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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. We begin with drama on the high seas. Several days ago, environmental activists from Greenpeace International tried to climb a Russian oil platform in the Arctic. They were there to protest drilling for fossil fuels in this fragile ecology at the top of the world but they were confronted by gun-carrying members of the Russian Coast Guard who fired warning shots dangerously close to the protesters and their inflatable boats. The next day, a Russian helicopter dropped armed troops onto the deck of the Arctic Sunrise, that’s the Greenpeace command ship. She was seized and towed to the port of Murmansk, and the crew held for questioning and possible charges of piracy.

Greenpeace has often dared to confront governments and corporations head on. And this wasn’t the first act of civil disobedience against the drilling rigs. Here is their leader, Kumi Naidoo, climbing a platform off the coast of Greenland, braving rough seas and high pressure fire hoses deliberately pounding him and his boarding party with freezing water.

For that action Kumi Naidoo spent four days in jail, not the first time he has seen the inside of a prison cell. Born and raised in South Africa, by his teenage years he was a vocal and prominent opponent of the racist policy of apartheid. He was incarcerated and beaten so often by the white regime that he finally had to escape to Britain, where he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford.

With the end of apartheid, Kumi Naidoo went back home and became a prominent human rights activist. In 2009, he was named head of Greenpeace International, bringing his negotiating and advocacy skills to a worldwide organization of three million members. Kumi Naidoo is with me now. Welcome.

KUMI NAIDOO: Thank you very much. Good to be with you.

BILL MOYERS: What's the worst case scenario for you there with the Arctic Sunrise?

KUMI NAIDOO: Well, you know, the important thing is there's 30 activists who are on the ship.

BILL MOYERS: 30?

KUMI NAIDOO: 30, yeah. And interestingly, the captain of the ship, who is an American citizen, was the captain when the French intelligence service bombed our ship, the Rainbow Warrior, in Auckland more than 25 years ago.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, 27 years.

KUMI NAIDOO: 27 years ago--

BILL MOYERS: That was your flagship.

KUMI NAIDOO: Yeah, Rainbow Warrior. And we have the Rainbow Warrior still, the third version of it. So our first and foremost concerns are for our volunteers and activists onboard. We hope, best case scenario, is that they will simply be released and sent back to their countries, even if they are deported. With regard to the ship, the ship sails under a Dutch flag. The Dutch government has been very sympathetic and have been in touch with the Russian authorities seeking clarity as to why the ship was boarded. And we expect that the Dutch, again, on the most positive side, the ship will be released and will sail to its next mission. On the most negative side, there will be a protracted struggle to get the ship back.

BILL MOYERS: Is it illegal for your activists to board, or try to board that oil rig out there?

KUMI NAIDOO: Yes.

BILL MOYERS: It is? Illegal against international law? Or Russian law?

KUMI NAIDOO: I would say it is an act of nonviolent peaceful civil disobedience against international maritime law.

BILL MOYERS: It was in international waters?

KUMI NAIDOO: It was in international waters.

BILL MOYERS: What was it doing there?

KUMI NAIDOO: Basically, when there's a rig at sea, the government that's responsible for putting that rig there determines a 500 meter exclusion zone around the rig. And you're not allowed to enter. So we keep our ship outside of that zone. And when our activists are going to take action, so, like, last year when I was involved, we would go in through an inflatable boat.

But you see, I'll tell you the way we do it. The moment an inflatable leaves the ship to enter the zone towards the rig, our captain contacts the captain of the rig because the rig is actually considered to be a ship at sea, right? And says, "Captain of the platform, this is Greenpeace. We are engaged in a peaceful protest. This is why we are doing it, because the Arctic is the refrigerator and the air conditioner of the planet. And what happens in the Arctic has impact globally. And this is crazy what is happening. And for these reasons, we are taking this action. Please be assured that we are peaceful and there's no threat to property or to people." We communicate that very quickly. So it's always very clear.

I myself participated in an action a year ago protesting against that very same rig. We need to understand that building in the Arctic has not yet started. And this could be the first place. And therefore, we have done everything to actually try to stop the productions there.

And I make no apologies, by the way, the fact that we are morally and ethically having to break the law because history teaches us, whether it was slavery, whether it was civil rights in the United States, a woman's right to choose, apartheid. All of these major challenges and injustice that humanity has faced over history, those struggles only move forward when decent men and women said, "Enough is enough and no more. We're prepared to put our lives on the line if necessary. We're prepared to go to prison if necessary."

