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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Project Manager / IT Project Manager

£50 - £60 per annum: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Project Manager / IT Project Ma...

Tradewind Recruitment: Permanent Class Teachers Required for 2015/2016 - Suffolk

£21000 - £50000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teachers seeking perma...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 5 Teacher Required For 2015/16 - Chelmsford

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: A popular, 'Good' school loc...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teachers Required in Norwich and Great Yarmouth

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am working on behalf of a ...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food