- A volunteer's perspective
Robert the volunteer (C) GREENPEACE / SHAROMOV
Today I lost my environmental activist cherry. Although I've been a Greenpeace supporter for a couple of years, this was the first time I've put my face out there for the organisation, and I wish I'd done it ages ago. Put aside all your preconceptions of hard-assed militants coupling with wind-burnt hippies. These people are down-to-earth, intelligent professionals with a bloody important message.
There were a couple of reasons why I offered to give up my Sunday for the Rainbow Warrior Target Climate Change Tour. Apart from the fact that I am passionate about the cause, it was a chance to spend some time on a ship that is an icon in its own right and a symbol for ecological movements all over the world. Even a grey day didn't keep the Wellington public and tourists away.
It was a real buzz to talk to people about their awareness and opinions on the issue of climate change. I didn't talk to a single person who thinks it's all a myth, and who didn't seem to want to do their bit, in whatever way they felt able. It's very clear to me that the will is there. What we need now is for people to put those words into real and tangible action. We can't rely on politicians to lead the way, but we can show them that we want what is best for the planet, and then get them fight it out for themselves in order to win own vote.
And in those rare moments when I wasn't on my soapbox, I got the chance for some good old-fashioned international exchange. A couple of highlights were hearing about a song entitled A Thousand Reasons to leave the Town of Skibbereen and practising my scant knowledge of Chinese characters in an attempt to communicate with a beaming middle-aged couple from Nanjing whose English was minimal. Then of course, there was the pure romance of quaffing a fantastic vegetable curry in the mess of the Rainbow Warrior as crew members went about their daily business around me.
Pablo the deckhand talks to some Wellington folk on the open day (C) GREENPEACE / SHAROMOV
So all things considered, it was an extremely good day. I came away with the distinct feeling that apart from being one of the most genuine and critical NGOs around, Greenpeace is also really sexy. So much so, that as I type this, I am considering applying for work on the frontlines as a door-knocker. So whaddaya say Greenpeace? Can I have a job?