BILL MOYERS: Do you think many people know that Greenpeace owes some of its heritage and DNA to the Quakers?

KUMI NAIDOO: I think some people know. But that's a very, very important legacy of Greenpeace because what people don't know is that the founders of Greenpeace were largely American and Canadian. It was Quakers from the United States who left the U.S. to go to Canada during the Vietnam War. These were people who had the kids, mainly boys, who would be eligible for draft for the Vietnam War.

And they were peace oriented activists. It was out of Vancouver where it was actually started. And the most important thing that we take from Quakers and Quakerism is the commitment to peace, the commitment to justice and a notion that Quakers call “bearing witness.”

And the “bearing witness” is a very simple but very powerful idea. It says that if there's a injustice in the world, those of us that have the ability to witness it and to record it, document it and tell the world what is happening have a moral responsibility to do that. Then, of course, it's left up to those that are receiving that knowledge to make the moral choice about whether they want to stand up against the injustice or observe it.

BILL MOYERS: Well, when you made that choice a year ago when you actually put yourself in that inflatable and went toward that ship and started climbing up the rig, did you realize that your life was in danger, that they would respond violently if they wanted to?

KUMI NAIDOO: Yes. You know, one of the things we have to do is before we execute the action, we have a legal briefing, right? Where the lawyers will say, "As you prepare to take this action, you need to understand what the risks are." We would've had earlier briefings. But there's, like, two or three days before the actual action there's a final conversation where they will tell you the worst case scenario, the best case scenario.

And they always says, "So many things can go wrong." I mean, especially in the Arctic. I mean, the Arctic-- and that is why drilling in the Arctic is such a crazy idea. And, to be honest, I'm not a great climber. I did a one day crash course in the Cape Town climbing center before I jumped on the ship. And on five days of sailing from Norway to the rig, every day I was in the hold of the ship, you know, practicing so--

BILL MOYERS: Practicing?

KUMI NAIDOO: Yeah. So to be honest with you, I was--and I'm not a good swimmer. So…

BILL MOYERS: I brought some video of you participating in a civil disobedience act in Greenland in 2011. Here it is.

KUMI NAIDOO RECORDING: All of us who care about the future of our children and grandchildren, we have to draw a line somewhere. And I say that we draw that line here today in the Arctic. […]

FEMALE VOICE RECORDING: Leiv Eriksson, this is Esperanza. Greenpeace International Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo, is boarding the Live Eriksson as part of a peaceful protest. He's seeking a meeting with the captain of the rig, where he will present a petition signed by 50,000 supporters who demand to see Cairn's oil spill response plan.

BILL MOYERS: Tell me why you decided to board a rig and put yourself in harm's way.

KUMI NAIDOO: I feel that on a daily basis Greenpeace activists and other environmental and social activists standing up for a more just, equitable and sustainable world are putting their lives on the line on a regular basis. I mean, at any given time Greenpeace is taking some action to protect the environment somewhere in the world. And I believe that one of the important things about leadership is that if you are leading a movement or an organization, leaders must periodically lead from the front.

It's not as if given the complexity of my job, I can be taking part in actions every other month or week. But from time to time, it's important for leaders to say, "I am no more important than you are. My life is no more important than you are." And if you, as a young person, are taking risks, then I'm also prepared to take that risk.

And just to be clear, what happens if you fall into the ocean. If you fall into the Arctic Ocean with normal clothes or even if you had a, you know a decent swimsuit or even a bodysuit, which was not specifically prepared, you will be dead in about three or four minutes. That's how cold the water is. We have some protective gear, which will allow you to survive for maybe about two hours. So last year when we were on the Gazprom rig, the same rig where my colleagues who have been arrested now have faced, there were people who were spraying us directly.

And I was in a little sort of what's called a portal ledge, which is a little tent on the outside with a 25 year old amazing American young man called Basil. And with a 64 year old Canadian. The three of us were in this. And for close to 20 hours, we were being sprayed.

And I have to say, that was extremely scary because if we fell, we would've hit-- fallen about 50 meters down. And we would've hit the concrete that is at the bottom of the rig. And in fact, the captain of our ship is saying to the captain of the rig, "Please stop. Their lives are in danger. They're going to fall. This will be the consequences," and so on. And then the captain of the rig is saying, "We've stopped the hoses. They'd better get off in five minutes, otherwise we are going to start spraying. And yes, we expect they will fall and it's going to be very dangerous for them."

