Randy Hayes, Founder, Rainforest Action Network (RAN)
Born in West Virginia and brought up in the swamplands of Central Florida, Randy Hayes had an early interest in both saving the environment and in making films. His activism first gained notice in 1983 when, as a student film-maker, his film, "The Four Corners, A National Sacrifice Area" won the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences award for best student documentary.
Because he worked closely with Native American tribes on this film, he learned from them about the plight of native peoples living in the tropical rainforests. This led to his campaign to save the rainforests and to the founding of the Rainforest Action Network. He now serves the organization as President and continues his fight for the rights of indigenous peoples as well as for saving the world's rainforests and replacing fossil fuel with alternative sources of energy.
The Rainforest Action Network campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through grassroots organizing, education and non-violent direct action. RAN helped pioneer market campaigns against large multinational corporations in the 1990's, using grassroots activism and savvy media work to advocate for changes in environmental policies. Since then, RAN has had numerous successes in its Old Growth, Global Finance, and Zero Emissions campaigns against logging companies, banks, and vehicle manufacturers.
RAN works in close alliance with an increasingly well-coordinated movement of non-governmental organizations. Along with Global Exchange and the Ruckus Society, RAN played a central role in organizing the mass actions against the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle in 1999. Although the organization once had RAGS Rainforest Action Groups around the country, today its operations are centralized in San Francisco.