Learning on the job

Posted by graham - 10 March 2009 at 10:26am - Comments

Graham answers the phones.

Graham takes another press enquiry in what certainly isn't a staged photo.

I'm a press officer, but I've only been doing the job for a week, so any super-confident account of what it's like standing athwart the 21st century 24/7 information super-thingumajig would be pure bluff and bluster. Which is what press officers do, I suppose, but like I said, I've only been doing it for a week.

However, I have been working for Greenpeace  for almost a decade now, so I must have picked up something (in addition to a criminal record).

The various jobs I've had here include GM campaigner, toxics campaigner and ‘Peace Consultant' - how cool is that? Only lasted for a few weeks back in 2004, but I think it brightens up my CV considerably.

My last job was ‘Information Officer' which largely involved responding to emails from Greenpeace supporters and members of the public curious about environmental issues. It's also a very cool job, even if the title isn't quite up there with ‘Peace Consultant'.

I got to correspond with some of the most innovative and dedicated activists and supporters in our green and pleasant land, some of the most informed, aware and inspiring members of the public, and some of the most confused. I discovered an astonishing amount about the many, many green issues which Greenpeace does't work on, and have seen more designs for perpetual motion machines (devices which supposedly produce energy from nothing) than is strictly healthy.

Here are some of the most valuable lessons I've learnt -  

  • We can't produce a database of every product available in the UK and their environmental credentials. We'd love to, but we really can't. Sorry.
  • Don't argue with climate change deniers - it only encourages them. By this point, any evidence you present to them is just more proof of the vast eco-conspiracy controlling the media, or something.
  • Most Greenpeace supporters can be split into those who are disappointed at how cautious and conservative we've become, those disappointed at how radical and reckless we've become, and those who think we've got it just about right. Greenpeace staff are similarly divided, but with fewer in the third category.
  • Yes, the ball of rock we're all standing on will survive climate change, even if we don't. But please don't accept the biggest catastrophe in history with equanimity and then expect us to be outraged by stealth taxes. If there's anything on the planet which you do care about, whether it's whales, rainforests, orphans in Africa, Eastenders or your pension, climate change threatens it.
  • Perpetual motion machines aren't a good investment. The inventor generally arranges a test by a reputable, independent authority, and then, just before handing the machine over to the boffins, he performs a demonstration for the press. The machine explodes spectacularly, indefinitely postponing the tests and simultaneously impressing everyone with its pyrotechnic power. Investment floods in whilst the inventor struggles valiantly to get his creation ready for testing again. Then he mysteriously disappears, along with the machine, his schematics, and the investment.
  • The Copacabana beach is filled with retired engineers with large moustaches, designer sunglasses and slightly singed eyebrows.

It's week two of our office blog relay and we're asking various people around the office to write for the site to give you a behind the scenes look at our campaigns and some of the more eccentric characters in the office. Sorry for the delay getting yesterday's up, I made Graham take out some of the original references to ExxonMobile and the CIA.

graham, for some odd reason i must have read this blog four times now. it's brilliant, but it's also left me very confused. i think it might be the mention of perpetual motion machines.

Your former job reminds me of mine so much, it's a bit scary. I do online activism at GPI, and hear from our supporters daily, on our forum, through facebook, twitter and all the web channels you can think of. The perpetual motion machine in particular baffles me. I have explained repeatedly why it is simply against the laws of physics (I swear, it's not a conspiracy!), yet, it keeps coming back. The deniers, I ignore, though I'm afraid they still manage to get on my nerves.

Hope you enjoy your new job :)

climate change is fact. man made climate change is a hoax. evolution is fact. religion does not contradict evolution.

graham, for some odd reason i must have read this blog four times now. it's brilliant, but it's also left me very confused. i think it might be the mention of perpetual motion machines.

Your former job reminds me of mine so much, it's a bit scary. I do online activism at GPI, and hear from our supporters daily, on our forum, through facebook, twitter and all the web channels you can think of. The perpetual motion machine in particular baffles me. I have explained repeatedly why it is simply against the laws of physics (I swear, it's not a conspiracy!), yet, it keeps coming back. The deniers, I ignore, though I'm afraid they still manage to get on my nerves. Hope you enjoy your new job :)

climate change is fact. man made climate change is a hoax. evolution is fact. religion does not contradict evolution.

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