Join us in celebrating a story that goes back 20 years...

Submitted by admin on Tue, 2006-11-14 22:14.

Way back when in 1986, a bunch of techie environmentalists with an imaginative idea about working together using electronic networks, did some programming and developed a way of using internet protocol to circulate information and get activists hooked up with each other. They decided to call their network GreenNet.

20 years, hundreds of websites, thousands of networks, not to mention millions of email messages later, we decided to have a party to celebrate the work that's been done, and that everything's still working!

So please join us by switching off your computer on Thursday evening, December 14th and coming down to the Three Tuns bar at LSE (Houghton Street WC2) for some live music and good company

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Peter Benjamin (not verified)

Congratulations GreenNet!

From one of the family now living in South Africa, I first used GN in 1988 and through GN learned of the global movement to use ICTs for positive change. Best wishes for the next 20 years. Peter


Congratulations on making it to 20,

I've posted a couple of old photos to my website, one of our very first server I'm not sure if it was a Kaypro or an Osbourne, running out of my flat.

The second shows our security system at Underwood St being tested on Geoff Cohen.

{Feel free to add to the gallery!}

- Mitra
(mitra at

Tim Evans (not verified)

Many congratulations and warmest wishes.

I've been using GreenNet since the late 80's, when I took my library skills into working as an information specialist in human rights organisations and then in workers' health and safety support networks. In those days the web was unheard of and the internet itself was confined to governments and academics. Everything was based on shifting text around between the apc hubs, at speeds that would seem impracticably slow today. It was thrilling to discover the information that could be unearthed and shared through the old APC electronic conferences on pesticides, environmental campaigning, labour struggles, etc; as well as to meet online (and sometime in person) the international invisible college of techies who were bringing this tool to activists.

I was active in UK Amnesty in those days and used to give workshops at Amnesty and labour movement conferences trying to catalyse interest in the possibilities - a bit prematurely I think because the medium was still immature. By the end of the nineties, however, every safety reps' conference had to have a workshop on using the net and I had evolved from a lone nutter (librarian) to a desirable expert (webmaster). Now it's hard to imagine labour, environmental and human rights activism without the net.

These days I teach cycling in Hackney and plant trees on Hackney Marsh - and use GreenNet practically every day.

I hope to make the party but in case I don't, I send everyone who remembers me a big hug. And one for all the new friends I would have made, too.


Adrian Harris (not verified)

What an amazing journey! Congratulations to all - especially those I know but also the hundreds who've supported GreenNet over the last 20 years. Wonderful to ponder how much GreenNet has done over all those years - how many lives have been touched by those billions of bits?

Love and Power,
Adrian x

andrew garton (not verified)

if it wasn't for greennet i may have never found my way to APC and fido may have remained a mere word.

the edge was once there to be cut, now one must stay there to sustain it.

i hope to write a more sagely testiment to the work and the people of greennet at 40! see you there...



happy 20th birthday!

congratulations to the GN team who are ever responsive and supportive. apcwomen server wouldn't be up and running now without your unceasing support-- so together with your 20th year celebration apcwomen celebrates also the birth of her baby server.

much thanks to liz and marek during the days of moving and setting up the services. and to anna and mimo.


Riff (not verified)

Congratulations on reaching the 20-year mark! I still have fond memories of working with GN in the early 90s, and even fonder ones of working *at* GN for a short while in '96 on the User Support side.

A very dedicated group of people has always been at its core. I'm very disappointed that I'll not only be in London, but actually at GreenNet, up to the 14th, but I must leave before the celebrations :-(

Like many others, I'll have a celebratory drink and I'll be thinking of you from here in Zurich.

All the best,


Sue (not verified)

Happy Birthday! Sorry I can't come to the party. I think GreenNet is really worth celebrating. I got my email account in 1988 to enable a visiting Nicaraguan friend (who was way ahead of me in ways of communicating) to contact people back home and read and update work documents while he was travelling, and I've kept it ever since. Support from GreenNet has always been fantastic, and rarely needed because the systems have always worked so well.

20 years of a great idea becoming a great reality is no mean feat.
Congratulations and thanks.

Nicolas Holliman (not verified)

Yes, I would like to be there on the 14th.

Congratulations! Being a founder member of Friends of the Earth in 1970 I know how hard it is to keep going against many odds.

In soccer terms: Boys and girls done good!


Nicolas Holliman
WECI Environmental Consultancy

Chris Bligh (not verified)

Happy birthday indeed and congratulations . I have been involved since 1987, through mitra then, and with the founding of Media Natura in 1988, supported greatly by Richard Elen and Alister Sieghart.

