The son of a war-service coal miner, David grew up in Western Australia where he became one the country’s foremost Aboriginal land rights lawyers.
After ten years in law, David took up an academic post at the University of Western Australia, teaching law, history and anthropology. In 2007, the lawyer turned activist when David moved to the UK and led Greenpeace’s biodiversity campaign to protect the world’s oceans, rainforests and the climate.
Returning to settle in Sydney with his wife - who is also a lawyer and academic - and their three year old daughter, David is upbeat and enthusiastic about his new role, Greenpeace and the future of the environment at this crucial juncture in Australian history.
“From the incredible Papuan rainforests to the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, our region is blessed with precious natural heritage. Right now, these remarkable places which are part of our home are under threat and it’s up to us as a community to defend them. While many people might not see themselves as ‘greenies,’ we all care about our home. We all want bays full of fish, wild forests, seasons that change as they should, clean skies and waters now and for our children, and that is at the heart of what Greenpeace is about,” said Ritter.
“Sadly, every Australian can tell a story of environmental decline. From Rockhampton to Margaret River, communities and families have seen places they loved now lost. As CEO at Greenpeace, I want to lead an organisation which draws on the experiences of Australians and the people of the Pacific - the whispering in our hearts that things are going wrong. When Australians put our minds to it, we know how to stand up to bullies; to stand up to the forces which think they can get away with trashing our beautiful country for short-term gain.
“I’m proud to lead an organisation that does not mind getting in the way of super trawlers, or sailing into nuclear test sites, or embarrassing big corporations for burning rainforests or trashing the oceans. That’s what Greenpeace does.”
David is already a well-known voice in political and social commentary and has written for the Griffith Review, the Australian Financial Review and the Australian. David is also a columnist for Global Policy based at the London School of Economics, and is the author of The Native Title Market (UWA Press) and Contesting Native Title (Allen & Unwin), and editor of Making Australian History: perspectives on the past since 1788 (Thomson Learning).
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Jessa Latona, Greenpeace Communications Officer: 0488 208 465
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