Switch on the Sun

Agog at the variety of participation in unifying Greenpeace’s Switch on the Sun, Renewable Energy (RE) campaign, here is a profile on the volunteers at Greenpeace. Since they come from diverse academic backgrounds such as law, engineering, literature, management, they brought in a potpourri of ideas to successfully awaken, enlighten and jerk people into saving the environment.

Apoorv Tiwari - Engineering student at IP University, Delhi.

Apoorv TiwariHe believes climate change and environment degradation should be the foremost priority of the nation. He feels different organizations are working to set things right but Greenpeace pragmatically mass mobilizes people to support its efforts. Also, as a bonus he finds the work environment at Greenpeace 'friendly, productive and encouraging.'

He worked as a photographer in the RE campaign documenting multiple events. He even prepared a montage of people pledging their rooftops. It was his first time taking pictures of total strangers about which, at first, he was a bit reluctant. A lot of his pictures are being used on the Greenpeace Facebook page and blog.

Right now, during his summer break he is for volunteering with Greenpeace. In fact, his idea of moss graffiti for the monsoons will soon be tabled at a Greenpeace brainstorming session.

Anupriya Agarwal - Engineering student at Banasthali University, Rajasthan.

Anupriya Agarwal- Anupriya chose Greenpeace because she feels man is on a rampage to destroy the environment in the name of development. In her own words, "Greenpeace is a speed breaker reminding man to hold onto his blind horses." Another reason for her to volunteer was that Greenpeace stands on its own without accepting funds from the government. This she feels, reflects how strong an individual organization can be and it is what matters to her the most.

At Greenpeace she worked with the kids activity department and loved every bit of it. "Seeing their enthusiasm infused new energy to toil in the scorching sun. My summer breaks already have a big part dedicated to Greenpeace and its events. I would also like to add new ideas to our innovation tank."

Komal Daal - B.Com Graduate from DU; currently a CAT Aspirant.

Komal DaalKomal always wanted to do something for the environment and the work done by Greenpeace had enthralled her immensely, especially the friendly work culture. "The people always encourage and support your views. They accept both employees and volunteers from all backgrounds which simply makes the work more interesting."

So far, she has participated in the RE campaign, where she had earlier chosen the kid's activities department. "I realized I was not so good at it, so switched on to baking cakes in solar cookers. I certainly have gained a lot of information and learnt the basics of management through my peers."

What's next for her? "I am planning to pursue a masters degree so I may not be able to help out in every activity but will always support Greenpeace in some way or other."

Shweta Sood- Former management associate at an e-learning start up, currently looking for opportunities in the development sector.

Shweta SoodMention Greenpeace and Shweta Sood is definitely not short of words. "Because nothing better enlightens the heart and mind than working with a team that is enthusiastic and game changing. The problem with non-renewable energy and talks of sustainable living are more active than ever before. Each citizen bears a moral responsibility to do what little they can to steer society in the right direction."

Her experience in the RE fairs was recent. She points out that in an attempt to spread word about the usage of solar cookers, she baked chocolate cakes using solar cookers. "Interacting with various people at the event and seeing them interested in learning about alternative sources of energy furthered my belief in the cause, and I hope the RE fairs become a common recurrence in different parts of the country." For Shweta, writing is her first love, and Greenpeace provided her with a platform to pen her thoughts in the form of a blog on the website. "Overall, I believe the idea of working with people purely out of goodwill was a great experience. Volunteering at Greenpeace has been an absolute joyride till now, and hopefully we'll see better times ahead with more awareness, engagement and activity!"

Mitali Mohapatra - Graduated High School.

Mitali MohapatraAsk Mitali why Greenpeace, she'll answer by teaching you the basics of environment protection- "In the present scenario where man is thirsty to earn lots of money he has forgotten that destroying the planet will lead to his own destruction. And to make them realize this, Greenpeace came into being." Accordingly she feels it is an organization that spreads awareness about utilizing natural resources of energy in a renewable way. "It exists for a very noble cause which is why I whole-heartedly support it. I came as a volunteer but now I feel that I have become a Green Peace family member. Today I am a volunteer, who knows tomorrow I may become a Greenpeace employee."