For those researchers wondering whether green-net working has made any difference I would point to the publishing of the ECO Climate Change Newsletter from the Second World Climate Conference in (?) June 1988, on through the UN process in Nairobi, New York, Geneva and on to Rio Earth Summit in 1992. This was in the days before even PDF files, and was sent by 'polling' fax to news editors around the world.

The newsletter was a DTP daily, edited by a coalition of NGO delegates witnessing these tedious talks at first hand. I feel ECOs success brought the climate change issue on to the Agenda, and was a case of right communications technology at the right time... the dedicated and concerned NGO community helped raise the issue of climate change right through to establishing the Kyoto convention, all in the face of vested interest coal, nuclear and defence industry lobbyists

The climate change issue is on the agenda today, and still critical: the 'science' would not have got to such prominence without the efforts of the GreenNet community. Whether ECOs exist still on some webpage, and why they should I don't know, but it might prove interesting to see how "we told them so"

SO congratulations; you have made a difference and helped establish that the independence of the Web is a fundamental global right.

We'll enjoy your party in a virtual way on the 14th anyway.

Warm regards Chris bligh

Walt Patterson (not verified)

Bravo the twenty years! My wife and I have been using GreenNet ever since we first went online, longer ago than we can remember, and we couldn't have found a more welcoming place - friendly, helpful, capable and reliable people, actual cheerful humans on the phone immediately for any query, and rock-solid support for every contingency. Congratulations and best wishes for the next twenty.

Pat at Veggies (not verified)

Congratulations on your 20th annivesary, from Veggies Catering Campaign, a GreenNet member that has made it to 22 years, with GreenNet hosting our 'vast and extensive internet capability'* for most of those years!

(*ref 'The Guardian; Society'!!)

Bronwen (not verified)

Congratulations! Been with you since I first had an email account, and it's the best service anywhere.

Rolf Kleef (not verified)

My congratulations to all of you there! I remember my first dial-ups to Greennet in 1994 (when I joined Friends of the Earth Netherlands), in some obscure deal between Antenna and GreenNet. It's when I met Ace and got drawn into this whole movement called APC; giving email trainings at activist conventions while trying to dial in to Antenna or Greennet from a village in Poland or Latvia :-)

I won't be in London at the 14th, but I'll have a proper pint here at home to virtually join your celebrations!

Kind regards,

Lindsay Hossack (not verified)

Congratulations on your anniversary. GreenNet's ethos and ultra-helpful approach has been a source of inspiration in the five years I've known you. Have a wonderful celebration - and here's to the next 20 years!


Peter Bunyard (not verified)

Unfortunately I shall still be away in Colombia when you have your celebrations. Just want to say that I have been using GreenNet virtually from the word go and I wouldn't do without it for all the world. During the course of years I have recommended GreenNet to others and I know some have gone ahead!

Moreover, whenever I have had problems in the past (I don't seem to have them now... at least from an email point of view) I have always very helpful, friendly advice from GreenNet. GreenNet could give the world a lesson in how best to deal with customers.

Anyway, I shall stick with GreenNet and am happy to do so.

Many thanks

Happy fiesta, happy Christmas and happy New Year.

james (not verified)

Is it really twenty years !

Twenty-years of skilled, patient and always polite help on the end of a 'phone, as I grappled (still grapple) with the mysteries and frustrations of electronic communication.

Now, in a world of "deals", it is service that counts: keep on keeping on - locally, nationally and internationally.

Sorry I won't be at the party -
Thank you, congratulations and Happy Twentieth -


Spokesman Books (not verified)

Wishing Greenet a very Happy Birthday. Best wishes for a bright future, from All at Spokesman Books.

Pam (not verified)

I'm what's called a 'late adopter' when it comes to techie stuff (I'm still on Win98 at the moment). And GreenNet rescued me in in December 1999, when I was still on Win3.11 (yes, really!) and the external access I'd had via my university email account was suddenly withdrawn, because they decided as part of their millennium security upgrade that they wouldn't allow connection from off-campus from 3.11 any more. So with the Xmas and new year holiday looming, I was about to be deprived of email at a time when I couldn't get a new account until everyone woke up again after the parties. I rang GreenNet, and whoever happened to answer the phone on about 20 Dec was wonderful. As I already had Eudora on my machine, I was talked through the configurations, gave my credit card number, and hey presto I had a new and functioning account instantly. And 7 years later I'm still here. Well done everyone - it's a great set-up and I'm really happy to pay you for my account and not get a "free" one (there's no such thing as a free lunch) with some mega-coporation, or end up paying into someone's share portfolio via a commercial ISP.

