Undergraduate Students - October 2007
The full version of the October CAPSScoop can be found by clicking here.
Articles in this edition
by Lucy A. Armstrong
On the weekend of September 22nd - 23rd, the Old Port of Montreal, Quebec experienced an honoured visit by the celebrated Arctic Sunrise, one of Greenpeace’s principal campaigning vessels. Not only did this wonderful opportunity enable several hundred people to climb aboard the heroic ice breaker, formerly a sealing ship - but also gave the citizens of Montreal a chance to meet with Greenpeace volunteers and learn more about the successful 36 yr-old international organization. With over 2.8 million members worldwide, 2 seats at the United Nations, 43 national websites and a long, defiant history of protecting the environment, Greenpeace remains at the forefront of the most severe issues that threaten our planet today.
I had the chance to speak with Marion Senra, employee, member and volunteer for Greenpeace who was present at the Arctic Sunrise’s docking in Montreal.
Q: We have all heard about Greenpeace, but what exactly does Greenpeace do?
M.S.: Greenpeace is an independent organization that protects biodiversity. We put pressure on governments and multinational companies that have the most destructive practices and we are present at every environmental conference. We are an organization that groups its members - they are the core foundation of Greenpeace, which is based on direct, concrete action, not just theorized action.
Q: What is your occupation and why did you choose it?
M.S.: I work as a fundraiser, recruiter of new members, volunteer and activist. I chose Greenpeace because I really wanted to be part of an organization that defends the environment - part of a cause that I really believe in. I wanted to be a part of a movement that effects change - and Greenpeace is a really strong player in effecting change.
Q: How long have you been working for Greenpeace?
M.S.: 4 months.
Q: What is your education prior to Greenpeace and how has this played a role in your experience here?
M.S.: I studied public relations at McGill University, so this helped me in terms of being able to effectively communicate a message. But people that join Greenpeace do not necessarily need any specific qualifications to be a member or volunteer, - you don’t need an education to make a difference.
Q: How has this job impacted your life in all spheres?
M.S.: This job has changed my life because I feel it makes things more concrete - that every step you make will help to change the environment. As well, meeting people who all believe in the same cause is really empowering. It makes it real, more tangible. You realize you’re not alone.
Q: Greenpeace is widely known for it’s passion and risk-factors - often portrayed by the media as sensationalistic. How does this impact your view of Greenpeace?
M.S.: When you are on the inside, you see the reasons why people go to these extremes, and all the levels in between. Greenpeace is glamourized on tv, but what people don’t see is the steps we take before hand - we spend a great deal of time negotiating with business members and politicians, educating them on the issues and pressing for some kind of compromise - and when this doesn’t work, then we take more serious measures. People are risking their lives to help save the environment - when I see this, I cannot judge them. I totally support them.
Q: What do you love most about working for Greenpeace?
M.S.: Being a part of everything that Greenpeace is doing - I feel like I’m making a difference.
Q: What can we do to support/join Greenpeace?
M.S.: Become a member! Greenpeace’s mission is the campaigns we are involved in - the Ocean, Forests, Climate/Energy, and Agriculture/GMO’s. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do otherwise - we are non-profit, and all our funds come from our members. There needs to be an organization such as Greenpeace to act as a watchdog for companies that aren’t acting responsibly towards the environment.
Also, on a small scale, you can make a difference - you can do things like recycling, avoid materials that are toxic, such as plastic which is made out of petroleum-based products, you can write parliaments - as much as you can make time for. The Greenpeace website holds a vast array of information about green products, including a guide you can download that contains a list of non-GM products.