15 July 2014
Kumi Naidu Visits Greenpeace Bangalore Office © Greenpeace / Jyoti Karat
Over the past year, I have been working as a face-to-face fundraiser at Greenpeace. I am part of a passionate group of people, both young and old, men and women, who spend day after day on the streets of India, speaking to strangers and encouraging them to embrace a more sustainable approach to their lives. Our teams are spread across seven cities in India.
I really enjoy my work as a fundraiser for Greenpeace because it gives me the opportunity to speak to people of various demographics and urge them to take the first step towards a cleaner, greener environment. On a daily basis, I get a chance to talk to more than 30 people, and each conversation is different from the previous one. I even meet people who mistake me for a salesman or a parking attendant, and then there are those who are inspired by the work we do and want to support the movement whole heartedly.
The month of June 2014, was a month like no other! Not only because the World Environment Day falls on this month, but also because Greenpeace was in news in connection to the controversial IB report. Despite the baseless accusations against Greenpeace, a record number of 4,000 supporters across India decided to join Greenpeace in June. I was responsible for enrolling 152 out of 4,000 which incidentally was the highest enrollment by any team member.
I vividly remember reading the papers about the accusations that were part of the leaked IB report. The report never reached our organization. I was worried and hesitant to go back on the streets but I mustered my courage and with the backing of my team, went back out. What ensued was perhaps the most rewarding week – people knew about Greenpeace, they understood the work we did and were more than happy to support the work we did – both morally and monetarily.
This not only gave me the much-needed encouragement to be a voice of the environment, but also bolstered the confidence of all my colleagues across India. All of us together have spoken to around 42,000 people which is also the highest ever number recorded.
I am grateful to all the individuals who spent two minutes of their time with me and listened to everything I had to say regardless of whether they became financial donors or not. By doing this, you lent your voice to the otherwise voiceless environment. You lent your voice to causes that are often neglected, and yet impacts our lives the most. You lent your voice to safeguarding the future of our country!
Manish Kumar is a fundraiser at Greenpeace India.