Ellie Weld (not verified)

While I was working at Amnesty International as Asia Information Officer, I used GreenNet constantly to retrieve useful information for the Asia programme researchers. So it seemed quite natural to sign up with you as our ISP when I retired about ten years ago. I like being involved with a progressive, public-spirited and committed organisation rather than a commercial behemoth; I also appreciate the personal touch when I have to ring or email GreenNet Support: thanks to Janet and Cedric, among others.

Have a wonderful 20th-anniversary celebration!

Kate Whittle (not verified)

Yay! Congratulations all you lovely GreenNetters!

I have had my gn account since for ever and I have always been grateful for the friendly, efficient, professional but kindly support I have got over the years from the Support desk. You are always helpful, never make me feel like an idiot - even if I have done something idiotic! Compared to some other support desks I have had the misfortune to deal with over the years, you are saints ... I also appreciate the work you do providing internet access for communities with poor communications networks.

Keep up the good work - I won't be able to make it to your festivities, but here's to another 20 years.


Natasha (not verified)

hi greennet collective,
congrats on a long life, and best for the next twenty :-)


This is the anniversary of the year and should be celebrated by everyone, whether they are GN members or not.
I am glad to be associated with an organisation that still sticks to it's original ideals.
Here is to another 20 years, and another 20 after that.

Chris (not verified)

Hi all,

many thanks for the invite to your 20th anniverasry but I'm afraid Wales is a bit too far away for me to just nip down and join you in the distant south.

Anyway, many congratulations and much thanks for the sterling work you have put in over the decades, helping skint, techno ignorant greenies like my younger self to take an active part in developing an alternative global communications network- nice one indeed.


Chris Dixon, Dolgellau, Cymru

Mary Pendered (not verified)

Sounds great, sorry we live too far away to come but congratulations on
20 years of great work and have a good evening!!!

ruth west (not verified)


I was around at the beginning -- we all shared offices in Belgrave Square. Some of us, I thought, had more whacky ideas than others... Shows me what I know!

Have a great party -- and thanks for all the times you've rescued me


René ter Schiphorst (not verified)

Many congratulations with your 20th birthday. I will not be able to attend the party, it's a long journey from Inverness to London, :) For those that are attending, have fun, and i do hope to see the 40th birthday in 2026. René.

Marcus Colchester (not verified)

Please give yourselves a big pat on the back for 20 years of top alternative quality service with big thanks for always being so helpful to your technically clueless customers (or perhaps I am the only one?)

I'd love to be with you but I'm in Indonesia. I must be one of your longest standing members.... joined in 1986

Duncan Campbell (not verified)

Congratulations all !

I was inspired to see how long I had been with you. Most of the time, over 16 years.
I found the letters below still in the archive !
Is anybody from then still in the team?
I hope to be there.


FONT BIG3TIM$$ N S R e s e a r c h
ENDF$$ -------------------------------------------------------------
$Foundation House -- Perseverance Works | Telex (direct) 28449
$38 Kingsland Road -- London E2 8DQ | Telephone 071-739 3211
$Fax 071-739 9307 Telecom Gold 76:CJJ187 (Tlx 265871, ref CJJ187)

25 Downham Road
London N1 5AA

Dear GN,

Please send me the details of joining Green-net and its kindred systems.

Yours sincerely,
Duncan Campbell

$1 Ayrsome Road, London N16 0RH 071-254 6084 (fax available)
$Office : 071-739 3211 071-739 9307 (office fax)
25 Downham Road
London N1 5AA


Dear Green-Net,

Please join me to Green-Net.

I am Asociate Editor of $New Statesman and Society$ $$magazine, and a member of many left, green and other organisations.

User name : Duncan

Keywords : nuclear; secrecy; civil defence; communications; US forces; computers; databanks; databases

Description : Duncan Campbell is the Asociate Editor of $New Statesman and Society$ $$magazine, and the author of many books articles and television programmes concerned with secrecy, defence, US military activities, nculear power, computer databanks and civil liberties.

Computer facilities : IBM 386, comms at 2400 bauds.

Heard about Green-Net : everywhere, but decided to join after talking to Dfax and Bradford Peace Studies.

Yours sincerely,
Duncan Campbell

Leandro Navarro (not verified)

With love from Pangea. Our hearts are close to you all in this celebration, our servers too ;-)

Best wishes, Leandro.

Stephen Gordon (not verified)

Congratulations to Greenet - you all do a GREAT JOB!! and I really appreciate the support I get from you all when I call with problems.

Best wishes

Mylene Soto (not verified)

I remember meeting a guy from GreenNet in an international conference in Chonburi, Thailand in 1995. He spoke about connecting people through something called the internet. At that time, I was just discovering (and being a technophobe--resisting) what he was promoting. Not knowing that 11 years after, I would be having his kind as colleagues and friends. And be totally at home and work with the technology : )

Congratulations, Anna, KarenB and the GN collective!

