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Winter 2018

Hanging On To Existence

A Magazine By

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From the Executive Director

Photo of Annie Leonard, Executive Director

Indonesia’s rainforests may seem very far away from the U.S., yet their destruction is affecting the whole world. They are the third largest rainforest region on Earth; vital in regulating the climate and critical to our future in a dangerously warming world.

What happens to forests happens to all of us, and Greenpeace is bringing all of our best strategies, strengths, and skills to the fight to stop Indonesia’s rainforests from being further destroyed by the expanding palm oil industry. Over the last few months we have brought high, global visibility to the issue—with the release of reports on Greenpeace’s in-depth investigations and exposés, the use of creative communication to inspire people to take action, and the deployment of the full power of our movement to effect change.

As we defend forests overseas to fight global warming, we are striving for climate leadership here at home. While the Trump Administration and its regressive policies require our most determined resistance, Greenpeace is simultaneously pushing for real climate leadership in California to create the progress we need to address global warming.

Greenpeace pulled out all the stops in the run up to Governor Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit, using creative direct action and grassroots organizing tactics to demand that before he leaves office, he acts as the climate leader that California, the country, and the world urgently need. We’ll continue to call for him to stop new permits for oil and gas extraction, phase out fossil fuels and related infrastructure, and move the state towards a fair and just 100% renewable energy economy to model climate action not only in California, but for other states and countries as well.

Your support is what makes it possible for Greenpeace to go the distance in every fight we take on. Whether it’s saving rainforests and critically endangered animals, protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems, taking on the world’s biggest corporations, or any other issue affecting our earth, you are the reason Greenpeace can be a powerful force for a better future for people and the planet.

For a green and peaceful future,

Signature of Annie Leonard, Executive Director

Annie Leonard, Executive Director

Greenpeace USA

Our Mission

Greenpeace, Inc. is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Please visit to learn more about Greenpeace, Inc., and to learn more about Greenpeace Fund, Inc.

This update is intended to provide a comprehensive summary of all Greenpeace campaign activities. Please note that all donations to Greenpeace Fund, Inc. were solely used in connection with 501(c)(3) permissible activities. ISSN: 8899- 0190. Unless otherwise noted, all contents are © Greenpeace, Inc.

© Greenpeace / Geoff Reid

Notes From An Indonesian Activist Who Occupied Wilmar's Palm Oil Refinery

By Waya Maweru

As part of our recent global campaign push to protect rainforests, our colleagues in Indonesia staged a superb direct action at Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil traders’ oil refinery in Bitung, North Sulawesi. On September 25th, thirty brave activists scaled 20 meter high containers to deliver a message to the industry, to stop destroying rainforests for palm oil. We are honored to introduce you to Waya, one of our amazing activists. She wrote this piece the morning of the action.

I remember when I was a kid, Papa always took me back to his hometown to see Oma, my grandmother, every Christmas. The town Papa is from is called Manado, in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, and it’s so beautiful. Like Bali, where I study now, but less well-known.

Once, Papa invited us to travel far out of the city to Lembeh Island, famous for its underwater riches. When we were on the island we could enjoy the view of the city of Bitung in the distance, with a beautiful view of Mount Klabat on the other side.

This memory from my childhood makes my heart wince, knowing that Bitung has since become a home for forest destruction.

When I also consider that makers of everyday products like Ritz, Colgate, and Dove are contributing to the loss of the home of the Cenderawasih bird in Papua, the cute Orangutan in Kalimantan, and the Sumatran Tiger, which is getting closer to extinction, I feel even worse.

I was enjoying the sunset on Kuta Beach, Bali, thinking this over when I realized I can’t keep quiet. I want to act. I want to do something about it, to stand up to these brands and tell them to immediately #DropDirtyPalmOil.

Today, my breathing is unsteady and my palms are sweating. When the rubber boat slides from Lembeh island, my body will move from where I keep the good memories. I’ll see Bitung in the distance, with its tanks of dirty palm oil. I’ll shout, “this is not the scene I want!”

I want to see the beautiful rainforest. I want to see the wildlife of Indonesia’s pride move swiftly and dance freely in our forests. I want my life to be clean from dirty palm oil. I want dirty producers to change straight away, and no longer trash our forests.

I am Waya Maweru. I am an Indonesian woman of Manado blood. With full awareness, I will stand to fight for the future of Indonesia’s forests.

And today, standing at the doors of the world’s dirtiest palm oil giant—me and other Greenpeace activist friends from various parts of the world—are asking makers of products like Ritz, Colgate, and Dove to #DropDirtyPlamOil, drop Wilmar.

Shortly after this action, Sulawesi felt the horrible impact of an earthquake and Tsunami. We hold the people of Indonesia in our hearts and send our sincere condolences to the victims of Donggala and Palu, Central Sulawesi.

Take action for the forests by adding your name to our petition at

Waya Maweru

Student, Barista, and Greenpeace Indonesia activist

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© Nugroho Adi Putera / Greenpeace

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Capturing Hearts and Calling Millions to Action

By Diana Ruiz

As a way to raise awareness of the plight of orangutans in Indonesia and the links to deforestation, we introduced the world to an adorable little character named Rang-tan. In a 90-second film we tell the story about a little girl and her orangutan friend forced from her forest home. Within just two weeks, Rang-tan had already been viewed more than 2.5 million times, capturing the hearts of many.

Rang-tan shows the direct link between palm oil destruction in the forests of Indonesia and our shopping carts. Indonesian rainforests are destroyed to grow row upon row of dirty palm oil found in everyday products that we all use. Palm oil is a key ingredient in snack foods, cosmetics, and cleaning products—this vegetable oil is in over half the products sold in supermarkets, meaning it’s in pretty much everything we use daily.

Holding Corporations Accountable

Greenpeace is campaigning for big companies to take responsibility and make sure that the palm oil used in their products isn’t made at the greatest cost of our forests.

Global consumer companies have made multiple promises, pledges, and commitments to cut their ties with companies that are destroying rainforests. The corporate executives of leading consumer brands like Unilever, Mondelez, and Nestlé committed to protect forests and address climate change. They pledged to clean up their palm oil supply chains (including soya, beef, pulp & paper, and timber) by 2020. Meaning that they would not buy palm oil from companies that are destroying forests. Yet despite these promises, palm oil continues to be one of the leading drivers of deforestation.

The time is now for companies to fix the problem they created before it’s too late. We are less than 450 days from 2020 and deforestation shows no sign of slowing down.

While company sustainability guidelines now include “no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation” (NDPE) policies on paper, they lack tangible enforcement on the ground. Rainforest destruction for palm oil is a disaster for wildlife, people, and our climate. These precious forests are essential to our survival.

What Do We Lose If Business As Usual Continues?

Indonesia’s rainforests are rapidly disappearing. It’s gotten so bad that, between 2012 and 2015 roughly one soccer field of forests was lost every 25 seconds.

The rapid rate of deforestation has greatly impacted the wildlife found in these richly diverse forests. All three types of orangutans, the Bornean, Sumatran, and recently discovered Tapanuli species qualify as critically endangered.

These forests are also crucial to restoring our climate. Land use change from tropical deforestation accounts for 12% of global carbon emissions. While forests represent huge carbon sinks for our global climate, recent studies have shown that deforestation rates of tropical forests are now emitting more carbon then they absorb.

So, for the love of forests and orangutans, join us to put pressure on these big companies to create the sea change needed to reform the industry.

In an explosive investigative report, Final Countdown, Greenpeace reveals that some of the world’s best-known brands are still doing business with palm oil suppliers linked to rainforest destruction and human rights abuses. The report documents extensive deforestation and human rights abuses by 25 of the worst palm oil producer groups that are supplying palm oil traders and consumer companies.