BILL MOYERS: What wasn't recorded was what you were thinking, what was going through your head at that time.

KUMI NAIDOO: You know, to be honest, I was extremely scared. I was thinking a lot actually of my little daughter. You know, my daughter was-- I say little, but she just turned 21. But, you know, because I'm with Greenpeace partly because of her because when Greenpeace approached me to consider this position, I was in the middle of a hunger strike. Actually, I was 19 days only on water.

It was a campaign to put pressure on my government in South Africa not to protect the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and to stand up against the human rights violations that were happening to the Zimbabwe people. And Greenpeace calls me on the nineteenth day to say, you know, "Would you consider being a candidate?" And I said, you know, "Thank you very much, but I can't make such a big decision in the state that I'm in at the moment, having been out here for--"

BILL MOYERS: Fasting, hungry?

KUMI NAIDOO: Yeah, just on water for 19 days. And then my daughter said, "What did Greenpeace want?" I told her. And then she said, "Dad, I won't talk to you if you don't seriously consider this position when you finish your stupid hunger strike."

And I said, "Why?" And then she said, "Greenpeace is about my future. This planet is being destroyed. And Greenpeace is not like some other organizations that talk too much and don't act. At least Greenpeace is prepared to put their lives on the line." And so that was a major, major motivation. And I'm sitting there, I'm thinking, "Well, my darling, if I fall and break my neck and die here, I hope you remember you told me to do it."

BILL MOYERS: Interesting because I brought with me a very recent report from UNICEF just out. The study's titled “Climate Change: Children's Challenge.” And the report argues that children bear the brunt of climate change, even though they are the least responsible for it. And that they are passionate and vocal, as your daughter was, about the need for action.

KUMI NAIDOO: Absolutely right. Everywhere in the world I go, from the United States to China, young people get it, they're concerned. They understand that we are running out of time. And they believe more and more that the current adult leadership of the world is betraying their future.

But I want to believe that there is enough humanity in all of us that even the CEO of a coal company, an oil company or a gas company can actually-- fossil fuel companies, have children and grandchildren. And I'm constantly in my conversations with the leaders of the fossil fuel companies, as well as other polluting companies. I'm saying to them, "Listen, put your children and your grandchildren's future in the middle of this conversation." And I think history is going to judge this generation of adult leaders extremely harshly because, you know, maybe 30 years ago you could say we didn't know, the climate science was not so clear and so on.

Today there is no excuse for not taking bold, urgent action. And to do it in a creative way that gives us a win for the climate, but also gives us a win, for example, on jobs and on addressing things like economic development.

BILL MOYERS: In that context, take the Arctic. You have said it's insane to drill in the Arctic. Why?

KUMI NAIDOO:

Well, the very fact that drilling in the Arctic is even a possibility today in the parts where they're going is precisely as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, of burning coal, oil and gas, right? And you know, it wouldn't have been possible, the Arctic is melting in the summer months. And last year when I was there in the Arctic, the day that the world record for the lowest minimum ice levels ever recorded in human history was last year, August.

Now, you know, I say to my American friends always, you know how Americans have this saying which says, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?" I say, "Unfortunately, what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic."

BILL MOYERS: How so?

KUMI NAIDOO: Because the Arctic serves as a refrigerator and air conditioner for the planet. It helps regulate global temperature and the climate. And by reflecting the harsh rays of the sunlight away. Now-- so the whole climate system in the world is related to the level of the Arctic sea ice. That's one.

Secondly, when we look at the melting of glaciers in places like Greenland, for example, that melting has already contributed to sea level rise around the world. And there are glaciers that are at risk, massive glaciers the size of countries, that could easily, with further melting, move off the land and end up in the sea again causing, you know, further sea level rise.

If we continue as we are, right? If we continue as we are, essentially--

BILL MOYERS: Many people--

KUMI NAIDOO: --we are signing a death warrant for the future generations.

BILL MOYERS: Many people think we're doing that, as you know, from just reading the press.

KUMI NAIDOO: Yeah, yeah, no--

BILL MOYERS: They say it’s too late.

KUMI NAIDOO: Yes. Well, you know, this is a good question because I got asked recently, "There are some people who say it's too late. What is your view?" And they ask, "Do you agree?" I say, "I agree and I disagree. I agree because for some people in the world, it's already too late."

