Volunteers are at the heart of Greenpeace, volunteering their time, energy and skills for the sake of a better world. Whether it is painting banners or murals, organising petitions or taking part in protests in a peaceful manner, our volunteers come from all walks of life but are united in their passion to take action for people and the planet.
So who are they, what do they do as volunteers, and more importantly, what drives them? Here are just a handful of the many inspiring stories from our volunteers around the world.
Lilly Teafa, 28, communications officer with the Tuvalu Family Health Association (TuFHA)
Volunteered with Greenpeace Australia Pacific for the Pacific Climate Justice Rainbow Warrior ship tour when it was in Tuvalu in July 2023.
“Being a volunteer means that you are not driven by money, and that you are driven by your will to make this world a better, safe and happy place.”
I got involved in the Rainbow Warrior ship tour through my cousin Talua Nivaga, who motivated me to join. I am a curious person, and when I knew that the Rainbow Warrior was coming to Tuvalu, I immediately signed up as one of the volunteers. I wanted to challenge myself and see what I can learn from the crew members of the ship and how they go around the world to fight for climate justice!
In a world where choices are driven by the value of money, volunteering is an opportunity for me to show youths and this world that money breaks families, it breaks communities and it breaks the world. I have seen what ‘money’ does to people, it makes people want power and when you want power, you will always want more, and wanting more means that you will only break more!
When the ship was in Funafuti, I was one of the interpreters for the crew members. When I interpreted, I learnt more and more and gained more and more communication skills. The Rainbow Warrior was a key that unlocked some of the potentials that I never knew about myself. It was a chance for me to channel all my feelings into advocacy work and was also a bonus way for me to give back to the land that I grew up in and to the people that made me who I am. Overall, the opportunity turned me into a ‘Rainbow Warrior’.
Riccardo Diellos, 22, student
Volunteer with Greenpeace Italy.
“I’d like for people to stop caring about individualism and profit at the expense of others, and start caring for their cohabitants on planet Earth.”
I started (volunteering with Greenpeace) in 2020. I volunteer with Greenpeace to make my voice heard during this climate crisis. I’d like for me and everyone else, including animals, to not die or have to flee as a result of disasters and to be able to experience nature in the next decades.
My motivation (to join an action in Ravenna where activists, dressed as dinosaurs, disrupted a golf game) was to be where some of the direct culprits are, the CEOs of fossil fuel companies, to send a clear message and ruin their fun while having a bit of fun ourselves. I volunteered to mediate between police and activists.
Volunteering means choosing where you want to have a direct impact with your actions. Each time I act I become aware of the power each one of us has when we are together and we speak up.
Valentina, 23, student
Volunteered with Greenpeace CEE for the Carpathian expedition, a 6-week journey bearing witness to the deforestation in the Carpathians.
There’s a much-loved saying in Romanian culture, “the forest is the green gold of the world”.
A trip which was first seen as a fun camping experience proved to be a bigger milestone than I had first anticipated. The Greenpeace team asked me to be a first-hand witness of the real situation in the forest. No additional brief was needed, I just had to open my eyes and see. And for a person who grew up hiking barefoot in the forest and who was taught to love and nurture its presence, it was my pleasure to do that.
What I saw was deforestation, which I see as form of genocide. It’s impossible to see it in any other way when hundreds of acres of forests are cut down in a single day. But I saw it. I saw what forests protect, and then what happens without them. It’s heartbreaking.
At the heart of the issue here is money. It is about greedy buyers from other countries who want wood and are willing to pay for it, and also the Romanian authorities who would do absolutely nothing to protect those forests. Why? For money. They get money from it, and would even look away when Romanian woodcutters are being paid the minimum possible (and thus kept in poverty and dependent on the big companies that come and hire their work for a pittance, and so the cycle repeats). They will ignore everyone who says that forests are important, that they protect us, give us fresh air, nurture life and could help us in regulating CO2 emissions.
Even five months after the expedition, I am still heartbroken and mad at those whose only motivation is money. And they would stomp over everything for that. Even on our beautiful green gold.
Michée N’Kwady Nkuna, 30, environmentalist
Volunteers with Greenpeace Africa.
“I’m convinced that collective action is essential to protect the environment, and am determined to continue campaigning for a sustainable future.”
I joined Greenpeace Africa as a volunteer in 2017. My passion for nature motivates my choice to take action alongside Greenpeace. The forests of the Congo Basin are being abused. They fall victim to the illegal activities of armed groups and poachers, who threaten the survival of plant and animal species. Local people, whose livelihoods depend on the forest, are deprived of their legitimate rights. It’s thanks to volunteering with Greenpeace that I can express myself, make my voice heard and denounce the many abuses committed against biodiversity and the injustices suffered by local communities.
As a Greenpeace volunteer, I have the opportunity to perform a variety of tasks and participate in many activities such as photo opportunities, offline petition collection, walks and clean ups. I have set up a theatrical group made up of volunteers to raise public awareness about climate change. I’m taking action to encourage African governments to make decisions that will protect our forests and combat climate change.
From the point of view of the political situation in my country, volunteering is the ideal framework to be able to express myself and do my bit to preserve the edifice. It’s so much fun to get together with other young people and collaborate on projects that have a positive impact. I’ve met new people and made new connections through the Greenpeace Africa volunteer network. Volunteering has enabled me to develop my skills and learn a lot. I believe that volunteering is the best way for young people to make a selfless contribution to society.
Gilvan Soares, Facilitator of the Zona da Mata Mineira Group in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil
Volunteers with Greenpeace Brazil.
“Volunteering at Greenpeace is more than a simple individual action; it is a collective force shaping a vision of a greener and fairer world.”
When I took my first step as a volunteer with Greenpeace Brazil, I had no idea how this experience would transform my life and my commitment to our planet. Through Conexão Verde, I had my first contact with other people, understood how the community functioned, and exchanged experiences with fellow members. Today, looking back, I see how incredibly impactful this journey has been, not only for me but also for the communities in the Zona da Mata and other local groups that we embraced with passion.
What makes this experience even more rewarding is how our campaigns come to life through the support of everyone and the passion each of us nurtures for the environment. Whether in the fight against climate change, the defense of forests, or the protection of oceans, each of us plays a crucial role in our own way.
Over time, I have seen our local community mobilize, raising awareness and taking action on local environmental issues, especially regarding the mining challenges we face in our state. I witnessed the building of strong connections with other groups like Belo Horizonte, São João Del Rey, and other organizations, strengthening our movement for a sustainable planet.
My initial motivation for volunteering at Greenpeace was to do my part in protecting the environment. Today, I know that I am doing much more. I am part of a global movement that is changing the world, one step at a time. In this journey, I have found not only an incredible community of people but also a purpose that inspires me every day.
Feel inspired? Find out ways to volunteer for your local Greenpeace.