In 1992, famous Irish rock band U2 made an action to protest with Greenpeace against the THORP nuclear power plant in the UK. Elmer, a supporter of the band’s advocacies and a fan of their music, told himself, “I will join Greenpeace as a volunteer one day.”
Elmer Vestidas, a native of Makati City, loves the sea and the mountains. He was an active mountaineer in his younger years which developed his understanding of what should be done to protect the environment.
In 2007, he met some friends who had a contact in Greenpeace Philippines. He joined them for a volunteer orientation.After that, the rest is history.
Over the years, Greenpeace paved the way for his involvement, enhancing his skills while adding his voice to the calls to defend the environment. He became conscious of reducing his carbon footprint and the importance of non-violence in protest actions. Likewise, he learned to give freely without expecting anything in return and to accept what is freely given to him.
Volunteering for Greenpeace is not easy. Like most volunteers before him, he has gone through a wide range of assignments: from encoding and production work to big actions and ship logistics. But his friends in the organization, old and new, kept him going. Through the challenges they faced, his Greenpeace friends have become part of his life, and the best part is, the list just keeps growing!
According to Elmer, overcoming the challenges as a volunteer has made him more human. One of his most memorable experiences was in 2010, when he became part of a committee that launched a series of bar gigs, a music video, and a big concert to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
Now, Elmer is a volunteer deckhand aboard the organization’s ship--the M/V Esperanza--which is currently in the unique Arctic habitat of Bear Island to confront Arctic oil drilling.
Volunteers are an integral part of Greenpeace. Volunteering will give you opportunities to do things that you can only imagine. Just like Elmer, you can let your voice be heard, and enthuse other people to protect this fragile Earth.
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