To learn more and watch the Rang-tan film, visit

Diana Ruiz

Greenpeace USA Palm Oil Campaigner

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© Bjorn Vaugn / BOSF / Greenpeace

Carting Away the Oceans

By David Pinsky

In Greenpeace’s 10th anniversary edition of our Carting Away the Oceans report, we evaluate major U.S. grocery retailers on their sustainable seafood commitments and rank supermarkets on their efforts to protect our oceans and the people who depend on them.

Whole Foods, Hy-Vee, ALDI, and Target topped the list for their sustainable seafood practices. Price Chopper, Save Mart, and Wakefern were the worst ranked companies. While 90% of the 22 assessed retailers passed, all must take significant action to address ongoing labor and human rights abuses in the seafood industry and to eliminate single-use plastics in their operations.

Still, this is notable progress given that in 2008 when Greenpeace first issued this report, all supermarkets evaluated failed. Thanks to our supporters we have seen marked improvements over the last ten years and have built a powerful body of research and relationships with retailers that position us to further push for major improvements for ocean health and the human rights of seafood workers.

David Pinsky

Greenpeace USA Senior Oceans Campaigner

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© Will Rose / Greenpeace

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The Legal Attack on Advocacy and Free Speech

By Tom Wetterer

Greenpeace filed motions to dismiss the amended complaint brought by Energy Transfer Partners in the baseless $900 million suit against organizations, movements, and individuals that opposed the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock reservation.

Earlier this summer a federal judge dismissed BankTrack and Earth First! from the case and ordered Energy Transfer Partners to file an amended version of its original complaint against Greenpeace or face dismissal because the pipeline company had failed to plead “simple, concise and direct” allegations.

Despite this order, Energy Transfer Partners filed an amended complaint adding five individual defendants and broadening its claims to include protests at other pipelines in Louisiana and Pennsylvania. Rather than simplifying them, the amended complaint expands the company’s rambling, vague, and nonsensical claims. Adding even more accusations against protests of its other controversial pipelines shows that the company’s true intent is to silence any opposition.

Publicly disagreeing with a corporation, especially a documented environmental and human rights offender like Energy Transfer Partners, is not a crime. Free speech and free association are consecrated in the First Amendment and that’s what Greenpeace is fighting for here—people’s rights to speak up to power.

The case put forward by Energy Transfer Partners is a textbook strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) that rests on meritless legal claims to punish advocacy and activism. Previously, an oddly similar lawsuit was brought against Greenpeace and others by Resolute Forest Products, Canada’s largest logging company, in an attempt to silence people speaking out to save the Boreal forest.

Bogus lawsuits like these have brought different movements together to defend basic human rights like freedom of speech and freedom of association. These motions to dismiss coincide with the launch of the “Protect the Protest” task force in the United States, bringing together more than 20 organizations across different sectors to campaign against corporations and people in positions of power who try to use SLAPPs to limit free speech and silence critics.

“Protect the Protest” is the result of our shared determination to work together to provide legal, communications, and strategic support to people and groups across the country who are sued for political dissent, criticizing egregious corporate practices, or simply speaking up for the good of our communities and planet.

Learn more at

Tom Wetterer

Greenpeace USA General Counsel

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© Greenpeace

Recent Wins for Our Oceans, Forests, and Climate

McDonald’s stepping away from plastic straws! The global fast food giant announced that it will phase out plastic straws in the UK and Ireland by 2019, and that it will trial alternatives to plastic straws in select restaurants in the U.S., France, Sweden, Norway, and Australia. Greenpeace is urging McDonald’s to do even more, to urgently eliminate all single use plastic from its restaurants.

Krill fishing industry on board for protecting Antarctic Ocean! A Greenpeace campaign to create the world’s largest marine protected area in Antarctica, backed by 1.7 million people globally, has received the unprecedented support of the vast majority of krill fishing companies operating in Antarctic waters. Nearly all krill companies have agreed to stop fishing in huge areas around the Antarctic Peninsula, including “buffer zones” around breeding colonies of penguins, to protect Antarctic wildlife.

