3 Lessons We’ve Learned in 3 Years of Movement Organizing

by David McElhatton

March 14, 2017

The Movement Support Hub — Greenpeace’s initiative to collaborate with grassroots activists and communities — is turning three this month! Here are some of the things we’ve learned along the way and how they’ve shaped our vision for green, peaceful, and just future.

Break Free Action in Washington D.C.

Movement Support Hub allies from the Gulf and the Arctic came together to demand “no new leases” as part of the Break Free From Fossil Fuels action in Washington, DC.

© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

Greenpeace’s Movement Support Hub launched in 2014 with the purpose of engaging grassroots allies on the frontlines of the climate and environmental justice movements. We hoped that in forming the Hub, we would build, deepen, and repair relationships while learning how we can tackle the climate crisis from those who are most directly affected by it.

At the time, we knew this would help Greenpeace live out our mission and attack climate injustice at the root, and help make Greenpeace’s wins a win for the whole movement.

That same focus holds true today and is still essential to creating the future we want to see, but we’ve also learned a few things along the way that are worth sharing with you, the supporters who make our work possible.

1. Building and deepening relationships takes time and intention.

Powerful partnerships don’t just happen by accident. It takes years of building trust and working together to forge deep and lasting partnerships that bring big wins for our environment and communities.

Over the last three years, the Hub has engaged with more than 75 climate and environmental justice organizations annually through one-on-one meetings and through networks like the Climate Justice Alliance, Building Equity and Alignment Initiative, and the Extreme Energy and Extraction Collaborative.

We’ll keep working hard in 2017 and beyond to make sure Greenpeace is a strong movement partner.

2. Greenpeace is stronger when we aren’t going it alone.

The Hub has connected our campaigns to key allies who have a stake in stopping drilling in the Arctic and the Gulf, who are building a vision for a just transition away from fossil fuels, and who are rising united in resistance to the Trump administration’s oppressive agenda.

These connections have made our campaigns stronger. For instance, there’s no way the #ShellNo movement could have succeeded without the leadership of grassroots allies and Indigenous organizers across Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Stopping Shell from drilling in the arctic wasn’t just a Greenpeace victory — it was a victory for the climate justice movement.

Working more closely with our allies has also allowed Greenpeace to show up in rapid response to movement moments like Standing Rock and the People’s Climate March.

3. We’ve got more learning to do — and we want you to learn along with us.

Greenpeace has grown and changed a lot in three years. We’re more movement minded — now more than ever we need to continue the work in strong alliance with the people most impacted by climate injustice.

Over the last three years, the Hub has helped Greenpeace formalize our commitment to intersectional movement building by facilitating the development of our Indigenous Peoples Policy and our endorsement of the Vision for Black Lives platform. In 2017 and beyond, we’ll continue to focus on honoring our commitment to put racial justice and Indigenous rights at the center of our work by putting these policies into practice, pushing to align our approach to working with allies, and maintain our commitment to the Jemez Principles of organizing.

We’re looking forward to another year of movement building with Greenpeace — and we want you to be a part of it! Join us on Greenwire and get connected to activists in your area building the movement for climate justice.

David McElhatton

By David McElhatton

David McElhatton is a National Organizer at Greenpeace USA.

We Need Your Voice Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.