Born in South Africa, Greenpeace International’s executive director Kumi Naidoo became involved in his country’s liberation struggle at the age of 15. He has a deep and broad experience of democratic struggles for justice and sustainability across the world. Naidoo is a former Rhodes Scholar and holds a doctorate in political sociology. ..Though my continent of Africa has been the least responsible for harmful emissions, we are paying the first and most brutal price for climate impacts.
The genocide in Darfur was the first major resource war brought about by climate change. According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Lake Chad, one of the largest inland seas in the world, has shrunk to the size of a pond. At the same time, the Sahara desert, which already covers much of North Africa, is marching southward at a rate of a mile a year…This combination of water and land scarcity results in food scarcity, which is often the trigger that allows opportunistic politicians to lead us down the path to chaos and tragedy…We also have to question the issue of consumption. If everybody in the world enjoyed the same levels of consumption as Australians currently do, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) predicts that we would require 3.6 planets…How can we support the most vulnerable people on our planet who, ironically, are paying the gravest price for climate impacts despite being the lowest emitters of carbon? We need to engage in peaceful, purposeful and creative civil disobedience because all of our political and business leaders, with few exceptions, seem to suffer from cognitive dissonance. We do not have a moral or ethical choice – we must fight as hard as we can so that we, along with the very imperatives of democracy and equality, can no longer be ignored.
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