YES! Magazine Nominated for General Excellence. Read All About It.
Sections
Home » Issues » Climate Action » Climate Hero Kumi Naidoo

Get a FREE Issue. Yes! I want to try YES! Magazine

Nonprofit. Independent. Subscriber-supported. DONATE. How you can support our work.

YES! by Email
Join over 78,000 others already signed up for FREE YES! news.
[SAMPLE]

Town Hall Sidebar

The YES! ChicoBag(R). Full-size tote that fits in your pocket!

 

Climate Hero Kumi Naidoo

Kumi Naidoo is building a global movement to force world leaders to adopt a binding agreement on climate change. He is executive director of Greenpeace International and chairs TckTckTck, a global campaign for climate action.
— tags:

 

Kumi-Naidoo.jpg

Photo by Mac Urata

Kumi Naidoo learned early in life what mass movements of ordinary people can accomplish: At age 15, he organized youth and neighborhood groups to push for an end to apartheid in South Africa. Nearly 30 years later, Naidoo is building a global movement to force world leaders to adopt a binding agreement on climate change. He chairs the Global Campaign for Climate Action, the group behind TckTckTck, a diffuse and colorful campaign for worldwide mobilization whose name evokes a countdown for climate action. All of TckTckTck’s actions, from civil disobedience and street protests to a celebrity music video, send the same message to global ­policymakers: The time has come for urgent, decisive steps to curb climate change. In November, Naidoo became executive director of Greenpeace International, a partner in the TckTckTck coalition.


What is the role of direct action in shaping the debate on climate change?

History shows that we are only able to effect change when decent men and women are prepared to put their lives on the line, go to prison, take risks, and do it all peacefully. That’s what happened in the civil rights movement in the United States and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

If we are brutally honest with ourselves about the response of our governments to petitioning, dialogue, and other normal campaigning, we’d see that such methods have not delivered the kind of results we need. I think you will be seeing more and more civil disobedience.

What one message do you want the TckTckTck campaign to send to world leaders?

That the cost of failing to agree to a fair, ambitious, and binding deal in Copenhagen will be devastating for every single country on this planet. If we don’t act now, the world will pay a very high price in the future, both financially and socially.

What lessons do you draw from your experiences working to end apartheid?

It’s important to build as much unity as possible. We must encourage people to focus on the considerable number of areas where they agree and to respect where they have differences. We also need sacrifice, courage, commitment, and strong leadership across all sectors of society—faith, trade unions, NGOs, and the business community. And we must always look for allies within the government.


Kate SheppardKate Sheppard conducted this interview for Climate Action, the Winter 2010 issue of YES! Magazine. Kate covers energy and environmental politics from Washington, D.C. She currently writes for Mother Jones and was previously the political reporter for Grist.

 

Meet all our Climate Heroes:

kumi-Naidoo-mug.jpg   Phaedra-Ellis-Lamkins-mug.jpg   Sally-Bingham-mug.jpg   Marcus-Ryan-mug.jpg   Sharon-Hanshaw-mug.jpg   Lorelei-Scarbro-mug.jpg   Clayton-Thomas-Muller-mug.jpg

Kumi Naidoo

 

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

 

Rev. Sally Bingham

 

Marcus Ryan

 

Sharon Hanshaw

 

Lorelei Scarbro

 

Clayton Thomas-Müller

 

Email Signup
Climate Action
Comment on this article

How to add a commentCommenting Policy

comments powered by Disqus


You won’t see any commercial ads in YES!, in print or on this website.
That means, we rely on support from our readers.

||   SUBSCRIBE    ||   GIVE A GIFT   ||   DONATE   ||
Independent. Nonprofit. Subscriber-supported.




Subscribe

Filed under:
Personal tools