Volunteer Name: Erika Tran

Volunteer Title: Steward, Defender, Green Leader, Cyberactivist

Age: 20 years old

Location: Toronto

Volunteer Spotlight photo

1] How long have you been volunteering for Greenpeace and why did you choose Greenpeace as a place to offer your time and energy?

I've been a volunteer for Greenpeace since February 2012. I think everyone has some sort of defining moment. Mine happened to be when Lucy Lawless and six other Greenpeace activists in New Zealand scaled an Arctic-bound drill ship off the coast of Taranaki. I was already quite a huge environmentalist at that time and hearing about Shell's proposed Arctic drilling just took it one gigantic step too far. The Arctic is my home - I was born and raised in the Yukon, and where they proposed to drill was not far from where I used to take day trips with my family!

I saw that behind the occupation were the great minds and people of Greenpeace. I took the liberty of doing some pretty in-depth research into the organization and what I found BLEW MY MIND. The people who make the organization what it is today have worked together, risked everything, even their lives, all for the sake of ensuring a green and peaceful future for all generations. I wanted to be part of that. I wanted to be part of a possible movement so big that it will change the face of humanity, society, and the world forever - and I truly believe that it can and will happen with Greenpeace. Without hesitation, I put my all my body, heart, and soul into everything I do with the organization, because I truly do believe together we will make incredible strides.

2] In general … what motivates you in volunteerism?

The strong belief that we have, within our grasp, the power to change the world - it's all a matter of how you do it and the passion you have for the cause. I know that without a world to live in, life as we know it would cease to exist. I volunteer because I know that if you believe in something as strongly as I do, you don't want anything in return, except to see the result of what you do flourish before your very eyes.

3] Do you have a most memorable moment/activity/project at Greenpeace?

I would have to say when I spent hours upon hours cooped up in the Greenpeace polar bear suit in 35 degrees Celsius weather in Niagara Falls last year, doing my polar bear jig and dancing my little tail off. I could feel spoonfuls of sweat coming down my face and body and spent the day with only two nostrils to see through, yet I did not want to step out of that suit. I had a job to do and I wasn't going to let being uncomfortable get in the way of what was the good and right thing to do. If Lucy Lawless can pee into a bottle and eat almonds and peanut butter for four days on an oil rig, I can wiggle, sweat, and do photo ops in a bear suit!

4] Do you have an inspirational message that you want to share with other environmental activists like yourself?

We're not fighting just for ourselves and our loved ones now, but we're fighting for our children and our children's children, and so many more generations to come. If we don't act now, future generations will be the most poverty-stricken ever known - not in terms of financial means, but in that they won't have clean water to drink, clean air to breathe, and won't be able to play outside like we did as children. We want to ensure that future generations don't have to spend their whole lives cleaning up the mess that we made and left behind. It's a long fight, but it's a fight worth fighting. Causes are only lost when people give up.

Erika Tran Volunteer Spotlight - Toronto 2012Erika Tran Volunteer Spotlight - Niagara Fall July 2012

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