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June 12, 2023

Green 2.0 Team

Our Racial Justice and Equity Journey: Amplifying Voices, Ensuring Inclusion

As we strive to safeguard our planet, the pursuit of environmental justice beckons us to extend beyond the traditional boundaries of environmentalism. It demands that we intertwine the principles of racial and socioeconomic justice into our collective efforts. To truly protect our Earth, we must embrace the diverse voices of those most impacted by environmental harm, placing them at the forefront of our fight.


 In 1971, a few resolute activists embarked on a daring expedition abroad a small fishing vessel named the Phyllis Cormack, departing from Vancouver towards Amchitka Island in Alaska. Their mission was to protest U.S. nuclear testing off the coast of Alaska with a brave act of defiance and sail into history by bringing worldwide attention to the dangers of nuclear testing. Among the memorable images captured during Greenpeace’s initial ocean protest, there exists an untold story of remarkable women who played pivotal roles in driving the success of the mission. Today, Greenpeace surpasses its 1971 origins, undergoing a profound transformation into an organization that embodies diverse aspirations and celebrates a multitude of achievements. 

12 men set of from Vancouver on the Phyllis Cormack, to protest against nuclear bomb testing in Amchitka by the USA. Here are some of the crew on the bow.
This is a photographic record by Robert Keziere of the first Greenpeace voyage, which departed Vancouver on the 15th September 1971. The aim of the trip was to halt nuclear tests on Amchitka Island by sailing into the restricted area. The crew aboard the ship are the trailblazers of the green movement, comprising the founding members who eventually established Greenpeace.


Our committed activists and supporters have come together to defend the natural world and promote peace by investigating, exposing, and confronting environmental abuse, championing environmentally responsible solutions, and advocating for the rights and well-being of all people.

WE couldn’t do what we do today without looking at who we are, internally. Our leadership today looks different than it did in 1971.

Attendees of the Peoples’ Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival at New York University School of Law pose for a group portrait on the final day. The event aimed to galvanize the human rights movement, and related constituencies, to rally behind a global call for climate justice. 
Kayactivists with Mosquito Fleet organize a banner raise ahead of Greenpeace USA’s rally at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif. on Thursday, April 20, 2023. Greenpeace USA has been sued by one of Canada’s largest logging companies for publicly challenging the company’s forestry practices. Greenpeace hosted a rally ahead of a summary judgment hearing where a judge will decide if the case will be thrown out – or if it will move to trial.
Youth In Illinois joined a rally at Federal Plaza in Chicago, demanding immediate action from leaders to combat the climate crisis. The youth-led Global Climate Strike, involving participants from across the U.S., called for transformative measures to address the crisis and urged leaders to prioritize the interests of young people over profit-driven fossil fuel executives.
Greenpeace US Democracy Director, Folabi Olagbaju, stands in front of the Supreme Court, displaying a supporting poster for the Declaration for American Democracy coalition, highlighting the start of the week of action. A week of training and organizing to mobilize thousands of people across our country to make our voices heard on the For the People Act (HR1/S1).
Greenpeace activists demonstrate their support and solidarity with Greenpeace Canada, Greenpeace USA, and Greenpeace International by displaying signs reading “OurVoicesAreVital” in a forest near Werbellinsee in Brandenburg. This action comes in response to legal action taken by Resolute Forest Products against the Greenpeaces offices, regarding their forest protection work.
Kayaktivists (pictured left to right), Hanna Jauhiainen of Finland, Miriam Friedrich from Austria, Andreas Widlund form Sweden, and Dalia Kellou from Austria, are pictured alongside the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise in the Norwegian Acrtic. Their purpose is to document, expose, and challenge Norwegian government and Statoil’s aggressive searc for new oil in the Barents Sea.
On the 100th Day of the Trump Administration, Greenpeace US was in the streets of Washington D.C. to show the world and our leaders that we will resist attacks on our people, our communitie, and our planet. We come together from across the United States to strengthen our movement and demonstrate our power and resistance at the gates of the White House.
Greenpeace Belgium activists project messages calling for ocean protection onto European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Greenpeace is calling on Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius to deliver on their, so far empty, promises to protect the oceans and agree on a strong global ocean treaty. Projection reads: Strong global ocean treaty now!
Greenpeace takes action to call on ministers to reject CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and put people and planet first, as foreign affairs and trade ministers meet in Luxembourg. Fourteen climbers from Germany, Luxembourg and Austria scale the European conference centre in Luxembourg to display a 12 by 6-metre banner reading “Don’t trade away our democracy”.
A message reads “Oceans are life”. Greenpeace USA activists project scenes of beauty and fragility onto New York’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge. On the eve of the IGC5 negotiations at the United Nations where governments are meeting to negotiate a new Global Ocean Treaty, which will determine the fate of the oceans. The projections urge negotiators to act and finalize the strongest Treaty possible.
Greenpeace USA Executive Director Ebony Martin addresses the rally. The Green New Deal Network (GNDN) organizational principals, community leaders, and allies push for Congress to “Go Bigger to Meet the Need ” on climate, jobs, and justice at a Capitol Hill rally. Progressive House members, alongside organizational and community leaders from Greenpeace US, US Climate Action Network, MoveOn, Sierra Club, Working Families Party, Sunrise, Center for Justice and Accountability and more are concerned about the scale of investments in jobs and infrastructure in the new Senate proposal and are advocating for key issues that tackle climate change, social injustices and unemployment.

