Recently on Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now program, I heard an interview with the new Director of Greenpeace.
Kumi Naidoo, of South Africa, is the first African to lead Greenpeace since it was founded in 1971.
(Above is a picture of Mr. Naidoo. I don’t know who that young person is next to him.)
The BBC story says Greenpeace is shifting its focus from whaling and nuclear power to issues of global poverty and climate change.
Mr. Naidoo asserts that climate change is a matter of basic justice and human rights.
Mr. Naidoo says wars take place because of resources depleted and shifted by climate change, and some are forced to become refugees because of changing conditions on the Earth.
Here is an excerpt from an article Mr. Naidoo wrote for the BBC—
“I have been an activist for the majority of my life, and my personal journey began at the age of 15 in apartheid South Africa where I was involved with the liberation struggle, eventually having to flee to the UK in 1987. After the release of Nelson Mandela, I returned to South Africa and was involved in strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world, both through Civicus – the global organisation aiming to boost citizen involvement in issues – where I served as secretary general for the past 10 years, and through the Make Poverty History campaign of which I was one of the founders in 2003….I have always personally connected the poverty movement with stewardship for the environment; and having served for the past year as chair of tcktcktck, the global campaign for climate action, it felt like a natural progression to move to Greenpeace… I see a need to bring together the poverty movement and the environmental movement as we face up to the greatest challenge of our time: climate change….Climate change is real and happening now. It already accounts for over 300,000 deaths throughout the world each year, according to the Global Humanitarian Forum. Not only that, but I am aware that time is very much against us. We must take radical action, and I believe that the work that Greenpeace does across the globe is vital in our understanding of climate change and also the actions that are needed.”
I enjoy the article on the Greenpeace site called “Hounding Obama in Oslo.” It is about Greenpeace in Oslo asking President Obama to take the lead on climate change as he accepts the Nobel Peace Prize.
Greenpeace merits our attention and support. This new focus on global poverty and climate change addresses some of the most pressing issues in our world.