Our global network of Greenpeace volunteers is feeling closer and closer as technology draws us in, giving us news ways to connect and communicate.  Things move and change fast in this new world, and our potential is exhilarating.  More and more, environmentalists are thinking deeply about how we can work together internationally to win big and solve these borderless, international problems which are affecting all of us.  Many believe we are now at a crossroads. For those who choose - it’s an opportunity to join the movement in creating a community of global leaders who are working collectively, using regional expertise, to create visions and plans to solve the environmental crisis around the world.  Community or “grassroots” campaigners have been popping up all over the world for years now, but today, these passionate people are connecting live and direct, more than ever before.

This week was the first session of Greenpeace’s Group Leadership 101 ... the International Volunteer Lab's online, weekly training course spanning over 7 weeks.  As part of the core curriculum team, I am proud to tell you all about it.

We connected for the first time on a Tuesday night (Wednesday for some) and bonded over our passions, and our drive to work or volunteer with Greenpeace.  There was an awesome combination of almost 30 Local Group volunteers and staff joining the course from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and the US. 

From Canada, We have volunteers participating from coast to coast in Victoria, Medicine Hat, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Toronto, Newfoundland and Montreal!   WOW!  This is a first for us. It was a fun start to what I know is going to be a really great learning experience and experiment in online volunteer training and improved collaboration between other Greenpeace offices around the globe.

We are using COURSEsites, which is a free and interactive platform for online learning, and it comes highly recommended. The course consists of weekly video workshops; break out group discussions, and practical assignments for people to apply what they are learning to their individual Local Groups.   Trainers range from Greenpeace professionals, volunteers, and training specialists from other organizations around the world.

Sharing ideas about what it means to be a strong leader, contemplating course norms, and diving deeper into cross-culture communications were some of the highlights from this first session.  There were many well-articulated comments which people shared on what “good leadership” means - among them being one that really resonated with me:

“Leadership is making people feel comfortable sharing ideas and to feel supported, to be the tireless voice of a shared vision and to work hard to help bring that vision to life.”

~ Helen Barron (Local Group Organizer in Medicine Hat, Alberta)

The next seven weeks are going to be really special for me.  It’s not often I have to opportunity to skill share (for an hour and half) with other likeminded activists around the world.  It’s these unique opportunities that make Greenpeace a driver of social and environmental change, and I really hope to share what I learn with my team here at home, as well as  continue to organize more of these experiences for others.

If you are interested in learning more about Greenpeace training opportunities in the future, please contact one of our regional volunteer organizers.

To learn more about Greenpeace Local Groups in Canada, be sure to read more here.

With Respect,

Aspa Tzaras

National Volunteer Program Coordinator in Canada