Aramark reducing single-use plastics globally! One of the world’s largest foodservice management companies committed to significantly reduce its use of single-use plastic products by 2022—including straws, stirrers, bags, cutlery, and various packaging materials—across the 19 countries where it serves two billion meals annually. Importantly, the company has recognized that progress on plastics should not come at the expense of the disabled community, ensuring that straws remain available for those who need them.

Global consumer brands publicly disclose critical supply chain data. Our campaign caused a breakthrough in the industry after publishing two critical reports in 2018. Starting with our report, ‘Moment of Truth,’ where we challenged 16 brands to prove they were not buying from forest destroyers by naming the palm oil companies and mills that produce the palm oil they use. We successfully moved eight leading brands in the Spring and started a movement in the supply chain sector that is now prevalent across snackfood, personal care and cosmetic companies. We now have 17 companies that publicly disclose the suppliers and mills they source palm oil from. Until earlier this year companies had maintained this information was confidential or proprietary. In our report ‘Final Countdown,’ we were able to cross reference supplier and mill data from consumer companies and palm oil traders to establish the links all the way to the plantations.

One of the biggest achievements of this most recent report is that now we have established the connection from land to supermarkets and lunch boxes showing that no brand can guarantee their products are free from destroying forests.

Canadian court quashes approval of tar sands pipeline! A Canadian federal court unanimously ruled that the Canadian government did not properly consult with First Nations about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and did not assess the seven-fold increase in tar sands tanker and barge traffic that would result from the pipeline expansion. This increase in tar sands tanker traffic could have a devastating impact on the survival of the endangered Southern Resident Orca, whose habitat the tar sands tanker route crosses. Greenpeace is working to support a global movement to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, including pressuring Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to drop the government’s support for the pipeline and cancel the project. The court’s decision represents a major setback for the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and will mean months of delay—a huge win for Indigenous Nations and the environment—and a testament to the strength of the Indigenous-led movement to stop pipelines.

Stay up-to-date on breaking Greenpeace news at!

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© Roie Galitz

The Case for Creating an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary

By John Hocevar

Against the backdrop of the 200th anniversary of Antarctica’s discovery, Greenpeace conducted groundbreaking work this year to underscore the need to establish sanctuaries in the Weddell Sea and adjacent waters surrounding the Antarctica land mass.

With extensive scientific analysis led by Antarctic seafloor biologist, Dr. Susanne Lockhart and our team, 2018 brought new research to the surface in support of pending proposals for marine reserves in Antarctic waters.

Using a two-person submarine able to reach depths of 2,000 feet, spectacular images of biodiversity and marine life in these areas were generated in support of expanded protections and the creation of the largest marine-protected area in the world—an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. Dr. Lockhart said the findings left her “more excited than at any time” in her 25 years as an Antarctic biologist and she believes they hold “great significance for the future of the Southern Ocean.”

The Antarctic seafloor was bursting with a stunning diversity of life and color. It’s a marine garden full of amazing creatures, from tiny sea spiders, to feather stars and their relatives decorating huge vase shaped glass sponges, to sea squirts, spectacular corals, and so much more.

As a direct result of our expedition, scientists with the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources have already confirmed four of the areas we documented as Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems will be granted protection from fishing. The documentation of these areas will be incorporated into the mathematical models that are being used to help generate Marine Protected Areas for this region. To ensure our findings will be available to inform scientific and policy efforts, Greenpeace is also working with Dr. Lockhart to publish our key results in peer reviewed scientific journals.

In addition to conducting seabed submarine dives exploring little known Antarctic ecosystems, Greenpeace sampled for microplastics and persistent chemicals in order to learn more about pollution in this faraway place at the ends of the Earth. Our briefing presents the findings of sea surface water samples and mantra trawl net samples, sadly showing that even the most remote and pristine habitats of the Antarctic are contaminated with microplastic waste and persistent hazardous chemicals.

