Family, friends and those of you who are occupying around the world, its now been three weeks since I wrote my last blog. I am once again in Peadars friends beach house in Waiwera, an hour north of Auckland. A lot has changed over the last few weeks. Unfortunatly one of the changes includes Ireland being knocked out of the world cup over a week ago now. But on a positive not I got the job with Greenpeace and have been working with them for two weeks now and I absolutely love it!
First of all Irelands loss to Wales last Saturday was nothing short of very upsetting. I wasn't able to afford tickets for the game itself so I watched it in the Fanzone in Wellington instead or at least I tried to. I wasn't allowed into the Fanzone initially as I was only wearing an Irish flag tied around my waist as a skirt along with a pair of jocks on underneath and shamrocks painted all over my body. Plus they said I was a little too drunk to get in. I told them I would add a bit of atmosphere but they persisted to decline my entrance so I eventually gave up and decided to sneak in instead. I managed to sneak in through the VIP tent where I met a lovely old Irish lady who let me watch the game on her bean bag while she sat in front of me hiding me from the security. The atmosphere in the Fanzone ended up a little dissappointing largely to do with the fact that the Irish got outplayed in the game thus keeping the roudy Irish fans quiet. Halfway through the second half the security found me hiding in the VIP tent and consequently escorted me out to where I had to watch the last agonising ten minutes of the game under their surveillance. When the final whistle blew they escorted me out of the Fanzone and I was pretty distraught at this stage due to Irelands shock exit from the world cup. Sam found me by the entrance a few minutes after the game and I can't deny as manly as I am that when she consoled my loss, I shed a few cheeky tears on her shoulder. I really was bitterly dissappointed and even more so now seeing that a useless French team having lost two pool games have now made it to the final.
The All Blacks take on the Ozzies tonight in the other semi final and I am now rooting for the All Blacks as Ireland and Wales are now out. If the All Blacks win tonight they will take on the French in Eden park next weekend and that is a game that I really hope they don't lose. Kiwis are so passionate about their rugby and they hate nothing more than losing to the French. If they do lose its not gonna be a pretty site as the country will go into a state of border line depression for a week and domestic violance levels are predicted to go up. But don't worry I am very confident that if they win tonight they will smash that useless French team in the final. I won't be going to the final but I do have tickets to the third place play off this friday so really looking forward to that.
Now back to where I left off my last blog entrance. I moved back to Waikanae with Sam three weeks ago in the hope of getting a job with Greenpeace. I was a little nervous about the whole idea of working for Greenpeace, as first of all I didn't know all that much about the environment and second of all the idea of working as one of those annoying people with the clip boards on the street horrified me. Back in Ireland I would often walk on the other side of the street to avoid those sort of sales people. But at the end of the day I was in a situation that I had to take any opportunity offered to me as running on my emergency credit card could only last so long. Therefore I jumped at the opportunity with an open mind and a determination to succeed. I learned as much about Greenpeace as an organisation as I could in the three days before my interview on the Wednesday. I studied their history and campaigns till I thought I had a sufficient knowledge to get me through the interview successfully.
The interview itself was a group interview. I was interviewed alongside three others for an hour. All the others seemed confident and ideal candidates for the job and really cared about the environment. I also cared about the environment though and I was able to express this in the interview by voicing my opposition to deep sea oil drilling due to the oil tanker spill in cork harbour around 14 years back. I thought I did well in the interview and my trial sales pitch was pretty good too. But I thought the other three had done well too and that all of us would be getting hired. But I later found out after receiving the goods news that I had gotten the job that I was the only one hired. Sam had reccommended me and I think that was the decider. The day after the interview I had a full day of training where I was taught all of Greenpeaces campaigns, how to pictch to people on the street, how to build rapport, how to objection handle, how to deal with arguements and how to get people to listen to you. To quickly summarise who Greenpeace are, they are an independent non profit organisation who carry out many different campaigns to help save the environment and are known for their non violent direct action.
I had my first day of work on the friday and I have now been frontlining on the streets for Greenpeace for over two weeks. I cannot say this with more honesty, I have come to truely love my job. I get to stand on the street and be myself talking to as many people as possible about something that I have really become passionate about. I have always had a lot of respect for the ocean having grown up beside it. Therefore I always choose to pitch to people about stopping deep sea oil drilling. I can directly relate to the affects of a potential oil spill being a surfer as I would not be able to surf somewhere that was covered in oil slick. Thus I use all this passion as ammunition on everybody over 21 I meet on the street. The toughest part of the job is to get people to stop to listen to you. The easiest way to stop someone is to make them laugh or concerned about the environment in your opening statement. A good example of an opener that gets people to stop to listen as a result of laughing would be asking someone to help me save a teradactol. People usually then say that teradactols are extinct. I then say that it is hard to save something that is already extinct so lets save the tunas as they are at risk of being extinct within ten years. Well it goes something like that with the aim of every opener being to get someone to listen to you.
But as I said earlier I usually pitch about deep sea oil drilling especially at the moment considering the oil spill that has happened off the coast of Toronga as a result of a tanker hitting a reef. It has turned into the worst environmental disaster in New Zealands history and the governments response at the beginning was nothing short of appalling. Compare this oil spill of less than 400 tonnes which they are struggling to deal with to the million that leaked out in the Gulf of Mexico last year and you begin to realise that deep sea oil drilling is definately not a good idea over here. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was at a depth of 1500 metres and a NASA submarine struggled for a few months to cap it. Over here they want to drill as deep as 3000 metres which is simply insane considering the following facts. New Zeland lies on the ring of fire and an under water earthquake could destroy an oil rig, unpredicatable oceans with big and volatile storms take place every few years and most importantly New Zealand has a green image that it cannot afford to lose. The country produces 70% of its energy via green and sustainable methods and is easily capable of hitting 100%. Plus over 90% of the potential revenue from a deep sea oil rig will be held onto by the international oil giants like Shell as New Zealand doesn't have a large enough oil refinery to produce the oil for consumers. These are only some of the facts but you should be able to get the general idea. Deep sea oil drilling in New Zealand is not the way forward, green is!
I work on the street five days a week and as much as I have come to love the job over the last two weeks it is still very tough. Some days I might not sign anybody up and other days I have signed as many as six people up. In signing someone up I ask them to become members of greenpeace which involves a sustainable donation $5 a week or more depending on the person. Unfortunately though I have just missed target in my first two weeks so I must hit it this week to hold onto the job. I am confident I will though as I am getting better at the job every day. I have come to love the job so much. I am getting constantly educated by people on the street. I am obviously educating many people too though as most people are unaware of the facts and we all know ingnorance is bliss. Thus in educating so many people myself I get a lot of appreciation and thanks. Therefore the self satisfaction of this job is incredible. I do get the odd person giving me a hard time but that is to be expected and the best tactic is to just not engage with them.
Last weekend on saturday the 9th of October I took part in my first peaceful protest. If joining Greenpeace wasn't my hippy christening than this certainly was. I was part of group of twenty chrusty looking hippies campaigning against deforrestation in Australia. The campaign was part of a global day of protesting against Harvey Norman for sourcing wood to make their products from unsustainably cut trees in Austalia. My role was to hold a massive banner saying "Wellington says no Harvey Norman no to deforrestion in Tasmania". At one stage the security guard tried to pull the banner off me but I simply ignored him and didn't let go till he gave up. It was a peaceful protest and all we did was hand out flyers to customers of Harvey Norman and sing a few songs. The police ended up coming and just told us to stand on the road outside instead of in the centre of the shopping centre. I really enjoyed the whole experience though as for the first time in my life I was getting in a bit of troube but for an incredible cause. I had been convinced to attend the protest the night before by a lady who gave a speech on living in the forrest blocade in Tasmania for the last year. In summary they are in a constant battle with logging companies and often latch themselves onto trees to prevent being removed from the blocade. She was so passionate about saving these ancient and endangered trees in Tasmania that many of us have been convinced to visit the forrest blocade and I know I would like to spend a month or so there when I go to Oz.
I feel I must also mention my involvment in Occupy Wellington. It started on saturday and I helped put posters up and hand out flyers last wednesday to spread the word about it. As many of you already know it is a worldwide protest against corporate greed, capitalism and why democracies world wide are not working. I will not go into too much detail about this other than that I felt I should personally help out and get involved to add my support to the movement as talking to people on the street every day I have become more aware that the present system is not working and only suits a minor few. I didn't make occupy Wellington itself as I moved up to Auckland on saturday but I have been helping out in the evenings at the Occupy in Auckland. It is an exciting time to be alive as history is being created right in front of us with this movement and hopefully it will lead to positive change that will suit everyone.
I think that pretty much summarises the big change that has taken place in my life over the past few weeks. This coming week I will continue to sign up as many new members for Greenpeace as possible so as I can hold onto my awesome new job. Plus if I do hold onto my job then I will be joining the travel team from next week on. That means I will be part of a team of two or three travelling from town to town around New Zealand in a camper van. The camper van is rented by Greenpeace and they also pay for the fuel. It would be my dream job to travel around New Zealand in a camper van signing people up to become new members of Greenpeace in our mission to sace the environment. Fingers crossed. Peace and love.