Who knows where volunteering could take you…

5 December 2011

Monday December 5 is International Volunteer Day – and a great opportunity to celebrate and recognise those who have helped us achieve so much by donating their time to Greenpeace.

On board the MY Esperanza for the 2nd leg of the Defending our Pacific ship tour we have a number of people who are here because they are volunteers and who never gave up on the idea of sailing with Greenpeace.

We asked them three simple questions …

1. What inspired you to become a volunteer?

2. What has been the best experience so far?

3. What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering?

Daniel, USA

1. “After diving with humpback whales a few years ago I wanted to work for Greenpeace especially on the ships to help protect our oceans.  I found my self working for Greenpeace as a city coordinator for the Frontline (street fundraising) program raising funds for the organization. I got the opportunity to volunteer as a deck hand and diver so I took it with only a few days notice.”

2. “The best moments have been working with everyone on the ship to forward our work with the Defending our Pacific ship tour.  The time when I was a safety diver in a fad free purse seine net when it was closing full of tuna is something I will never forget.”

3. “The best advice I can give to people who want to volunteer as a deck hand is to really know a lot of knots, be willing to work very hard for long hours and don’t stop trying to get on the ships. It took two years for me to get here, so don’t give up!”

Joan, Phillipines

1. “Usually you volunteer because you are a firm believer in the cause. But in my case, I volunteered for Greenpeace out of curiosity. I had no idea what Greenpeace does, but when I became involved, it became an insatiable want/need to contribute and to help. It is almost like an addiction. Greenpeace’s mission has become mine, and their vision, my dream.”

2. “Every volunteer opportunity is the best moment. Outcomes maybe good or bad, but knowing that you are in the middle of all the things that has been happening gives you some sense of involvement and participation. You are not a mere spectator. You get yourself involve and you try to contribute in making change.”

3. “Volunteering is not an easy task. It is understanding that problems/issues are bigger than us and that we are nothing but a tiny spectacle trying to create change. If you are willing to give 100% of your self (or even more) in exchange for a pat on the back or a simple thank you, then go ahead and do it. Because volunteering is about commitment, it is about believing in the cause and contributing as much time and effort as you can to achieve the change you and your organization wants to achieve.”

Bala, Solomon Islands

1. “I was 15 when I first read about the Rainbow Warrior bearing witness across the South Pacific Ocean campaigning against nuclear testing in Mururoa Atoll, French Polynesia, Tahiti. To become a volunteer is all about patience, hard work, dedication and the belief that Greenpeace’s global campaigns on the environment, oceans, and forest play a valuable role in “SAVING THE EARTH”.”

2. “My first trip was in 2009 joining one of Greenpeace’s largest ship the ‘Esperanza’ (a Spanish word meaning “hope”), campaigning in the pacific on climate and fisheries. As a volunteer and being part of the environmental organization is a huge task for me because I want to set an example sending out the message that we [pacific] are vulnerable to climate change, our oceans being occupy by pirate fishing companies, and our forest being logged out. What is left for the future of our children children’s.”

3. “The best moment as a volunteer is being an activists, I always love it. My advice to those of you thinking about being a volunteer is have a heart for our people and our planet earth, keep believing in yourself, and  there is hope.”

Sevu, Fiji

1. “Greenpeace is one of the world’s biggest environmental organizations and has done so much for conservation over the years. I believe the Pacific is in the throes of environmental problems. It needs each and every individual young or old to stand up and be counted. I thought I would take the plunge and be an example to young people. I volunteer with Greenpeace because I strongly believe that the work they are doing will have a positive impact on our dying world today. There have been many highlights from my time as a volunteer.

I am extremely passionate about environmental issues and being part of helping protect our natural world. By volunteering my time, skills and knowledge for Greenpeace, I am making a stand for what I believe in, I also strongly believe that the work we are doing will have a positive impact on our daily world today.”

2. “The passion in both staff and volunteers from all corners of the earth who tirelessly strive towards environmental justice. They do not give up. Also being given the opportunity to serve in the Esperanza for the 2nd Leg Pacific Ship Tour 2011 – Defending Our Pacific is really amazing, I gotten to know lot of people and also gained experience The people I volunteer with are fantastic and make everything enjoyable. Ive also had heaps of opportunities in the past months to develop skills.”

3. “Volunteering for Greenpeace is a rewarding experience. Every task undertaken and accomplishment achieved brings me the satisfying feeling of knowing that what I do is for the good cause of making a more sustainable environment for the future. Mahatma Gandhi said: “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” At Greenpeace that change is all around us.”

Register as a Greenpeace Australia Pacific volunteer to join the action

Information on working on board a Greenpeace ships