The Greenpeace Semester started in the fall of 2004. Originally called the Greenpeace Organizing Term, the program was born out of the idea that training passionate young activists in the key skills of grassroots organizing, strategic campaigning, and non-violent direct action was crucial to empowering the next generation to save the planet.
The first class had five students, and from there the program grew. Activists in the program – whether during their Semester or afterward - have had active roles in many of Greenpeace’s efforts over the last several years. Participants were a major part of our work to:
- protect the Boreal Forest from unsustainable logging practices by tissue giant Kimberly-Clark
- protect threatened fish species by convincing popular grocer Trader Joe’s to stop selling red-listed seafood
- organize communities to show elected officials that Americans want real action on climate change and that they don’t want dirty, dangerous fossil fuels or nuclear energy
- confront major electronics companies like Apple and Dell on the use of toxic materials in their products – and made a positive impact in the industry
Hundreds of young people have completed the program since its inception, and many continue to work fighting for the planet, either on their campuses, in their local communities, or as staff or active volunteers with Greenpeace and other organizations.