Kritica Mahajan - Graduated High School.

Kritica MahajanKritica had heard of Greenpeace but got to know more about it through her sister. "I have always wanted to show my support towards alternate resources of energy and work towards protecting the environment. Greenpeace gave me the best opportunity to do so. What attracted me was the friendly work environment. It drove you to work more."

She helped with the children's activities in the RE fairs. "Handling children teaches you how to be patient especially when a kid calls you aunty. It was amazing to see so many kids, each different from another, paint their thoughts on solar energy." What she learnt at Greenpeace-"Joking around and an easy-going attitude doesn't hinder one's sincerity. Work can also be done in a casual and friendly environment too."

Suman Kasana - Economics (H) graduate from SRCC (DU), currently a civil services aspirant.

SumanSuman first volunteered for Greenpeace when she was 16. For her, Greenpeace is the right platform for people with the right mindset; especially those who want to contribute in bringing about change in society. "There are a lot of other organizations working on environmental issues but it was Greenpeace's core value of non-violent direct action that got me connected. It has been three years since I have been a part of Greenpeace and so far there has been no looking back. I have grown as a responsible and confident individual with every activity I have participated in."

She congratulates Greenpeace and the Delhi PE team on taking the initiative to successfully organize one of its kind RE fairs across Delhi. "It was a good learning experience and I got to know more about Greenpeace campaigns such as coal and renewable energy in detail." She was responsible for the Photo-Exhibition through which she made people understand why there is a need to switch over to renewable sources of energy. "Initially I had reservations about it and was extremely nervous but with every fair the task became easy and smooth. Muqeet and Brikesh made it all the more easy."

Suman is due to start preparing for the civil services exam. With bike-a-thon being her last on ground Greenpeace activity she will continue supporting the campaigns online. "I will always have Greenpeace and Environment at the back of my mind."

Preetam Sengupta - Programme Officer, Save The Children, India.

The enthusiasm for preserving the environment can be gauged from Preetam's words- "Why not Greenpeace?" It's an organization that works independently to raise issues effectively." He feels this makes the government accountable for its insensitive developmental policies. "I believe it takes tremendous courage to stand and advocate for change, and I must admit, Greenpeace is doing an incredible job in advocating the change we wish and hope to see."

His experience till now has been 'truly exhilarating!' "So far I've been part of the RE Campaign, Save the Rainforests, Sustainable Fishing and Junglistan; I take immense pride in saying that with each of the above-mentioned campaign, my understanding of our environment, our surrounding has grown and delved deeper. In the process I met people from different walks of life, connected with absolute strangers and made some amazing friends. I thank Greenpeace for enriching my life with so many wonderful experiences! Looking forward to infinite years of association with Greenpeace... more campaigns, more action. After all, the world needs it!"

Shambhavi Saxena- Student of English Literature at DU.

Shambhavi believes in Greenpeace-"Because its core values appeal greatly to me and I want to be involved in action that contributes to energy, resource and natural conservation on a grand scale. It was good to see people of all ages engaging with the issues directly."

In the RE Fairs, she helped with poster making and t-shirt designing. An experience she recounts- "The materials were not up to the participants' expectations. Brushes were in poor condition. It would be better if participants received proper materials. T-shirt designing had a really cool outcome, however, there were two women who insisted on taking two t-shirts and when I asked them to leave their finished t-shirts with me, they said they had done so, but they hadn't. Didn't really know how to respond to that situation."

Gajanan Pai - Project Engineer, Hero MotoCorp.

