John Rensenbrink was a co-founder of the Green Party of the United States, the fourth-largest political party in the U.S.
Inspired by Green political parties in Europe and Canada, Rensenbrink worked with other activists to form the Green Party of Maine, his home state, in 1984. He broadened the scope of his organizing later that year, when he met with activists from around the country in Minnesota to create the organization that would become the Green Party of the United States. The “four pillars” of the party’s platform were established as ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence. Rensenbrink ran for U.S. Senator in Maine in 1996, representing the Green Party, and he received four percent of the vote. He was also a mentor and advisor to many other Green Party candidates. In addition to his work with the Green Party, Rensenbrink wrote several books and was the founder of the environmental politics journal Green Horizon magazine. Rensenbrink was a professor at Bowdoin College before retiring to focus on the Green Party.
“In contemplating the fact that I will not live forever, I feel life’s call. It’s not only the trees that need help. But life itself is severely threatened. Not just in me or in those dear to me. But life itself may be extinguished in the human species as a whole, my species, the one I belong to.” —from Rensenbrink’s book, “Ecological Politics: For Survival and Democracy”
Tributes to John Rensenbrink
Full obituary: Portland Press Herald