Also known as the Musk-Oxen, these creatures have roamed the Arctic for thousands of years and have a lifespan of between 12 and 20 years. When threatened they arrange themselves in a “circle the wagons” shape, with their young in the middle and the adults on the outside. Help save them and other amazing arctic creatures here: http://www.savethearctic.org/ and be sure to send us your activist stories!
Welcome to the Activist Network Tumblr! There are several pretty cool things you can do here, the first is see some really fun pictures and memes found by the interns here in San Francisco, you’ll also find some links to interesting stories and cool ways to be involved in Greenpeace. The third thing you can do, and which is my favorite, is submit stories about your own activist experiences with Greenpeace and read about others. So to kick things off, myself along with the rest of the Summer 2012 Interns for the Activist Network thought we should tell you about our experience:
An Arctic Beach Party or the Story of 5 Interns and a Polar Bear Costume
My day starts out driving down 18th Street in San Francisco, heading towards the Mission. I’m sitting in the passenger seat while my friend, and fellow Greenpeace Activist Network Intern, Travis drives. We pull up to a light and a man in a car next to us rolls down his window and starts laughing and pointing at our car while trying to speak to us. I look at Travis, confused, the light changes but he continues to try and talk to us so I roll down the window.
“I was so confused, I thought you had a giant polar bear like animal or something in your trunk! That’s hilarious!” he laughs.
He’s talking about the polar bear costume in the back seat, which has a head sticking out towards the window. Travis looks at me in confusion, and I simply say “We’re gonna get arrested for poaching!”
A few minutes later we park near the Mission St. BART station (the BART is the San Francisco Train- like a metro or subway). We’ve come here to gather petition signatures for Greenpeace’s new campaign against Shell Oil, who are currently trying to do exploratory drilling off the Northern coast of Alaska. We’ll try and get 75 signatures today over the course of 3 hours. As interns, we don’t normally do this sort of thing, our main job is to support Greenpeace Lead Activists across the country in their endeavors to save the environment, which is pretty much the best job ever.
We park the car and wait for the rest of the intern team to come, but Travis gets a bit impatient puts on the polar bear costume and begins to climb trees,, run around in the street, scare a few children (unintentionally), and pretend to drive his car, this results in three petition signatures. In the midst of this the other three interns (Danny, Charlotte, and Chellsee) arrive along with a friend of Chellsee who has come to help us.
We unload the car and walk around the corner towards the exit of the Mission St. BART station, where we set up a table, tent, and banners that declare our Arctic Beach Party theme. Charlotte has made a cut out of a narwhal and polar bear standing on a beach with face holes in which you could take pictures. Chellsee has designed a banner that reads Aloha Arctic, and we even haul out a mock time capsule to put petitions into. With all this set up, we don hawaiian shirts and leys and begin to canvass.
Three hours later, both Travis and Chellsee have taken turns walking around in the polar bear costume, I’ve been hugged by a man who wanted to take a picture with me, Danny has met more people than I thought physically possible for one person, and Charlotte has spoken in Spanish to a woman who wanted her to come to her women’s group and get all of them to sign petitions. I don’t really have the space here to express the full magnitude of this situation. Standing there on the street I met some of the most passionate people, I’ve ever seen, I also did something I never imagined I could. In just three hours our intern team was able to collect 227 petitions to save the arctic, which is pretty incredible since our goal was 75. We even had to send Travis back to the Greenpeace office to print off more petitions!
But, the number of signatures we got today is not what made it incredible. To be honest, I think even if we had only got one person to talk to us today would have been a success. Standing on that street corner I saw little kids and grown men alike run down the street to hug a man in a polar bear costume, and stood as people came up to me to make sure that they helped to save the arctic. These petition signatures will help to save the arctic from oil drilling, and will make a positive difference in the welfare of our environment, but more than that they brought joy to the community around us.
Right now, Lead Activists across the country are doing the same thing that we did today, and if you are one of them I wish you the best of luck and know we’re always here for you. I’ll leave you with a bit of advice from one of the Activist Network staff members. Ben Smith has told us that if you live your life to the fullest, with joy, and passion- if you live your life fighting for what you believe in without losing sight of the joy that it brings you- then the corporations, the deforesters and polluters, don’t win because your joy is what can change the world. Today I was able to see and understand that fully for the first time. The woman who couldn’t speak english but still wanted to bring us back twenty other signatures, the man who just wanted to help the polar bear, the child who wouldn’t let her mother walk away from me: these people are why we fight, and how we know that this cause is worth our passion. So fight always with passion, but most importantly fight with joy.
Love, your interns,
Emma, Charlotte, Danny, Travis, and Chellsee