Join me in welcoming Greenpeace USAs new Executive Director, Annie Leonard

by Karen Topakian

May 6, 2014

Dear Greenpeace supporters,

As you know better than most, the environmental challenges we face today are as scary as any weve seen before. Issues like climate change, deforestation and overfishing are threatening our ecosystems and communities but still, I feel as optimistic as ever about our ability to preserve a green and peaceful future. That optimism flows from each of you, and the incredible team of people at Greenpeace that works with you every day to try to make things better.

Today, Im happy to announce a big new part of that team: Greenpeace USAs next executive director, Annie Leonard. Please join me in welcoming a veteran environmental campaigner and the creator of the influential 2007 web video The Story of Stuff and The Story of Stuff Project.

Annies roots run deep with Greenpeace. She began her career at Greenpeace International in 1988 as an international toxics campaigner, working to stop international waste exports. She has shown a fierce commitment to working with communities to stop the corporations that so often exploit people, once getting arrested for protesting a business that was exporting hazardous waste to South Africa under the apartheid regime so that it could dump it in a black community. Annie went on to take on leadership roles with the Multinationals Resource Center, Healthcare Without Harm and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

But you probably know Annie best from the video she created, The Story of Stuff, along with the other 8 videos created by The Story of Stuff Project, like their most recent Story of Solutions. Thousands of educators and faith teachers around the world have used Annies film to teach about the environmental and social impacts of our stuff: where it comes from, how it gets to us, and where it goes after we get rid of it. The Story of Stuff Project blossomed into much more than just videos, as it now works to empower people around the globe to fight for a more sustainable and just future.

Annie knows that we need to rebuild our economic and political systems in ways that prevent catastrophic climate change, reach zero deforestation, and protect our threatened oceans. Shell help us build broader, stronger networks across communities and movements, and will help us break down our environmental problems, which can seem complex, into simple stories that inspire action.

Annies coming back to Greenpeace so that we can keep making bigger and bigger changes as we partner with each of you to create a more sustainable future together.

Annie will serve as the third woman executive director of Greenpeace USA and the first executive director to lead from our San Francisco office. She will begin her new role in August, but please join me in welcoming her back to Greenpeace now. We have a lot of work to do together, and were excited to have Annie leading our team.


Karen Topakian

Greenpeace Board of Directors Chair

Karen Topakian

By Karen Topakian

Karen Topakian, owner of Topakian Communications, is a writer, speaker, communications consultant and activist. Karen worked for more than 40 years in the nonprofit world, including 16 years, as the executive director at the Agape Foundation-Fund for Nonviolent Social Change. She served as board chair for Greenpeace, Inc from 2010-2018.

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