Environmental Justice requires that we incorporate racial and socioeconomic justice into the way we fight for the protection of our planet and challenges us to center the voices of those most impacted by environmental harm in the fight for the protection of our planet. In order to fight for the protection of our planet, we needed to reflect the very communities we are fighting for. In essence, diversity and inclusion at GPUSA starts at the TOP.  That is reflected in our current leadership, with Ebony Twilley Martin being the first Black woman Executive Director at GPUSA, and our Chief Program Officer, Tefere Gebre, who joined Greenpeace not to leave the labor movement but to invite workers into the climate movement. Our diversity is also clearly reflected in our Greenpeace Inc. board being over 87% BIPOC and our Greenpeace Fund Board 80% BIPOC. In a justice centered Greenpeace USA, we know that building a greener and more peaceful world for all requires a diverse, multicultural, people-powered force that centers the most impacted and marginalized to ensure no one gets left behind.

Greenpeace Program Director Tefere Gebre addresses the rally. Greenpeace partners with the Poor People’s Campaign’s march on Washington uniting people and organizations across the country to address the challenges of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and climate crisis. We Assemble and March because any nation that ignores nearly half of its citizens is in a moral, economic and political crisis. There were 140 million people who were poor or one emergency away from economic ruin before the pandemic. Since March 2020, while hundreds of thousands of people have died, millions are on the edge of hunger and eviction, and still without health care or living wages, billionaire wealth has grown by over $2 trillion.


At Greenpeace, we are embedding racial justice, advancing equity within our organization, and integrating it in all areas of our work. We have removed significant structural barriers leading to more equitable outcomes for BIPOC colleagues within Greenpeace USA. The number of staff identifying as people of color has tripled, and those in management positions have more than quadrupled to 45%. Overall, 54% of staff and 85% of our combined boards are Black, Indigenous or other people of color, almost twice the percentage of the wider environmental movement. We are creating a more just and inclusive work culture as we strive to be the most culturally competent environmental organization, fit to engage in any community across the country. We are doing this by putting our beliefs into action and embracing eight core values: Caring, Generosity, Humility, Connection, Support, Compassion, Solidarity, and Accountability in all that we do. While Greenpeace USA looks to a greater and better future as we continue implementing and creating strong leadership, we recognize the challenges we face make our work harder. Tackling climate chaos is not easy, especially while we see the devastations it causes to BIPOC communities across the globe. Fighting environmental justice is a big job. After all, there is no climate justice without racial justice.

