Defending the Environment with Greenpeace

When you think of Greenpeace, you think of the brave souls who used to place themselves between whaling ships and their prey in an effort to save the whales from slaughter and eventual extinction. Those moments are some of the organization's finest hours, but there is much more to the organization than those seafaring heroics.

Greenpeace describes itself thusly: “Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization that uses nonviolent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and force solutions for a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace's goal is to ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity.”

Greenpeace would like to save the oceans and the forests, end our reliance on fossil fuels, eliminate toxic chemicals, and extinguish the threat of nuclear disaster and all manner of potential environmental disasters. In order to maintain their independence, they do not receive donations from governments, corporations, and political parties. Greenpeace gets its operational capital from donations from individuals and foundations.

Bearing Witness

Greenpeace began in 1971 when a small group of activists traveled in an old fishing boat to a small island off the coast of Alaska, called Amchitka. The United States was conducting underground nuclear testing on the island. The intrepid environmentalists were concerned about the various endangered species on the island, including sea otters, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles. The area was also known for heavy seismic activity, meaning it has a lot of earthquakes. Logic suggested that this is a bad place to detonate a nuclear bomb.

The boatload of activists said, in Biblical language, that they wanted to “bear witness” to the blast. The craft was intercepted by the navy and turned around, but their actions shined much light on the activities on the island. Greenpeace took credit when the government ended nuclear testing on the island, which later became a bird sanctuary.

Some of Greenpeace's subsequent successes include influencing a moratorium on whaling, a ban on dumping radioactive waste at sea, and other positive initiatives to make the environment cleaner and safer. Greenpeace is based in the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and has offices in forty-one countries.

Working for Greenpeace

Greenpeace is looking for dedicated individuals who would like, in the organization's words, to “contribute to and be part of an important program of work to stop climate change, save the ancient forests, and protect our world's oceans, earth, and sky.”

You can send a resume and cover letter to Greenpeace, but do not expect a response unless they are interested. In the old days, people received a polite rejection as a matter of course. Nowadays, there are so many applicants to job postings that responding to each one individually would itself be a full-time job. Greenpeace promises to keep your resume on file for six months. Send your resume to this e-mail address, putting “open application” in the subject field: Or you can send it via snail mail to Human Resources Department, Greenpeace International, Keizersgracht 176, 1016 DW, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The Greenpeace Web site also posts currently open positions. You can regularly visit and subscribe to the mailing list to be alerted to new job openings.

Possible Positions

To give you an idea of the kinds of jobs Greenpeace advertises, a recent search returned results such as these:

  • Marketing manager: Managing the external image and the integrity and effectiveness of the Greenpeace message.

  • Communications director: Formulating and executing the global communications strategy for Greenpeace.

  • Office manager: Managing and developing facilities, services, and support for the Greenpeace International office.

  • Crew manager: Recruiting and developing seagoing personnel to ensure ships are manned as required.

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