Blogger profile

Kumi Naidoo

Passionately involved in liberation struggles from a young age, he continues to speak truth to power across the range of Greenpeace campaign activities around the globe. He is dedicated to engagement, dialogue and change and seeks a green and peaceful planet for all the world’s inhabitants.

More blogger information

  • Q&A published in Yale Environment 360. 

    In a Yale Environment 360 interview, the outspoken executive director of Greenpeace discusses why his organization’s activists braved imprisonment in Russia to stop Arctic oil drilling and what needs to be done to make a sharp turn away from fossil fuels and toward a green energy economy.

    by Diane Toomey

    Kumi Naidoo, the international executive director of Greenpeace, is intimately familiar with the Prirazlomnaya drilling platform in the Russian Arctic. In August 2012, he and five other Greenpeace activists were hosed down with frigid water and pelted with pieces of metal as they attempted to climb aboard the platform, which recently became the first offshore installation to begin producing oil in the Arctic Ocean. 

    Greenpeace and Prirazlomnaya were b... Read more >

  • Action on climate change would wipe billions off oil company balance sheets and they are determined to silence their critics.

    Twenty-six of the Arctic 30 in St Petersburg, 3 December 2013. 'Peaceful protests on oil rigs in the freezing Arctic Ocean are the only rational response to years of deliberate inaction.' Photograph: Dmitri Sharomov/Greenpeace

    I've heard it said by Greenpeace old hands that when they first arrived in the Russian Arctic back in the 1980s, Russian fishermen would shower them with gifts. They found it acutely embarrassing. When I went to the Arctic Ocean last year to take action against Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya drilling rig, I got a decidedly less friendly reaction, but there were no arrests and certainly no talk of years in prison.

    My protest was hardly the stuff o... Read more >

  • "What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." 
    – Nelson Mandela speaking at the 90th birthday celebration of Walter Sisulu, Walter Sisulu Hall, Randburg, Johannesburg, South Africa, 18 May 2002.

    Nelson Mandela was never really a prisoner, but a free man always, and now, forever. As a South African, a comrade in the struggle to liberate my homeland from the evil of apartheid and a citizen of the world, my heart is heavy today. The loss was to be expected, but remains hard to bear.

    The world has lost a true leader, a true father and a true inspiration. To say he lived a life of significance barely does it justice, and it is not over – he leaves a profound legac... Read more >

  • Every act of peaceful rebellion adds up

    Blogpost by Kumi Naidoo - September 19, 2013 at 9:28

    I woke up at the crack of dawn this morning with my stomach in knots as I scrambled to check my twitter feed and email.

    It was five a.m. but I was wide awake; physically in Amsterdam but my heart in Russia where I knew that five of my fellow activists were launching into action at a giant oil rig in the Russian Arctic — a rig that I’m all too familiar with.

    As I scoured through the first images and read the tweets from the Arctic Sunrise, it all came flooding back — the crisp, salty morning air on my face as the inflatable zipped along towards Gazprom's giant rig; the roughness of the rope against my hands as I hung on for dear life; the mean red face of the massive Prirazlomnaya towering over us, the David vs. Goliath metaphor more real than ever before; next to me, Sini's eyes peering o...

    Read more >
  • It's time to separate the sponsor from the sport

    Blogpost by Kumi Naidoo - August 26, 2013 at 8:19

    Much like the movement to save the Arctic, Grand Prix fans are made up of all sorts of people. I would know — I was a big fan of the sport growing up. Is it possible that a lifelong environmental and social justice activist can harbor a secret love of racing? I’d like to think we embrace diversity in the movement and celebrate different points of view. In fact, I bet there are plenty of environmentalists in the grandstands at the F1 today, just as there are many secret F1 fans in Greenpeace!

    My interest in F1 started way back when I had a roommate who absolutely loved it — she would sometimes get up at 2 o'clock in the morning just to watch it. And before long, she got me hooked, too. So I can certainly respect the technology, sportsmanship and innovation that are at the heart of the Fo... Read more >

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