For those people who are losing their lives from climate impacts now, let's be very clear, it's too late for them. For parts of Africa, it's too late. Let me give you an example. And, you know, one of the problems is our leaders don't connect the different issues and challenges that we face because if you take the genocide in Darfur--

BILL MOYERS: In Darfur.

KUMI NAIDOO: In Sudan, the media largely reported it as an ethnic quasi-religious sort of conflict and so on. But, that is your first major resource war brought about by climate impacts because Darfur neighbors Lake Chad. Lake Chad used to be one of the largest inland seas in the world. And the climate science warned us decades ago that, as a result of a warming planet, the Lake Chad was under risk.

As the current secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon puts it, Lake Chad has now shrunk to a size of a pond, right? So water scarcity, land scarcity and food scarcity as a result of an absence of water and land was the toxic mix that created conditions for identity manipulation by opportunistic politicians that saw the horrific events happen. Now, so for some people, it's going to be too late. However, we are still in a small window of opportunity. And that's where I disagree with people that say, "Give it up, it's all over."

There is a small window of opportunity in terms of time. I would say no more than five to ten years, and that actually is being optimistic, that if we can take the courageous, bold steps that we need to take to shift our planet in an energy revolution that takes us to bringing down carbon pollution, but doing it in a way that also generates millions of new jobs in an inclusive green economy of the future, if we were to do that, still, the majority of people on this planet can be secure.

So, yes, for some people it's too late. But for the majority of the planet there is still time. But that time is shrinking very, very fast. And, based on current practice of governments, if we continue like that over the next coming years, then sadly, I think it will be too late.

BILL MOYERS: You know what you're up against. What you see as potential destruction happening faster and faster in the Arctic, the oil companies see as opportunity for drilling even deeper because there is reportedly a great deal of fossil fuel down there.

KUMI NAIDOO: Well, let me give you a picture, all right? Think about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BILL MOYERS: BP?

KUMI NAIDOO: The BP oil spill. That oil spill required 6,000 vessels and thousands of people to actually clean up. You know how long it took, you know the consequences that the people of those coastlines faced in terms of their restaurant business, their fishing business and so on. Now, imagine there's an oil spill in the Arctic. And the oil spill happens towards the end of the Arctic summer, right? Just as the ice in the ocean is beginning to form again. The oil will be locked into the ocean for at least six months until the season changes again. So the consequences here are far too devastating. And, you know, people might think Greenpeace is being a bit romantic because we are calling for the upper Arctic to be declared a sanctuary.

BILL MOYERS: No trespassing?

KUMI NAIDOO: Yeah. But 20 years plus ago, Greenpeace and other organizations lobbied for the Antarctic to be declared a global public good all countries in the world have sort of almost a sense of shared ownership, and we succeed. The Antarctic is protected and is treated as a place for no industrial activity because of the environmental sensitivity.

So, you know, for people like myself and many people around the world, when President Obama was running for election there were three phrases that resonated with us, which he used multiple times in all his regular stump speeches, right? "Yes, we can," "the fierce urgency of now," which is a phrase from Martin Luther King, and "a planet in peril."

BILL MOYERS: In peril?

KUMI NAIDOO: Yeah. We understand a planet in peril was our understanding that climate change was actually threatening this life on this planet as we know it.

Now, if you take something like Hurricane Sandy, right, Hurricane Sandy would've happened. Hurricanes happen. But you have to look at the intensity, the height of the waves and so on, which is compounded by the impacts of climate change, with regard to already you know, the sea level rise that we've seen, a warming ocean and so on. So we must be very clear.

We are playing political poker and commercial poker with the future of the planet. And when you say, "future of the planet" we're talking about the future of children. You know, the one thing I jokingly say, you know, sometimes people say, "Save the planet, save the climate and so on." I say, the planet actually does not need any saving. The planet's going to be here. And actually, the reality is if all of us warm this planet and destroy it and we all cannot survive here anymore, the planet will replenish.

BILL MOYERS: It will come back.

KUMI NAIDOO: What is at stake is humanity's ability to live in coexistence with nature for centuries to come. And there can be no more important ethical imperative for any political or business leader than saying, "I have a responsibility to act in a way that does not imperil my children and grandchildren's future."

BILL MOYERS: I remember very well the speeches that President Obama made during the campaign that still resonate with you. You just quoted three memorable phrases. But I also brought with me an excerpt from another speech that President Obama, not candidate Obama, made. Here it is.

