Memorial Event to Honor Environmental Leader

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Celebration of Life for Rebecca Tarbotton at Herbst Theater Saturday
Friday, January 25, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO—Hundreds are expected to memorialize environmental leader Rebecca Tarbotton at the Herbst Theater Saturday at 5 p.m. There will be words and inspiration from environmental and social justice leaders and musician Sean Hayes in a Celebration of Life memorial event to honor the legacy of Rebecca Tarbotton. Admired by many for her visionary work protecting rainforests, pushing for the transition to a clean energy economy and defending human rights, Tarbotton died unexpectedly December 26, 2012, at the age of 39.

Speakers at Saturday’s service include Maria Gunnoe, recipient of the North American Goldman Environmental Prize in 2009 for her work to end mountaintop removal coal mining, Mike Brune, Executive Director, The Sierra Club, Nell Greenberg, Communications Director, Rainforest Action Network and Illyse Hogue, Incoming President, NARAL Pro-Choice America. Special musical guest and local San Francisco favorite Sean Hayes will perform “A Thousand Tiny Pieces” as a tribute to Tarbotton’s life.

“Becky reshaped Rainforest Action Network, and was a force against deforestation and corporate greed.” Said Mike Brune, who will speak at the memorial Saturday. “We need more women to be leading environmental organizations, and losing a leader and friend like Becky is especially painful.”

Rebecca Tarbotton served as the Executive Director for Rainforest Action Network (RAN) since August 2010, after serving working as Program Director and head of the organization’s Energy and Finance program. Under Tarbotton’s leadership, RAN achieved tremendous victories protecting endangered rainforests and the rights of their indigenous inhabitants. Most recently, Tarbotton helped design the most significant policy agreement in RAN’s history: a landmark policy by the Disney Corporation that is set to transform how the company and its subsidiaries source its paper purchases.

“Becky was an emerging star who was galvanizing an ever-growing movement of people demanding environment and social change,” said Nell Greenberg, Communications Director for RAN. “She believed that to protect forests and our communities we must protect our climate and to protect our climate we must protect the forests.”

Tarbotton was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on July 30, 1973. Her commitment to the environment dates back to her youth. Just after graduating college she interned with the David Suzuki Foundation, working on the first letter from Nobel Laureates warning of the dangers of inaction on global warming.

Tarbotton died December 26, 2012, on a beach in Mexico north of Puerto Vallarta while vacationing with her husband and friends. The coroner ruled cause of death as asphyxiation from water she breathed while swimming. She is survived by her husband, Mateo Williford; her brothers Jesse and Cameron Tarbotton and her mother, Mary Tarbotton, of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Members of the press are invited to attend this event and are asked to remain sensitive to the personal and emotional nature of this day of tribute and to refrain from approaching friends or family members without first contacting the press contacts listed above.

For a full biography and to view the many notes from collegues and friends, visit:

For video of Rebecca Tarbotton, please visit:


Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: