‘Working for Greenpeace is about standing up for the things I believe in and having a voice’

Meena has had many different day jobs at Greenpeace since starting in a temporary role six years ago, after leaving a career as a brand manager in the sports industry. She talks about how she has been able to nurture her creativity and passion for equality and diversity in her current role.

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When I first came to Greenpeace, I had no experience in the environmental sector and I knew very little about it. I had been working as a snowboarding and surfing brand marketing manager for about 14 years. It was fun, but after a while I started to get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff being produced and consumed.

I decided I wanted to do something that was going to add some value to the world. Being a British Indian woman, I have always fought for equality and strived to ensure that I have the same opportunities as other people, so I started by interning at a women’s rights organisation.

After six months, I came across an opportunity at Greenpeace. I discussed it with my brother, and he thought I should go for it. He said to me, “You’re creative and you like big challenges, which is exactly how Greenpeace is as an organisation.” I’ve been here for six years now – going for that job was really a life changing decision.

I began in a temporary role in the data team, moving on to work in communications and then the supporter services team. I’m now in a split role: as creative facilitator (the person who helps staff come up with creative ideas for campaign actions) and as the diversity and inclusion lead.

I love how varied my day to day involvement is with Greenpeace. Since working here, I started attending free weekly yoga classes and became the captain of the netball team. I set up a group where those who identify as a person of colour can come together and talk about their lives and experiences.

Meena in the Antarctic as part of a Greenpeace expedition © Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

Another hobby of mine, nurtured throughout working for Greenpeace, is climbing. When I first arrived here, I took part in the free non-violent direct action training offered to all staff. It was a great opportunity to learn a new skill and take a more direct role in the movement against environmental abuse.

I first took part in actions with a low risk of arrest, but the more I did, the more I realised Greenpeace takes doing direct actions quite seriously. They’re 100% dedicated to their activists’ safety, so I decided to join the climb team and get involved with higher risk actions, where there is more risk of arrest.

I have climbed an oil-rig, a fishing ship, and a lighting gantry where we confiscated thousands of VW diesel car keys for 30 hours. I also sailed to Antarctica on one of Greenpeace’s ships as part of an expedition to Antarctica, which was an incredible experience. These actions have directly led to large corporations and industries committing to positive change.

For me, working for Greenpeace and taking action is about standing up for the things I believe in and having a voice. As a woman of colour, I’m very aware of the fact that it’s easy for my voice to get lost, so I do these things to ensure that not just me but other people of colour – especially women – feel empowered to reject those who perpetuate inequality. Greenpeace hasn’t just given me a job, it’s given me a platform and the support I need to reach my full potential.

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