Curriculum and Training

Page - May 3, 2010
Comprehensive training is at the core of the Greenpeace Semester. The curriculum is dynamic and challenging in order to give participants the skills and experience needed to be effective advocates for the planet.

GOT classroomdiscussionWhat is training like?

The Greenpeace Semester combines classroom-based workshops, exercises and discussions with real-world projects and travel to work in communities. Students will leave the program with a comprehensive set of activist skills and a life-changing experience.

Each week will offer something new and different, combining case studies, issues briefings, workshops, reading discussion, and projects. With the rare opportunity to work so deeply on environmental issues, students will be challenged to take their skills to the next level.

What will I learn?

GOT climb trainingGrassroots Organizing to Protect the Planet

The Greenpeace Semester includes over fifty cutting-edge workshops in building groups, organizing events, talking to the media, non-violent direct action, and campaign strategy.  These include: organizing successful events, working with volunteers, giving good interviews, forming an active group, and using social media to educate people about an issue.

Planning Effective Environmental Campaigns

Learning the tools to develop both strategic and creative environmental campaigns can be an integral part to making a big impact back home. This is why we will teach you all the necessary pieces to planning a fun and effective campaign to make a sustainable future a reality.

In these workshops you'll learn how Greenpeace has been successful over the years and the lessons we've learned. You'll learn how to choose an issue, develop a strategy, and how to execute your campaign. You'll spend time learning how to create an effective message that will gain support for an issue and effectively communicate to your community. You'll also get a taste of what it's like to talk to reporters about an issue.

GOT trainingNon-Violent Direct Action

Greenpeace is committed to non-violent direct action as a means of creating lasting change for the planet. During the program, you'll spend a week learning about this and how to make banners and signs, some basic technical skills, and the philosophy and practice of peaceful direct action.


To encourage participants to become strategic advocates for the environment, students read books and articles on topics including global environmental problems, campaign strategy, strategic messaging, the theory of organizing, and other reports and documents. Students are expected to complete weekly reading assignments and fully participate in regular reflective discussions. Reading materials change each term but past readings have included:

  • Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals by Saul D. Alinsky, 1971.
  • Don't Think of an Elephant! by George Lakoff, 2004
  • The Heat is On by Ross Gelbspan, 1998
  • Organizing for Change by Kim Bobo, Jackie Kendall and Steve Max, 2001