Our scientific exploration to the depths of the Southern Ocean received ample media coverage and helped engage our 1.7 million supporters on the need for Antarctic sanctuaries to ward off new and emerging threats from the krill fishing industry and to preserve the pristine nature of the Antarctic Ocean.

By creating the largest protected area on Earth—an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary—it would form a safe haven for penguins, whales, and seals to recover from the pressures of climate change, pollution, and overfishing. Healthy oceans also help to cycle carbon, so we can avoid the worst effects of climate change and provide food security for billions of people.

Wherever we are in the world, what happens in the Antarctic affects us all.

Visit to learn more

John Hocevar

Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director

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© Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

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Dangerously Regressive Policy Changes Threaten Endangered Wildlife, the Climate, and Public Health

Attack on the Endangered Species Act—The Trump Administration pushed horrific rule changes that could eviscerate the best defense we have against wildlife extinction. These revisions are not only unnecessary, but also undermine the purpose and successes of the Endangered Species Act: to prevent critically threatened wildlife from becoming endangered while protecting already endangered species from extinction.

The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most effective tool for protecting wildlife with a 99% success rate at preventing extinction—at least 227 species would have likely gone extinct without the law. Across the political spectrum, the public overwhelmingly supports the Endangered Species Act and wants wildlife decisions to be made solely by biologists and wildlife professionals—NOT corporate lobbyists.

Attack on the Clean Power Plan—In a spiteful and shamelessly political move to undo one of President Obama’s signature achievements, the Trump Administration plans to roll back the Clean Power Plan. It is a backward-looking policy that could end up costing American lives.

The Clean Power Plan put the United States on the path towards cleaner air, safer jobs, and a livable climate. Trump’s allegiance is clear—he’s willing to pollute our air and undermine families’ health to play the hero for a few coal industry executives. The administration’s attempts to resuscitate the coal industry will lead to even more destructive climate catastrophes, air pollution illnesses and fatalities, and U.S. workers left out of the renewable energy future.

Attack on Fuel Standards—The Trump Administration also moved to freeze Obama-era vehicle emissions standards and relax car pollution rules. The plan would roll back the rule requiring the fuel economy of passenger vehicles be doubled by 2025 and it halts requirements that automakers build cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles like hybrids and electric cars.

Trump’s proposal would also revoke the right of California and other states to set pollution standards that are stronger than the federal government’s. Governor Jerry Brown vowed California is prepared to fight, saying, “For Trump to now destroy a law first enacted at the request of Ronald Reagan five decades ago is a betrayal and an assault on the health of Americans everywhere.”

Take action to protect The Endangered Species Act at

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© Markus Mauthe / Greenpeace

Campaigning for Climate Leadership in California

In the lead-up to the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on September 12-14, Greenpeace intensified pressure on Governor Jerry Brown to demonstrate true climate leadership before he retires from office. Although based in California, our campaign has far-reaching implications because getting the governor of the world’s fifth-largest economy to announce a halt to new fossil fuel infrastructure would set a higher bar for what real climate leadership means nationally and across the globe.

Days before the summit, the historic Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise arrived in San Francisco carrying a 50-foot “Looking for Real Climate Leaders” banner. It reinforced the message of Greenpeace’s airship flight over the San Francisco Bay earlier in the year when we launched this campaign. The airship had banners strapped to it reading, “Brown: Say No to Fossil Fuels” and “Climate Leaders Don’t Drill.”

Our message over the city’s skyline at the campaign launch was complemented by a press conference and letter to Governor Brown signed by more than 800 Brown’s Last Chance campaign partners laying out our demands. Together we urged Brown to:

  • Stop permitting new oil and gas wells and infrastructure.
  • Establish a buffer zone of at least a half mile between oil and gas infrastructure and places where people live, learn, work, and play.
  • Commit the state to phasing out existing fossil fuel production as a complement to his efforts to ramp up renewables and to do so in a way that protects industry workers and the communities left most vulnerable by impacts from the fossil fuel industry.

