Greenpeace USA Executive Director Speaks at Meredith
Greenpeace USA Executive Director John Passacantando visited Meredith College on September 9, 2008, to share his experiences as a leader of the world’s largest environmental action organization.
In daylong visit to Meredith, including an afternoon Q&A session with the campus community and an evening public lecture, Passacantando was a passionate advocate for the environment.
“I feel like I’m in a race against time to defend these ecological systems that give us our lives,” Passacantando said.
Passacantando related a variety of Greenpeace’s sometimes controversial tactics, which range from putting public pressure on corporations and politicians to civil disobedience.
Describing Greenpeace as a non-partisan organization, Passacantando said, “We are an exception in Washington; neither party likes us.”
When asked what people can do to improve the environment, Passacantando recommended that each individual find the action that appeals to him or her and start with that change.
“This sweet earth needs more defenders,” Passacantando said. “We need the people who self-select to say ‘I’m in—I’m going to save this planet.’”
A specific action suggested by Passacantando was to write to members of Congress to demand action on global warming.
“Say you don’t just want talk about global warming, but you want the U.S. to pass the gold standard climate bill,” Passacantando said.
Passacantando, who holds degrees in economics from Wake Forest University and New York University, previously served as Executive Director of the Florence and John Schumann Foundation, which awards grants for campaign finance reform and environmental issues. He went on to found Ozone Action before moving to Greenpeace in 2000.
The event was part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Presidential Lecture Series. Events in the series are designed around the College’s annual campus theme, which for 2008-09 is “Sustaining Our Environment: Developing Our Greenprint.” For more information, visit www.meredith.edu/campus-theme .