PRESIDENT OBAMA RECORDING: For the first time in 18 years, America's poised to produce more of our own oil than we buy from other nations. And today we produce more natural gas than anybody else. So we're producing energy. And these advances have grown our economy, they've created new jobs that can't be shipped overseas. And, by the way, they've also helped drive our carbon pollution to its lowest levels in nearly 20 years. Since 2006 no country on earth has reduced its total carbon pollution by as much as the United States of America.

BILL MOYERS: The irony is this was part of a speech, a larger speech, where he also laid out the plans to cut greenhouse emissions. You've got this paradox, this contradiction, this irony at the heart. You say you were hopefully inspired by the president. What's happened since then to make you less inspired?

KUMI NAIDOO: Well, a lot of his behavior has been acquiescence to the political logic of how money pollutes politics in the United States and elsewhere in the world. So, if you ask yourself, "Why is it he would say something," that if you fact checked what he said, I can guarantee you, you will find, just that small clip, you will find holes. We are the country that does the most in terms of reduction in the last couple years, that's false, right?

And so, why? Why is it? It's very simple actually. Which they are for every member of Congress in the United States, including all the members of President Obama's own party, the fossil fuel industry, the oil, coal and gas companies fund full-time lobbyists to make sure that, in fact, no progressive, urgent climate legislation goes through.

And if you look at how President Obama used the considerable political capital that he had coming into office to push the health care reform and how much he used to push climate change which, by the way, health care reform is going to be meaningless if you don't address climate change because climate change is already generating new diseases, already reintroducing old ones that we thought we had defeated and so on.

So we are disappointed, deeply disappointed about how slow he has moved. But let's be very clear. Investing today one fresh cent in new oil, coal and gas projects must be understood as an investment in the death of our children and their children. That's the implication of it. But we are realistic. We don't think we can switch off oil, coal and gas tomorrow. We have to have a phased out approach of how do you do that.

And therefore, what we say is that we need two approaches. We need a serious energy efficiency approach, and we need serious investment in clean renewable energy options. All of which are growing.

If you look at the amount of jobs that potentially could be created if our government engaged in a serious energy revolution, which, if we are to prevent climate catastrophe, has to be in a similar scale like the industrial revolution was, where we really reconfigure our society. Where we begin to value more the importance of clean water, which is a lifesaving resource. We bear in mind, all of these industries suck up huge amounts of water, but also have a polluting effect as fracking is doing to underground water, for example.

BILL MOYERS: You published a report this year in which you identified 14 of the biggest fossil fuel projects in the world that you say, Greenpeace says, must be stopped to avoid quoting you, "catastrophic climate change." And you called this report the "Point of No Return.” Why? That's very alarmist.

KUMI NAIDOO: Yes. well, you know, speaking the truth is always a good thing to do. And sometimes speaking the truth when people are suffering from a bad case of cognitive dissonance which is, you know, where all the facts are there. You know, just for people who might not understand the jargon of cognitive dissonance, I always say a good simple example is you know that moment when the US troops finally got to Baghdad.

And Saddam Hussein's communication minister was still in power. And, well, hanging on. And he was holding press conferences and the journalists were asking him, "So, how long are you going to withstand this U.S. military force? And how long do you think you can deal with the war?" And he was saying, "What war? What you talking? We are completely under control."

And behind him there are bombs falling, buildings burning and so on. That is our politicians engaging with the climate question. That they are in denial about how we are running out of time. And so, see, the science says we have to keep warming below 2 degrees based on preindustrial levels.

BILL MOYERS: This is what you call the “new math” of global warming, right?

KUMI NAIDOO: Exactly. And then there's a thing called the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere. So my good friend Bill McKibben was the founder of 350.org. It's called 350.org because 350 parts per million is, of carbon in the atmosphere, was understood 20 years ago to be something we shouldn't breach. This year we've just breached 400 parts per million, right?

So, when you have a situation like that, if these projects, particularly the Canadian tar sands, some of the Arctic projects and so on that I envisaged, if we go after them and if we succeed to actually get those projects going, we will accelerate to 600 parts per million in a very short time because that rate of acceleration of carbon accumulation is very, very fast. And then basically it's a point of no return. That's what science, it's not Greenpeace that is saying that. But that is what the science is saying.

