeace in the Active Supporters Unit for just over two years, having previously volunteered in the ASU, as well as the press office and the disarmament campaign team, on top of running the local active supporter network in Islington.
Active supporters are extraordinary people who give up so much of their time to go out on the streets and engage the public with our campaigns and I feel very privileged to work with them and support them. But it's not just about raising awareness – we aren't an organisation focused solely on education, after all – it's about taking action to bring about positive change. In the past few years we've successfully lobbied supermarkets about GM milk, destructive fishing practices and energy saving light bulbs; we've lobbied MPs about Trident nuclear weapons, coal-fired power stations, nuclear power and energy solutions; and we've taken on corporate giants such as Unilever over the destruction of the rainforests to grow palm oil.
We're currently campaigning against airport expansion, signing up as many people as possible to become beneficial owners of Airplot, the plot of land we bought in the path of the proposed third runway at Heathrow. And of course, some active supporters also take part in nonviolent direct action to physically stop environmental abuses and to persuade those in power to make the right decisions.
Harald Zindler once said "The optimism of the action is better than the pessimism of the thought.” But you know what else? By taking action we might just win! So get active with your local network of active supporters and change your world.
It was a confrontational red-haired female who inspired me to get active. Perhaps I can have the same effect on you. After all, it takes one to know one ;)