In advance of the summit, the Arctic Sunrise and Greenpeace campaigners spent the prior month and a half in Southern California talking with thousands of local residents about the harm that oil and gas development inflicts on public health, particularly on people living in low-income communities and communities of color. We collected photographs and stories and turned the helideck of the ship into a gallery with Faces of Climate Change: Images from the Front Lines to illustrate the ramifications of fossil fuel development and why California should phase it out.

Learn more and take action at

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© George Nikitin / Greenpeace

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Arctic Sunrise's 2018 Pacific Coast Tour

Elevating Greenpeace’s Campaigns on Pipelines, Plastic Pollution, and Climate

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise hosted an evening filled with live music, food, drinks, and conversation as we continued our tour of the Pacific to defend our oceans from the threats of offshore drilling and plastic waste.

It was a wonderful opportunity for our supporters to come out and see the ship that has played a major role in so many of or campaigns, and to learn more about our upcoming plans and efforts.

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© Greenpeace / Tim Aubry

Why I Am Participating in Greenpeace's Matching Gift Challenge

By Bryony Schwan

I am proud to support Greenpeace and be part of changing the world for the better. I want our oceans and forests to be healthy and full of life, our air and water to be clean and pollution-free, and our natural world to be protected as a lasting legacy for every generation to come. I want a swift and just transition to 100% renewable energy and a safe, livable climate. And I want a greener, more peaceful future for the Earth and everyone who shares it.

I am participating in Greenpeace’s 2018 Matching Gift Challenge to help create that future, but that is not the only reason why. In addition:

  1. The 2018 Matching Gift Challenge is an opportunity to leverage my financial support of Greenpeace. The annual match inspires generous end-of-year giving, which allows me to multiply my impact dollar-for-dollar, up to $350,000—and also that of other Greenpeace supporters who make a Matching Gift Challenge contribution.
  2. One of the things that makes Greenpeace so unique and effective is that we are resolutely independent, never accepting funding from corporations or the government. Grounded in science and driven purely by what is in the best interest of people and the planet, Greenpeace is never compromised by the corrupting influence of government or corporate contributions. This is what makes the 2018 Matching Gift Challenge important, because Greenpeace must rely on contributions from individual supporters.
  3. Greenpeace connects people and communities all over the world to create the change we want to see. We can’t do it alone, but when we band together, our people power is not only incredibly inspiring, it is also potent when it comes to getting results. That same synergy is at play with the Matching Gift Challenge. Together, we are stronger.

I would love to see the 2018 Matching Gift Challenge be a record breaker in raising funds to power Greenpeace at full speed into the New Year. If everyone participates, we can do it!

Bryony Schwan

Greenpeace Board Member

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© Bernd Lauter / Greenpeace

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Create Your Legacy for the Earth

In 2014 Faith Strong planted a garden to benefit butterflies.

Today, her planned gift to Greenpeace is protecting pollinators around the world.

The struggle to save our planet will continue long after we are gone. But that doesn’t mean that our voices become silent. By leaving a legacy to Greenpeace, you can continue to be an advocate for the planet that future generations will inherit. If you would like to know more about how you can remember Greenpeace in you estate plans, please contact Corrine Barr:

1 (800) 328-0678 [email protected]

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Executive Director

Annie Leonard

Editorial Staff

Editor in Chief

Sara Rycroft

Development Editors

Corrine Barr

Elizabeth Bennett

Allison Gates

Rogelio Ocampo

Editorial Staff

Campaigns Editor

Rebecca Pons

Photo Editor

Tim Aubry

Legal Editor

Deepa Padmanabha


Jacob Hardbower

Board of Directors

Greenpeace, Inc.

Karen Topakian, Chair

Stuart Clarke

Cheryl Contee

Jakada Imani

Larry Kopald

Michael Leon Guerrero

Guillermo Quinteros

Jonah Sachs

Bryony Schwan

Board of Directors

Greenpeace Fund, Inc.

Tom Newmark, chair

Ellen Dorsey

Jeffrey Hollender

John Passacantando

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