If you don't already know, Greenpeace turns 40 on September 15th - as I sit here typing, that's a mere 6 days away and is a date that will mark 40 years since those first brave souls chartered the Phyllis Cormack and sailed to Amchitka to stop nuclear testing. Things have moved on a long way since then - we've kept the 'peace' part of the name but added many campaigns that address the 'green' part too - oceans, forests, toxic chemicals and of course tackling climate change.
However, like any good friend, a 'landmark' birthday means thinking about what they'd like as a gift. Greenpeace has lots of things, not least some excellent staff and volunteers, and a great (and well-deserved) reputation for effective campaigning. Just think back to some of the wins over the last year or two - tuna companies changing their ways, toxic clothing manufacturers following suit, and so on. However, there remains much to be done - bringing VW back from the dark side, tackling our addiction to oil, stopping forest destroyers like APP - you know the sort of thing. So, what could you get Greenpeace for its birthday to help with this? Well, here are a few thoughts:
One of the simplest ways if you have a little spare cash in these tricky times is to donate - it's easy to do online and there are other methods too (have a look at the bottom of that page). If you would like to donate directly to building the new Rainbow Warrior III, you can do that here.
Alternatively, why not bake a birthday cake, or lots of little ones and sell or auction them? This may sound odd, but it isn't (honestly!) - have a look at the Greenpeace Flour Power page for ideas about events and fundraising. Even if it's after Sept 15th, I'm sure no-one will mind...
Give Greenpeace another volunteer - you! Our campaigns rely no volunteers to make them happen, so without volunteers our wins would become fails. So, why not get in touch with your local group and see how you can help out. If you don't know the details of your nearest group, you can find it here. In the meantime, make sure you keep up to date with what's going on.
If you're already active, why not organise a Greenpeace birthday event (if it's a fundraiser, even better) - it might even be an opportunity to hook up with one or more other groups if there are others nearby. Then why not write it up and blog it here!
Lastly, you could give a Greenpeace gift to someone else - from the traditional T-shirt to some rather unusual auction items, have a look in the shop to see what's available.
And my view on Greenpeace's birthday? For me, it's one of those dates that makes me sit back and reflect on how I fit into such an illustrious four decades. It all started when I saw a Greenpeace stall and wandered over... since then my life has been filled with giant chicken costumes, the Rainbow Warrior II, green fairs a-plenty, and over the last year a rapid immersion in the worlds of blogging, Facebook and Twitter as I was dragged into the 21st century. So, although I can't boast 40 years of activism (I'm not old enough!), I am coming up to my own big Greenpeace birthday as next spring I will have been looking after the Southampton group for 10 whole years (blimey). All I can say for now is that there will be celebrations, but more of that nearer the time!