Two weeks after Greenpeace India announced an imminent shutdown after the central government cut off its funding, the NGO’s employees have rallied together to help it survive for another month.

More than 200 Greenpeace workers from across the country have written a letter to Samit Aich, their executive director, to volunteer their services free of cost in the month of June. The letter will also be presented to home minister Rajnath Singh today.

Greenpeace India, a branch of the larger Greenpeace International, is a non-profit organisation campaigning against violations of environment laws by major corporations. Greenpeace has been in the headlines since January, after the government prevented its activist Priya Pillai from boarding a flight to London to speak against British company Essar’s involvement in a controversial coal mining project in the Mahan forest of Madhya Pradesh. A year before that, Greenpeace volunteers had rapelled down the side of the Essar headquarters in Mumbai to draw attention to the issue.

In April, the central government cut off Greenpeace India’s access to all funding from abroad. The government has also blocked its domestic bank accounts, and on May 5, Greenpeace finally announced that its campaigns and 340 employees would not be able to survive for more than a month without access to its local and international donations.

The latest letter by volunteering employees could help Greenpeace pull on till at least the end of June. It has been signed by 228 Greenpeace members from more than 50 cities and towns all over India. Here is the full text of the letter.
Dear Samit,

We’re writing to tell you how we feel about our work and Greenpeace India. Some of us have been here since the early days, when we campaigned for justice for the victims of Bhopal. A few of us are very new, and we’re proud to have worked in many solutions projects across India on food, climate and energy.

Each of us is worried about what’s happened over the past few months to Greenpeace and civil society. Our friends and families are reading about us in the newspapers and are worried about us and our jobs. Despite these concerns, we want to reaffirm our passion and commitment towards the environment and for this organization. As part of our country, we want inclusive and sustainable development. That means playing a part in preserving our forests, keeping our air clean and our food safe.

We’re aware that we’re going through a financial crisis, but we want to assure you that we’re in this together. We’d like to pledge to continue our work for at least a month, without pay, starting June 1. We realize that this will place a strain on our finances and our personal commitments, but we’re determined to work through it. We will look out for and support each other in all ways.

We don’t know how life will be after the month of June. But it is fitting that we’re making this commitment in the month of the World Environment Day. It gives our promise more purpose and meaning. This is not just about us but also about our friends and allies across India who are facing or may face similar situations. We believe that our environment is something worth fighting for together and we are happy to do this.

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, we know that the spirit of Greenpeace India will survive. We are there to nurture and protect it, and we’re with you.


Greenpeace India staff
(228 staff members have signed this letter)