In 2023, we released our second annual Embedding Justice report. The report is a significant milestone for us at Greenpeace US, as it allows us to realign our diversity objectives and key results across the organization, celebrate our achievements, and identify areas for improvement. To read the full report, please click here.

Jane Fonda marches with some of the speakers for the 14th Fire Drill Friday. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, Jane leads weekly demonstrations on Capitol Hill to demand that action by our political leaders be taken to address the climate emergency we are in. Speakers for include: – Naomi Klein, Social activist, environmentalist, filmmaker, and author of The Burning Case For A Green New Deal; -Tasina Sapa Win Smith, Itazipco, Mnicojou and Hunkpapa Lakota of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and frontline environmental and social justice grassroots activist; – Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe), Tribal attorney, co-founder of the Giniw Collective; – Joaquin Phoenix, Actor and Producer; – Omekongo Dibinga, Motivational speaker, diversity consultant, poet and positive rapper; – Kat Taylor, Environmental and Social Justice activist, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank, a Community Development Financial Institution; – Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, Dënesųłiné woman (ts’ékui), member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and mother of two; – Martin Sheen, Actor and Activist; – Rebecca Adamson, American Cherokee businessperson and advocate, and Founder of First Peoples Worldwide; – Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA; – June Diane Raphael, Actor and Producer; – Amber Valletta, Model and Actress.

Greenpeace USA takes an inside-out approach. A key to advancing the work is linking our internal work on justice and equity to our work in the world by developing strategies that have justice deeply embedded in the theory of change. In our Fossil Fuel Racism report, we concluded that exposure to air pollution is not shared equally. Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Latino, and low-income populations. 

  • Air pollution from fossil fuels killed 8.7 million people globally in 2018 alone, including 350,000 people in the United States. 
  • Overall, air pollution in the United States has declined over the last several decades. But communities of color — especially Black and Latinx communities — remain the most exposed to toxic air. 
  • People of color — especially Black people — in the US are more exposed to fine particulate matter pollution, which contributes to respiratory illness and death. Black Americans have 1.54 times the exposure to particulate matter compared to the overall population. 
  • Recent studies reveal a relationship between racist policies of the past like redlining and exposure to extreme heat, higher rates of asthma, and proximity to oil drilling today.
  • Nationally, 17.6 million people live within one mile of an active oil or gas well and more than 6.1 million people live within three miles of an oil and gas refinery.
  • Pollution from natural gas infrastructure — including pipelines, drilling sites, and processing plants — has increased the risk of cancer for 1 million Black Americans. It’s also contributed to 138,000 asthma attacks and 101,000 lost school days for Black children. 

In short, we must keep on fighting Big Oil corporations and those that chose profits over people. In order for us to work authentically with communities of color, they must find themselves reflected in our organization and our work. The message is only as powerful as the messenger, and as we continue to move towards a more racial and just planet, it all starts from within.

An alliance of activists and organisations, including Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change (PISFCC), Greenpeace Australia Pacific, and Amnesty International, joined by New York climate activists and Indigenous representatives, hold a Climate Justice flotilla sailing past the UN HQ and the Statue of Liberty with banners calling on countries to vote yes to the Vanuatu-led bid for an International Court of Justice (ICJ) Advisory Opinion on climate change at the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

Everyone has a role to play in the fight to create a livable and just planet. So regardless of the issue or concern, whether it’s for preserving species, fighting corporate greed, advancing climate justice, or protecting the health of our families, we invite you to join our movement of passionate and like-minded volunteers, supporters, activists, and advocates.

At Greenpeace USA, we’re centering our movement on the most impacted and marginalized to ensure no one gets left behind. To effectively challenge the systems of power and privilege that destroy the environment, we must meet people where they are, going to the most directly impacted people–workers, people of faith, young people and students, parents, Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities–and craft solutions together.

To learn more about Greenpeace, visit and follow Greenpeace on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.