Filed under: Greenpeace, Life at work, Volunteers | Tags: Activism, Gerd Leipold, greenpeace international
From Making Waves
Claudia Misch writes:
I have the privilege to be the assistant to Gerd Leipold, who this week steps down as Executive Director and Chief Troublemaker at Greenpeace International.
While nobody is surprised that Greenpeace’s leader is an activist –Gerd has been arrested in Germany and the Pacific and a few places in between — not many people realise he is also a scientist. He studied physics, meteorology and oceanography in Munich and Hamburg, then worked at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology and modeled ocean currents as part of the Institute’s climate research.
Gerd was destined to be a man of action, not an academic. In 1980 he joined Greenpeace. For the next decade he played a key role at Greenpeace Germany. Under his management, our office there developed from a small pool of volunteers to the largest environmental organization in Germany.
And while many would have been content to shape an Executive Director role along traditional bureaucratic lines, Gerd continued to participate in spectacular Greenpeace actions, invent campaigns, and repurpose existing ones.
He flew over the Berlin wall in a hot-air balloon in 1983 to protest the nuclear weapons tests of the four occupying powers who then controlled Berlin. He took up leadership of Greenpeace’s global campaign against atomic tests and nuclear weapons and led offices in 15 countries into a new effort: the “Nuclear Free Seas” campaign which took the Greenpeace disarmament campaign and set it to work in the place where Greenpeace operated best.
Since 1987, Gerd has continuously contributed to the Boards and Executive Committees of Greenpeace offices in the Soviet Union (1987-89), Germany (1992-98), and Scandinavia (1998-2001).
2001 was the year when Gerd became Executive Director of Greenpeace International. In that position he has been a “lead from the front” campaigner taking on the worlds’ most powerful players, and promoting the spirit of “One Greenpeace”.
We’ll be honoring Gerd’s efforts this week at a party here at our Amsterdam headquarters. We’re encouraging all those who have worked with Gerd over the years to leave stories and remembrances here, to be printed and included in his farewell book.
1 Comment so far
Leave a comment