Becky Tarbotton – In Remembrance

Alex Levinson
Date: January 4, 2013

We lost a great soul last week when Rebecca Tarbotton died. Becky was the inspiring leader of the Rainforest Action Network, and the progressive community is widely mourning her death.

I count myself very lucky to have known Becky. We first met in the very early 2000’s when her organization and mine were fumbling toward a harder-edged, clearer position on advocacy against the coal industry and the banks that finance their dirty work. We had a number of conversations over Specialty’s cookies, and I know she was rightly proud of our movement’s concrete successes against coal in the decade since.

More recently, when we each became executive directors, I had the chance to engage her anew on a whole set of mind-numbing administrative topics—models of staff compensation, the intricacies (and foibles) of strategic planning (I can still hear Becky laughing), health plan details—and serious topics like the nature of leadership and how to build an organization that can produce victories for the long haul.

I’ve been reading the heartbreaking remembrances of others about Becky, and I’m nodding my head at their descriptions of her as fierce, passionate, big-hearted, elegant and graceful, down to earth. What I’ll remember about Becky will include how full of life she was, how full of spirit, and full of laughter. I’ll remember how generous she was with me and how affirming, how comfortable she was sharing her own doubts and questions. Becky was as real as they come.

Everyone here at Pacific Environment offers our condolences and support to our friends at the Rainforest Action Network. We’ll remember you, Becky.