Remembering Becky Tarbotton

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Women’s Earth Alliance joins the environmental community in mourning the passing and honoring the life of Rebecca Tarbotton, Rainforest Action Network‘s executive director, who died on December 26th in Mexico.

It is difficult to capture Becky’s spirit in words.  Those who knew her, admired and adored her for her vivacious energy, her welcoming spirit, and her uncompromising approach to her work.  She was a true leader who met seemingly insurmountable environmental challenges head-on, and won.  “We’re not the Rainforest Negotiation Network,” she said, “we’re the Rainforest Action Network.”  This past year, under her leadership, RAN saw one of its biggest wins ever — getting the Disney Corporation to commit to eliminating the use of paper sourced from Indonesia’s rainforests.

Becky’s influence and presence as a woman leader on the world stage was grounded in her years of working alongside grassroots women organizing in places like Ladakh, India.  There, she supported a local women’s farming alliance to grow its membership from 7 to 4,000.

Of that time, Becky said: “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.”

We at Women’s Earth Alliance draw deep inspiration from these words, and from the wisdom and commitment they represent.  All of our hearts ache at the loss of this brilliant, dedicated, joyful woman.  We persist in our work with renewed commitment in 2013, so that we may contribute to the realization of Becky’s dream of a peaceful and sustainable human existence on earth.

To make a donation to RAN in honor of Becky, visit RAN’s website