‘I am able to be myself at Greenpeace more so than any other place I’ve worked’

Political campaigner Sam feels Greenpeace is a place that really values people’s individuality. He talks about running the staff choir, how his work builds the organisation's credibility and how his family background gave him the values and skills to succeed in his role.

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I am a political campaigner at Greenpeace. What I do is lobby politicians directly to develop policies that we need to tackle climate breakdown and the biodiversity crisis. We explain to an influential politician exactly what it is we want to change and why it will be good for the environment and society. We also ask politicians to do specific things in parliament for us, like raising questions or drafting amendments for legislation.

Before working here, I really wasn’t involved with the environmental movement, but I had been brought up with the innate values that underlie much of Greenpeace’s work.

My mum was always an extremely compassionate person, and my dad got me into politics in a lot of ways. He was from a very working class background and believed in self-education. He worked really hard to be aware of the world. We had very different political views but he really enjoyed the back and forth of getting into debates about politics with me. He taught me how to have an idea and defend it, which is such a crucial skill for this job.

I often feel very proud of the work we do at Greenpeace and that we really add value to the public debate about environmental issues. I also think we’re able to be a lot bolder than other organisations while also maintaining a level of credibility and trust from the public. We can block Boris Johnson’s car but we can also sit down with senior ministers and have discussions.

Sam speaking at a Greenpeace report launch © Sarah Turton / Greenpeace

I’m also able to be myself at Greenpeace, more so than any other place I’ve worked. It’s a place that really values people’s individuality and allows them to thrive in a range of ways – not just in the confines of their role. As an example, I always paint my nails and being able to wear it to work is a big deal to me.

I feel like Greenpeace is more comfortable with different expressions of gender and identity than other places – it’s an organisation that really values people who think outside the box and want to be bolder.

I also run the staff choir. As part of a recent wellbeing project, HR arranged for a professional choir to come in and do some singing workshops. It had to wind down, but as I’d managed a big gospel choir at university, I thought maybe I could have a go at running it. It took off!

People get a lot of value out of it, so even though I do all of the prep and planning in my own time, it’s worth it. It really is a testament to the culture at Greenpeace that people think it’s a cool idea and support it, rather than thinking it’s something that isn’t appropriate for work hours.

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