Spotlight on Andrew McParland, a Greenpeace activist, trainer and climber
I became a Greenpeace financial supporter about 20 years ago, after seeing a video where somebody trying to stop nuclear dumping in the North Sea had barrels of waste dropped on his boat and was knocked overboard. If they were willing to risk their life, I had to a least think about the issue.
Several years later I ticked a box asking to be contacted by a local network and helped with local events. My job as an engineer was very interesting intellectually but, looking back, it obviously wasn't enough. I wanted to do something that affected me deeply.
‘Putting myself in the way of something connects my beliefs to my actions.'
Since then, I've helped organise local networks, taken quite a few direct actions, become a network coordinator, nonviolent direct action trainer and eventually joined the climb team.
Being involved with a like-minded set of people who want to actually do something, and getting out and doing it, has been the best part for me. Training people to take part in direct actions – a learning experience in itself – and working with them on actions is very satisfying. Putting myself in the way of something, or highlighting an issue, connects my beliefs to my actions.
The challenge for Greenpeace is to find areas where we can make a difference through action. We need to act more.
“Action is eloquence” as Shakespeare said.