The tributes pouring in for Steve Sawyer who died on July 31, 2019, from around the world, begin to convey what he has meant to his family, the Greenpeace organization, and the environmental movement.
Steve was born on July 10, 1956 in Antrim to Winslow and Frances Sawyer. He attended high school at Conval, studied philosophy at Haverford College.
From a door to door canvasser, he rose to become executive director of Greenpeace US and Greenpeace International. Under his leadership, Greenpeace had some of its greatest triumphs - the declaration of Antarctica as off limits to gas and oil exploration, the Montreal Protocol limiting ozone-depleting gases.
He was an original crew member of Greenpeace's ship, Rainbow Warrior when French agents bombed it, killing one; Steve had left moments before. His handling of the aftermath, including the successful suit of the French government, burnished his reputation for leadership.
From 2000 to 2017, Steve was the general secretary of Global Wind Energy Counsel, a regular spokesman at the annual UN climate conference.
"He had a scholarly understanding of the science, an activist's anger at inaction, and a strategist's eye for where to apply pressure or introduce solutions," a Greenpeace spokesman said.
Steve died of lung cancer in Amsterdam.
No matter where he traveled, he returned each summer to Antrim's Gregg Lake. The visits have gotten longer and longer, a testament to the fact that this is where his heart has always been.
He leaves behind his wife, Kelly Rigg, son Sam, and daughter, Layla.
Published in Monadnock Ledger-Transcript on Aug. 7, 2019.