BILL MOYERS: But quoting that new math, you say that we must write off 80 percent of fossil fuel reserves completely. In other words, 80 percent of all the bonanza that's still out there, you're saying just cover up, walk away, forget about it?

KUMI NAIDOO: Got to leave the coal in the hole and the oil in the soil if we want to ensure that this planet exists.

BILL MOYERS: But you know we're not going to do that.

KUMI NAIDOO: Well, this is why our struggle is so difficult. This is why when you asked me the question, "How did you make that personal decision to go and risk your life by taking part in an action in a very, you know, remote place in the Arctic?" This is why we're doing it. The stakes are very high here. We are running out of time. Many of, all the things that you're saying Greenpeace has said, it's not just Greenpeace--

BILL MOYERS: I know.

KUMI NAIDOO: --who's saying it. No, no, I'm just saying, it is, you know, the World Bank, for example, is not a particularly radical organization. The World Bank last year came up with a report called “Turn Down the Heat,” right, which basically was saying we have to actually, all these reports that are coming out are saying, we have to let these known fossil fuel reserves stay where they are. And instead, take that same amount of money, right, that you would invest it-- take Shell, for example, just in terms of what they're doing in Alaska.

BILL MOYERS: Shell Oil?

KUMI NAIDOO: Shell Oil, right? They've already blown $5 billion of their investors' money in risky, badly planned, incompetently executed attempts to try to go drill in the Alaskan Arctic, right? That $5 billion, right, and that's not in oil companies terms, $5 billion is not a humongous amount of money. But it's a significant amount of money. That $5 billion didn't deliver zero unit of energy, right?

That amount of money could be put into research and development, could actually ramp up solar, ranch up geothermal wind and biomass and a range of other options.

BILL MOYERS: But--

KUMI NAIDOO: Yeah, but here's the problem, huh? Why, you say, if it is an option, we don't? Because the amount of money to be made through solar is very different from the amount of money you can make from an oil or a gas field because if you're an oil company, you get an exclusive right to a particular sort of allotment, if you want, where there's oil or gas or coal. And then you have the ability to pull it out and make huge amounts of profit because you have almost a monopoly then on that oil field or gas field or whatever. Nobody is going to get an exclusive license for the sun.

BILL MOYERS: You have yourself acknowledged the head of Greenpeace, has acknowledged that the environmental movement, including Greenpeace is losing the fight to save the planet. Not just in the Arctic, but worldwide.

KUMI NAIDOO: So what I've said is while Greenpeace is winning some important and big battles, if we are brutally honest, we are losing the war and losing the planet. I believe that leadership, good leadership must be about being straight with people. It's about saying, "Yes, we are making progress here. But that progress is just insufficient."

And within Greenpeace we acknowledge that we have to up our efforts and that is what we are doing right now. We are trying to campaign more with people. Like, say on the Arctic we've got four million people that are campaigning with us. Secondly, we're campaigning together with other organizations. So, for example, with the trade union movement where in the past, you know, people used to talk about red green tensions between labor and environment.

Now, the global leadership of the trade union movement is talking about a just transition to a green inclusive economy where, of course, they are concerned about protecting and transitioning people jobs from dirty energy jobs to clean energy jobs.

And I hope the changes that we're making will enable us to win bigger battles in a faster timeframe.

BILL MOYERS: For the past 12 years you've attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the world's most powerful leaders gather. Some of the same people responsible for the very problems you are fighting again. I mean, these are not your kindred spirits. They're the masters of the universe. Why do you attend?

KUMI NAIDOO: You know as a 22 year old I fled South Africa into exile. I was very lucky to have got a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. In fact, I got it while I was on the run from the police. My interview was a fugitive. And when I got to Oxford, I learned a very important thing. Not from the university per se, but suddenly I was in a context where I was with people who didn't have the same views that I had because being a young activist in the anti-apartheid struggle, you mainly were with people who all wanted to bring down the apartheid regime.

So you were, you know, you had tactical differences, but no big philosophical differences. Suddenly, I was in a situation where, you know, there was such a diversity of opinion. And one of the things I learned is that if you just talk to people all the time who agree with you, right, you know, you feel good with yourself, you feel maybe you can delude yourself, you're winning. But activism is about, in my judgment, if you believe in the political correctness of what you are trying to do, you must believe that you can go into any forum, however conservative it might be, however backward in their thinking that it might be.

If they are talking and making and influencing decisions that affect the future of our planet, and so on, I feel I should go. So now I'll be honest with you. It's not the favorite place in the world. You know, before I went to Greenpeace, I went as a human rights, gender equality and that time I could never get a single business CEO to agree for a sit-down meeting, right?

In fact, I used to, like, have to follow them in the corridors. And the best lobbying I did was usually in the men's toilet. And I actually lobbied President Clinton about signing of the landmine treaty while we were both in the toilet, alongside each other, doing our business. But when I go as Greenpeace, when I went as Greenpeace for the first time in 2010, before even I arrived there, there were so many CEOs of big companies that wrote to me saying, "We want meetings."

And by the time I got there, I couldn't attend any sessions because I was, like, fully booked from one CEO to the other. And I was late getting to one CEO. And I said, "I'm so sorry I'm late, but I'm in this new situation. In my previous roles, nobody wanted to speak to me. Now I come as Greenpeace, and you folks all want to speak to me."

And then the CEO tells me, "Well, Kumi, you understand what's happening, right?" I said, "What?" He said, "Well, many of the CEOs of the big companies are desperate to get Greenpeace to the table because they hope that way they won't be on your menu." You know, back to--

BILL MOYERS: Well, you've had some success negotiating with these multinational corporations, instead of confronting them. Unilever and Coca Cola agreed to stop using HFC gases, which can actually do more damage--

KUMI NAIDOO: Than carbon dioxide.

BILL MOYERS: --than carbon dioxide. You got Nestle to stop buying palm oil from Sumatra, where clear cutting was disrupting tiger habitats and other environmental matters. Now you're pressuring Facebook to unfriend coal?

VOICEOVER: At the last count, 600 million of us are your friends. Together we’re changing the world. But the internet you’re at the center of now uses more power than entire nations combined. What powers you? Coal. The number one contributor to climate change. Facebook, unfriend coal and help lead an energy revolution. Let’s keep our world. A world worth changing.

BILL MOYERS: What's that all about?

KUMI NAIDOO: Well, over the next decade the cloud computing companies like Yahoo, Facebook and so on, their energy electricity needs are going to increase by four fold.

BILL MOYERS: Wow.

KUMI NAIDOO: Okay? Now, they have a choice. They can source their energy through traditional dirty energy through coal, oil and gas. Or they can invest in renewable energy or insist on the people that are providing them with energy to provide it through wind, solar and other clean methods. So we ran a campaign on Facebook. And I'm happy to say that Mark Zuckerberg, if you come to the Greenpeace office now in Amsterdam, the headquarters, there's a big poster where it says, "Facebook agrees to be a clean energy champion. We will ensure that our data centers are sourced from clean energy," and so on, and it's signed by Mark Zuckerberg. So to all the companies like, you know, Google and Facebook and so on, we are saying, "You have a responsibility to also use the innovation of your new technologies to help other companies think about how they source their energy for their business." And I'm pleased to say that most of the IT companies are talking to us. We are working with them. And hopefully they will increase the commitment to reduce their footprint in terms of how they source their energy.

BILL MOYERS: I read that some of your allies within Greenpeace are uncomfortable with your negotiating and your willingness to compromise. One of them I saw even says you're trying to move the organization in the direction of the Red Cross instead of Greenpeace. How do you respond to that kind of internal criticism that you're going soft?

KUMI NAIDOO: Well, you know, I've never, even as a 15 year old activist against apartheid regime, I've never believed in militancy for militancy sake. I believe that a good activist is one that has a menu of different tools in their toolbox. Sometimes sitting down, having a dialogue, being persuasive can deliver the same result than, you know, doing a mass protest and so on.

However, if you look at what we are doing at Greenpeace, it's that we are still strongly maintaining peaceful civil disobedience or nonviolent direct action, as Martin Luther King used to call it, as a key part of our strategy. However, I believe strongly that the leaders of the business community, before they are leaders of the business community, or a politician before they are politicians, they are citizens. They are human beings.

And I believe that we have to the moral persuasive argument is on our side. And I believe it's up to us to exercise the skill, creativity and innovation in our conversations and engagement to shift these human beings who might be in government, might be in business, might be an oil company and so on, in a direction that says that we can meet our energy needs to clean energy means.

