FoE pins revival hopes on Greenpeace official

N

Friends of the Earth has appointed one of Greenpeace's top officials to replace Andrew Lees, its campaigns director who died in Madagascar last ew Year's Eve.

The FoE has high hopes that its choice of Uta Bellion, a 39-year-old German civil engineering graduate and sewage expert, can help revive their fortunes after a difficult two years.

The loss of Andrew Lees, a highly regarded and long serving campaigns chief, was a heavy blow. He died of heat stroke and heart failure while investigating strip mining plans on the impoverished African island.

Since then two of the organisation's most senior and effective campaigners have left. One joined Amnesty International and the other, an Australian, was ordered to leave by the Home Office after her visa expired.

Another problem for the organisation is that Greenpeace's hugely publicised direct action campaigns against Shell's Brent Spar dumping and French nuclear testing have pushed FoE almost entirely out of public view for several months. FoE and Greenpeace are Britain's two best-known environmental pressure groups but they have different styles and cultures.

The FoE tends to use less civil disobedience and confrontation, and involves its supporters in decision-making and campaigning more than Greenpeace.

Ms Bellion, 39, is the chairwoman of the board of Greenpeace International, the umbrella body which co-ordinates and oversees Greenpeace offices in 28 nations.

A highly principled and politically aware woman, her diplomatic skills helped calm the conflicts that swept Greenpeace last year, when its top management refocused campaigns and cut staff numbers to match expenditure with income. But she has also tried to act as the organisation's conscience during her three-year tenure of the full-time post. She lives near Lewes, East Sussex and is married to an Englishman; they have a six-year-old son.

After graduating with a civil engineering degree from a German university, she worked as a researcher and consultant on sewage processing and also advised the Green Party in the state of Lower Saxony.

She joined Greenpeace nine years ago, and was elected to the international board of directors in 1990, becoming chairwoman three years later.

At FoE she will be number two to executive director Charles Secrett, who has instigated major reforms and cut one-fifth of its staff since he took the helm two years ago. FoE has had to do some retrenching since the early 1990s when public concern about the environment began to fall off, but it still has nearly 250,000 supporters.

FoE wants to announce her appointment in September, so neither Mr Secrett nor Ms Bellion would comment.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?