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Bunny McDiarmid

Executive Director of Greenpeace International

BACKGROUND / Professional and educational background:

Bunny McDiarmid, together with Jennifer Morgan, became Executive Director of Greenpeace International on 4 April 2016. Bunny began her career as a volunteer on the Rainbow Warrior and then established a regional office in the Pacific working on climate, forests and oceans. She then coordinated the international nuclear and deep sea work for a number of years. After leaving Greenpeace in 1999, she ran a sail research vessel together with her partner in the Antarctic and sub Antarctic region for four years. She is a 30-year veteran of the organisation and has been an activist, ship’s crewmember and, most recently, the Executive Director of Greenpeace New Zealand a post she held for 10 years. Bunny is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

From 2005 to 2015, Bunny was Executive Director of Greenpeace NZ. BEfore then, she was Interim campaign director GPNZ from 2002 to 2005. She was managing a campaign team to  develop strategic plans for issue areas; part of the senior management team  that advised the Executive Director on strategic organisational issues. From 2002 to 2003, she was project leader for a global  bottom trawling campaign involving actions at sea  and a political strategy to win a UN moratorium.

In early 2001, she was project leader for star wars action in the US, with 17 people arrested and  charged with felonies just ahead of 9/11. She was responsible for ensuring safety  and political effectiveness of action, and achieved the first but failed on the latter.

In 2000, she was on maternity cover for 10 months, but still GPI Nuclear Campaign Coordinator, as it was still a priority campaign for Greenpeace then. She was responsible for managing an unruly and remote group of nuclear campaigners, ensuring the sum of the parts added up to progressing the overall goal, with some success.

From 1998 to 2000, she was working as first mate and jointly operating a sail charter vessel on the Antarctic Peninsula and in the Pacific, together with her partner and 10 year old daughter;

From 1995 to 1998 she was Pacific coordinator, setting up and running a Greenpeace Pacific regional office, with responsibilities for budgeting, planning, recruiting, managing and developing a remote team, networking and relationship building, enabling an environment for a Greenpeace pacific culture to take root.


ACHIEVEMENT / What does the project/initiative/startup/company you will be presenting at the Positive Economy Forum consist of?

Greenpeace exists because this fragile Earth deserves a voice. It needs solutions. It needs change. It needs action! Greenpeace works on the following issues:

  • Climate change – With the world on the brink of runaway climate change, it is time to get serious. We’re calling upon governments and industry to step up and make big improvements.
  • Forests – Forests are home to about two-thirds of the world’s land-based species of plants and animals. They keep the climate stable and maintain the balance of life on Earth. Their destruction produces about one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Oceans – Seen from space the Earth is covered in a blue mantle. It is a planet on which the continents are dwarfed by the oceans surrounding them and the immensity of the marine realm.
  • Agriculture -Greenpeace is campaigning for agriculture that is good for the planet and people. Healthy food grown with the environment – not against it. Farming that helps farmers to cope with climate change.
  • Toxic pollution – Toxic chemicals in our environment threaten our rivers and lakes, our air, land, and oceans, and ultimately ourselves and our future. Nuclear – Greenpeace has always fought – and will continue to fight – vigorously against nuclear power because it is an unacceptable risk to the environment and to humanity. The only solution is to halt the expansion of all nuclear power, and for the shutdown of existing plants.


LOCATION / Where do you lead your project/company (city, region and country)?

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace.

It comprises 26 independent national/regional offices in over 55 countries across Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, as well as a co-ordinating body, Greenpeace International.


IMPACT / How do you evaluate the economic, social, politic and environmental impact of your project / action?

Independence, non-violence, creative confrontation – the ethos that was framed by the co-founders of Greenpeace is still Greenpeace’s today. And just like then, our activists are our greatest strength: ordinary people willing to do extraordinary things to protect the environment.

Over the years, they have faced jail, physical threats and political persecution. But they have always remained peaceful. They have always persevered. And they have usually prevailed.

As a result, companies have reconsidered, governments have moved – and the environment has benefited. Whether it’s food companies stopping to buy forest-destroying palm oil, or the tech industry phasing out toxic chemicals. Whether it’s the ban of radioactive waste dumping at sea, or the end of commercial whaling. Whether it’s the Antarctic Treaty, or the pioneering of a greener fridge technology – Greenpeace has been a force for change.

But there’s a lot more to do. It will take the help and support of the whole world to secure a green and peaceful future for all of humanity. The trip for life and peace continues.


QUOTE / A sentence, quotation or a word that best describes you

I think the two words that describe me are optimistic and hopeful.