The Dirty Dozen in Durban

Our message to the polluting corporations gathering in Durban today - "Listen to the people, not the polluters.". © Andrew Orpen / Greenpeace


I grew up watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Superman: superheroes who’d regularly save the day from the evil guys. I quickly realized that in real-life, there aren’t many superheroes, although there are a good number of people with the power to change the world, and save the day.

Now we just need them to use those super powers.

Today I went up to hang off a hotel building in Durban, hoping to reach some of those people. I went in the hope that they’ll hear our calls, start listening to the people, and take decisive climate action. The world leaders gathered in Durban right now literally have the power to save the world. 

The trouble is that government delegations are being adversely influenced by a handful of polluting corporations. Companies like Shell and Eskom are influencing the negotiations and preventing the climate-saving legislation we desperately need. When negotiations fail, these corporations profit: they are holding the climate to ransom.

On Saturday I was amazed by the ten thousand people who marched for climate justice in Durban. That morning, I thought how fitting it was that traditional struggle songs were being sung, because we are in a struggle again. It’s a fight to be heard over the likes of Eskom who’d prefer we remained silent. It’s a fight to make our politicians realize what’s at stake, and how much power they have to change the situation. But most importantly, it’s a fight that’s already being fought on a daily basis by millions of African people faced with changing weather patterns, water scarcity, and failing crops.

They are the real super heroes, unlike the politicians occupying the climate talks, too cowardly to step up and use the incredible power they have. So we went out today to call them out and draw attention to the puppet strings running from their mouths to the corporations behind them. 

We were forced to come down from our spot at the top of the hotel and arrested before we could hang our banner, but the fight against the Dirty Dozen will continue.

I still hope that if they hear us, if we can make them realize who they are really accountable to, they’ll hear the millions calling on them to do the right thing, and give us the climate deal we deserve.