PERREAULT Magazine MARCH | APRIL 2016 - Page 41

Dear Friends,

As I look out my window here in Amsterdam, winter is nearly here, and with it comes the retreat of another year, and the passing of what has been to make way for the spring and the new. As the days get shorter and the weather colder, I'm thinking ahead to days of renewal and new beginnings.

As many of you know, I'm soon moving on from my post as Executive Director of Greenpeace International. I don't think of it as leaving Greenpeace, however. I think of it as exchanging my lofty title for a far more powerful one: that of a Greenpeace Volunteer. It's been an amazing journey with all of you, and I've loved every minute of challenge, every day of struggle, every week of progress, every month of triumph, every year we've been building a better world together.

It's hugely gratifying to be able to depart knowing the Paris climate agreement unanimously signalled the end of the era of fossil fuels by 2050. As imperfect as the agreement may be in how we get there, it marks a stark contrast and a huge advance over my first days with Greenpeace at the Copenhagen climate summit, and it gives me some small notion of closure: the world has taken an important step down a very long and difficult road, but the journey has now unquestionably begun.

Greenpeace had me stepping out of my comfort zone many times. And that, of course, is the place where you learn the most about yourself, when you stand at that

line between courage and fear, weighing personal risk against what you believe to be right. I've spoken to so many of you who have had the same experience. People who spoke out, or stood up, who volunteered or took some small step or giant leap for the sake of a better future. So often those steps and leaps take us beyond what we thought we'd ever do – either because we were inspired, or angered, or feeling a bond of unity with others. If anything Greenpeace has ever done has catalysed one of those moments, we're doing our job. We're setting off a chain reaction of contagious courage.

For me, a series of ever escalating life choices eventually led me to a moment I will always cherish from my time at Greenpeace: the boarding of an oil rig in the Arctic, having an icy water cannon trained on me as I struggled to climb a ladder to oppose the absurdity of Arctic oil drilling. Experiences like that change you. And by “like that” I don't necessarily mean that extreme form of activism: I mean any action that disrupts your sense of self or your idea of who you are and puts it in a larger context of the human journey and the future of our world. It resets your notion of what you're capable of. And in so doing resets your notion of what humanity is capable of. And in so doing redefines your sense of what's possible.

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