The WNSP team will be meeting in Rome 14 December. But we'll surely be toasting and invoking our good wishes while you're partying in London.

all the best for another 20,

Al Alegre (not verified)

On behalf of FMA, may I offer our heartfelt greetings of solidarity on your
upcoming 20th year celebration...

Though we came into electronic networking and internet advocacy much later than you guys, we are certainly aware that GreenNet's work (and APC's) has always resonated within the Philippine NGO Community as a leader in the field and enabler of the work of many NGOs here. The fact that Obet Verzola still has his GreenNet email account is a simple testament of the continuing relevance of your core work! :-) As you have branched out into much more areas, and your work has expanded exponentially, your relevance has certainly been felt by hundreds if not thousands all over the world.

Most importantly, I think you all have fun doing what you do...and that remains an inspiration to us all.

We wish you a great celebration, and though we cannot be in London, we will raise a glass (or many :-) to you and many more years of groundbreaking,relevant, and fun work!

Mabuhay ang GreenNet!


p.s. Coincidentally, FMA will also celebrate its 20th year next year, having been incorporated in 1987. Though the FMA you know (the reincarnation into more
ICT-centered work, which was when I came in) only came about in late 1996 after a hiatus of about 2 years, I thus realize that the even the "new" FMA is also coming into its own 10th year anniversary! We will at least go the greenNet way and drink to the twin anniversaries...

Pavel Antonov (not verified)

Dear Friends at GreenNet,
Congratulations on your anniversary. We are happy and proud with you.
Keep greennetting, you seem to be so good with that :)
Nazdrave from Budapest and Sofia,
Pavel and BlueLink


Congratulations GreenNet!

I was active in UK Amnesty in those days and used to give workshops at Amnesty and labour movement conferences trying to catalyse interest in the possibilities - a bit prematurely I think because the medium was still immature. By the end of the nineties, however, every safety reps' conference had to have a workshop on using the net and I had evolved from a lone nutter (librarian) to a desirable expert (webmaster). Now it's hard to imagine labour, environmental and human rights activism without the net.

Janet Wright (not verified)

I've never considered swapping to a free provider and indeed feel I've got the better deal. Whenever I'm writing about ethics or environment I always try to plug GreenNet.

Meanwhile, congratulations on your 20th birthday!

Love to all,


Kristen Richardson (not verified)

Sorry I won't be able to join you for the festivities, it's a bit of a commute
from New Jersey, but I'll be with you in spirit(s)!!

all best wishes, and my thanks to all of you for your service and support.

Jesse (not verified)

Brilliant, thanks for the invitation, sorry I can't join you in the festivities. Keep up the great work!

Gillian Lusk (not verified)

Congratulations - environmentalism has moved on in 20 years, albeit far too slowly! I can't come to the party as I shall be elsewhere but I hope you all have a great time. LSE could do with a bit of environmental encouragement by the way: it's far more business-oriented even than 20 years ago.......
With Best Wishes,

Julián Casasbuenas (not verified)

Wow, 20 years already!, Congrats to all the friends at Greennet and hope you'll have a huge celebration.

Warm regards,

Colnodo team

Mitra Ardron (not verified)

Congratulations GreenNet on making it 20 years, who would have thought back there in 1986...

Sorry I won't be able to make it - I'm going to be just back home in Byron Bay, Australia after two months on the road.

I now work on developing sustainable businesses, most recently in plant-based plastics and would love to hear from any old friends that I've lost touch with - mitra at

Once again, congratulations on pulling off twenty years , its truly a challenge to have survived through all the changes the internet has been through in that time.

Dorothy Jackson (not verified)

Congratulations on your first 20 years ! Sorry I won't be able to join you...I am in Ghana... but will raise a toast on 14th, with thanks for all the excellent support you have given the environmental & social movement over the years.

Steven Burkeman (not verified)

Sadly I can't be in London on 14th Dec - I remember meeting Mitra in London,
and then persuading Rowntree trustees to back him. At that time, I
exchanged emails with one other person (a trustee, now dead). Quite a
couple of decades! Have a great party.

Best wishes,


Alan Norchi (not verified)

Thanks for the invitation. I will not be joining you but hope you all have a great night. I'm pleased to be a member of GreenNet and am grateful for what has been a friendly and helpful service.


from a family of veteran users. I joined soon after you started.

My wife, rachel/at/ will be teaching at Birkbeck College that night,
and our boys isaac/at/ and eli/at/ aged 8 and 13 are a bit
young for nights on the town so have a great time'
Best wishes from