Rainforest Action Network has a new Executive Director to help it take on some of the worst corporate polluters, Rebecca Tarbotton. RAN is a Bay Area-based advocacy group, started in 1985, that operates sort of like a pack of jackals--its campaigners jump on a target's back and won't get off until it submits. In the past few years RAN has taken on the big banks that are funding the coal industry, like JP Morgan and Chase, and it has worked to protect the world's most vulnerable rainforests, like those in Indonesia that are home to endangered orangutans and tigers.Tarbotton earned a bachelor's degree from University of McGill and a Master's Degree from the University of British Columbia. She worked with indigenous communities on Baffin Island in her native Canada, and then she spent eight years in Ladakh, Northern India, working on supporting sustainable farm systems. At RAN, Tarbotton worked as head of its Global Finance Campaign.
Tarbotton takes over for Mike Brune, who went on to head the Sierra Club. She's the first woman ED of RAN.
On RAN's website Tarbotton speaks about why her work in India matters to her and the problems with bottom-lined obsessed corporations:
"Working with those women, helping them build alternatives to the western development model that was being imposed on their communities, was a foundational experience for me. It showed me that local wisdom is a powerful tool for change and that true solutions, when grounded in deep respect for cultural traditions, ecological wisdom and creativity can both improve quality of life and build a future where people live in harmony with nature."
"Corporations don't see any of that. They are structurally disembodied from local realities and are beholden to the bottom line. It's local communities and ecosystems that bear the brunt of this model of doing business, and their destruction rarely shows up on the balance sheet.
Check back next week when we'll have an interview with Tarbotton about where she wants to take RAN under her leadership.