Gajanan PaiWhy Greenpeace- "GREEN! Having lived in the Western Ghats all my life, I have a deep sense of attachment towards my environment." Gajanan has been involved with Greenpeace through its mails, after which he not only trusts Greenpeace's initiatives but also hopes for a positive change. "I loved being in Greenpeace for the two RE fairs! I got to interact with fantastic, energetic people. I learnt a lot about interaction, presentation and positivity. There still are a lot of things to learn and know. The organization of the event is remarkable be it the street play, the way people are engaged, activities for kids or the viability and technical analysis. I believe there are a lot of things to do in my life outside an MBA and a highly paid job."

For him, Greenpeace stands for unsullied teamwork to spread awareness about the ills of environment degradation. He also feels Greenpeace taught him to make his work more enjoyable. "It has motivated me to see and do more. Looking forward to a long association with Greenpeace! Hopefully, be a part of a lot many campaigns, fairs and awareness programs!"

Sunil Sharma - Lead OPS, IBM.

Sunil believes the environment is being side-lined in man's pursuit of development. "In my view, Greenpeace is going in the right direction by raising a alarm to save the environment. I too have decided to join and make a difference."

He feels the most rewarding experience was to interact with people of various age groups and distinct backgrounds. "For me this works as a great opportunity to interact and observe people. Team work is the next best thing."

Ask him what's next, comes the enthusiastic reply-"Let tomorrow come, I'll be up for it."

Muqeet Ul Ifrikhar Drabu - 2nd year law student at NUJS Kolkata.

With the gift of the gab, Muqeet gave a more than convincing argument as to why he chose Greenpeace. "Why Greenpeace? It's all in the name. An institution that stands for peaceful cohabitation with nature and is a living embodiment of all its virtues, demands all the praises it deserves. Working for this prestigious organization opens up various avenues and provides opportunities for getting to know such like-minded and passionate individuals, which is what the whole legal fraternity is about. As such Greenpeace was the place for me."

Outlining his experience he cogently states- "Despite my best efforts I would fail to sufficiently express the innumerable instances of pure joy and breath-taking clarity that allowed for such an interesting period of volunteer-ship. Primarily working with the Public Engagement department, my work revolved around writing stories, setting up exhibitions, and generally giving a hand wherever required, obviously with copious amounts of sarcasm."

What's next? "Well, the end of existence as we know it. But Greenpeace is working delaying it a bit. And I, forever ready, shall be willing to provide my support whenever required."

Aaquib Mir - Civil/Structural Engineer at Punj Lloyd Engineering (Gurgaon).

Aaquib MirAaquib takes you back to the philosophy behind Greenpeace. "Greenpeace is not just an organization but a revolution in itself. Independence, non-violence, and creative confrontation – the ethos framed by the co-founders of Greenpeace is what inspired me to volunteer in the first place. I as an individual have been involved in polluting the environment whether through the smoke of my car or wasting natural resources." He thus volunteered for Greenpeace to compensate for the slightest of ills caused by him to the environment. "I think if every individual thinks in such a way then the coming generation would have a cleaner, greener Earth with all the abundance of nature."

When asked why he chose Greenpeace, comes the terse reply- "Having been stuck in the hackneyed corporate life, I certainly wanted to be a part of a place where your ideas are valued and there is space for public interaction."

He was amazed at seeing the enthusiasm of people towards renewable solar power in the RE fairs. He states that the people's main concerns were fraudulent government policies. "Don't wait for change, rather be a part of change. A single person can bring a revolution for generations to follow." In the near future he wants to create awareness about environment conservation and Greenpeace.

Vivek Goyal - Activist

Vivek Goyal"When I started working with Greenpeace, I discovered a hero inside me who believes in the Greenpeace mission, vision, values and continuously fights to save the planet." Vivek has always felt charged up whenever he has worked for Greenpeace. He achieves a sense of satisfaction in working for the environment.

"As an activist I think this voice must reach each and every corner of the planet." He feels the need for a continuous fight to save the planet.



Arpita Seth is a Media Intern with Greenpeace India. Blog with inputs from Sanchita Mahajan, Intern at Greenpeace India.