[View the story "Rainforest Action Network chief Rebecca Tarbotton drowns in Mexico" on Storify]Rainforest Action Network chief Rebecca Tarbotton drowns in Mexico Storified by 89.3 KPCC· Sat, Dec 29 2012 11:44:27She shaped the group's strategy into higher-profile, direct-action, no-violence protests that brought the group more credibility and brought the movement more mainstream notice. Rebecca Tarbotton, July 30th, 1973 - December 26, 2012Rainforest Action NetworkIt was a freak accident on the day after Christmas. Friends of Rebecca Tarbotton posted an account on Facebook of what happened in San Pancho, a small coastal town north of Puerto Vallarta: "On the 26th, everyone woke up to a glorious andwarm day. Becky had tea andcookies by the pool and read her book. In early afternoon, she hiked down tothe beach with David Taylor and Justin Grant. They quickly jumped into the surfandsplashed and played. We all know how Beckycouldn’t resist playing in the water. The waves of the Pacific were strong,though, and Becky took in a considerable amount of water."Friends, the... | FacebookFriends, the strong, vigilant Rebecca Tarbotton aka Becky Tarbotton had died. I join you in your shock and mourning. From the friends and...They say they're still trying to make sense of it all. So are lefty luminaries familiar with her work. RIP RT Farewell Becky Tarbotton, #RainforestActionNetwork's visionary director: http://ow.ly/gpX8Z by @Steve_Katz v/ ?@MotherJonesBianca JaggerA terrible, almost unbelievable loss. "Rebecca Tarbotton, head of Rainforest Action Network, dies at 39" http://grist.org/climate-energy/remembering-rebecca-tarbotton-head-of-rainforest-action-network-who-died-this-week/#.UN4Z-KIXngw.twitterNaomi KleinTarbotton made an impression on the media, too. Grist's David Roberts said she was "a spark plug - charged others up." Sad loss of a young conservation leader, Rebecca Tarbotton of @RAN Rainforest Action Network. News release: S… http://tmblr.co/ZtU9QyaSILjDAndy RevkinIn this video, you can see why. She's a poised and compelling speaker who makes a key point early on by admitting that climate activists have already lost. "We have not stopped human induced climate change before itstarts," she says, matter-of-factly. "That’s true. We did lose." But then she keeps going. Becky Tarbotton - Rainforest Action Network - REVEL 2012ranvideoIn her time, she shaped the Rainforest Action Network's strategy into higher-profile, direct-action, no-violence protests that brought the group more credibility and brought the movement more mainstream notice. RAN grabbed attention when protesters chained themselves to Disney headquarters in Burbank. (You can't beat a picture of Minnie Mouse in cuffs.)Minnie Mouse Arrested While Protesting Disney Rainforest DestructionRainforest Action Network2011 was a good year for environmental activism in this new school, and RAN's Disney action in May was right at the forefront. A Greenpeace stunt at Mattel headquarters in El Segundo the next month doubtless benefitted from the Burbank buzz. Later that summer, 350.org's KeystoneXL protests outside the White House attracted California activists and the media attention that comes along with them.RAN achieved its goal a few months ago: a year and a half of negotiation with Disney yielded a new procurement policy, transparency, and commitment from the corporation to do better.Disney and Rainforests: A Tale of Destruction in IndonesiaRainforest Action NetworkThe highest profile players in the environmental movement have heaped praise on Tarbotton.“Becky reshaped Rainforest Action Network, andwas a force against deforestation and corporate greed,” said Michael Brune,former executive director of RAN and now executive director of the Sierra Club.“She was a rising star. We need more women to be leading environmentalorganizations, and losing a leader and friend like Becky is especiallypainful.”“She was, among otherthings, one of the most spirited of environmentalists — no long-faceddoomsayer, and no too-careful D.C. tactician, but a fighter with a spring inher step and a bit of fire in her eye," said author Bill McKibben. "A true heir to giants like DavidBrower.”We are profoundly saddened by the loss of our ...FacebookYou can't rightly measure a woman's worth through social media, or even the internet. But the depth of the outpouring of love for Tarbotton reminds me of what Robert F. Kennedy said, about sending forth a tiny ripple of hope: "[C]rossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance," he said in South Africa in 1966. We'll see, in the coming weeks and months, how this woman's work inspires others; whether it inspired them in the way Kennedy described. I'll give her the final word: "The project of our time is bigger even thanclimate change. We need to be setting our sights higher and deeper. What we’rereally talking about, if we’re honest with ourselves, is transformingeverything about the way we live on this planet.”Rainforest Action Network has set up a remembrance page for Rebecca Tarbottton. She was 39.