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Working with Greenpeace

November 13th, 2006

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BELLEVUE, WA – It couldn’t have been more fitting for a demonstration involving umbrellas to occur on one of the heaviest days of rain in a month of record-breaking precipitation. (at left: people shaping words)

Fellow photojournalist Dan Lamont (an amazing cook, with a wonderful family, who happens to live just down the street) had passed on a call from an incredibly friendly editor from Greenpeace. It was short notice and she wanted to know if I was available, could work with their contract, and if I was afraid of heights.

The local organizer, a rambunctious, idealistic woman in her mid-twenties, hoped upwards of 100 people would show up to hoist their umbrellas in a park and spell out the words “Stop Global Warming.” It was part of a six-location event; the Florida team had enough people to make a map of their state while the Seattle (actually Bellevue) team had enough to spell “Global Warning.”

I’d like to think it had something to do with Bellevue, one of this region’s cities prone to receiving quips about gas guzzling SUV’s, but really I think it was general Seattle apathy. And the torrential rains.

Those who did show up in the downtown Bellevue park were garden variety Seattle area folks with one exception, they were willing to tough it out to make a statement. Even the one politician, Democrat Darcy Bruner. Friendly and cooperative everyone was a great help, responding to my ‘direction’ from my perch in a cherry picker 100′ above. An old friend from the UW Daily, Liz Jones (www.lizamelia.com), came out to put some audio together. She now works for one of the local NPR stations, KUOW.org.

Not long after this event Greenpeace called again. It was to cover an “action” where they would block the entrance to a pulp mill to make a statement. (read about it) Fairly uneventful with little media coverage and extremely helpful police (seriously, they were great), the action ended up failing; with skill trucks were able to squeeze by with six inches to spare. (at left: locked outside Kimberly-Clarke)

But here, again, activists took the step to make a statement. They locked themselves to a bus, stood there for hours, and were arrested. You know on your job application where they ask if you’ve ever committed a felony? They now have to check ‘yes.’

The one thing I had a big problem with were two private investigators. Looking like ex-cops they claimed to be freelance journalists. Huh-uh. Bad move. That shit gets real journalists killed. And then our news becomes imbalanced…which can lead to greater deceptions. Of course, I’m assuming people (Americans) actually pay attention to the news and the world around them. (at right: getting arrested)

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