And I think I've seen positive return. I'm respectful, by the way. I'm respectful of the criticisms. I'm totally respectful because, and I know where it's coming from. These are people who say, "These are the people who caused the problem in the first place. They're the ones that are perpetuating the problems. And by you going there, you are legitimizing the World Economic Forum by just being there." So that's a fair argument--

BILL MOYERS: And capitalism. You're legitimating capitalism, which some of your colleagues say is incompatible with sustainability.

KUMI NAIDOO: Yeah. The current nature of capitalism, you know, is completely incompatible. And, by the way, you know, the banking crisis here in this country is a very good example of political will, right?

BILL MOYERS: Political?

KUMI NAIDOO: Will, right? If the leaders of our country, the United States and other countries were able to mobilize not millions, not billions, but trillions of dollars overnight to bail out the banks, the bankers and the bonuses, surely they can mobilize even less than that would be good to get us going to bail out the planet.

And adults need, really need to ask the self the question. What is their sense of intergenerational solidarity? We cannot live on this planet as if we don't have children and grandchildren coming after us. And that's what our current leaders are doing. BILL MOYERS: Are you a religious man?

KUMI NAIDOO: I'm a deeply spiritual person. My mom committed suicide when I was 15. That was, you know, catastrophic and catalytic event in my life. And when that happened I went through a very deep struggle of trying to make sense of life and so on. And my mom though, before she died, taught me I think the most important things in life.

She always used to say very simple things, like "It is much better to try and fail, than fail to try." And I can tell you that one line is a great source of hope and inspiration as I do the work that I'm currently doing. You know, it's much, you know, we have an option to be part of the problem and part of the solution.

But on religion, she taught me the most important thing.

She said, "The most important thing about religion is to have this approach. And that is “see God in the eyes of every human being that you meet.” If you can have that as your view, don't worry about what you actually worship and where you go. Whichever gods there are in the world, they will all say that's a great thing that you did because all religion actually tells you not to go and spend thousands and thousands of hours sitting in their religious institution worshipping, but then going and living and living a life that is ungodly and is not, you know, community oriented.

The best thing you can do is live your life where you see the humanity in everybody.

And that's why when I see how religion is being distorted because most, you know, in Hinduism one of the things we learn is when you finish praying you say, "Om shanti, shanti, shanti." And "shanti" is the word for peace, right?

All our religions are geared up to encouraging us to embrace a life of peace. Sadly, too many of our religious leaders have allowed our religions to be manipulated and have moved us away from the original essence of what religious teachings tells us, which is to care for the poor, care for the planet because don't forget, I mean, you know, if you believe in God, then God created the oceans, the forest, the mountains and so on.

And we have an obligation to actually draw on that. And I think, here, in North America some of the historical traditions of spirituality from the Native American people are exceptionally revealing. You know, the Cree people said centuries ago, they said, "Only when the last tree has been cut, the last river's been polluted, the last river has been contaminated will humanity realize that you cannot eat money.”

"We should draw on the traditions of wisdom that exist." And, you know, our ship the Rainbow Warrior, why it's called Rainbow Warrior is there was a prophesy of a Cree woman called Eyes of Fire who said a century plus ago that "There will come a time in the world when the forests will, the trees will disappear, the fish will be dead in the sea, the rivers will turn black. When these things happen, a group of people from around the world, irrespective of race, color, religion or creed, will come together to try to heal and protect the planet. And they will be known as the warriors of the rainbow." And I think where we are now, we need people to step forward to be peaceful warriors for our children and grandchildren's future.

BILL MOYERS: Kumi Naidoo, thank you very much for being here today. And thank you very much for your work.

KUMI NAIDOO: Thank you very much, Bill, for having me on your show.

Kumi Naidoo on the Urgency of Climate Action

September 27, 2013

On this week’s broadcast, the charismatic Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo joins Bill to discuss the politics of global warming and the urgency of environmental activism.

As of this moment Vladimir Putin’s government is holding in custody the Arctic Sunrise, the command ship of the environmental activist organization Greenpeace International. The ship was seized by armed members of the Russian Coast Guard last week after Greenpeace activists tried to board an offshore oil platform as a protest against drilling for fossil fuels in the fragile environment of the Arctic, where global warming has reduced the sea ice cover 40 percent since 1980.

Naidoo tells Bill, “If there’s injustice in the world, those of us that have the ability to witness it and to record it, document it and tell the world what is happening have a moral responsibility to do that. Then, of course, it’s left up to those that are receiving that knowledge to make the moral choice about whether they want to stand up against the injustice or observe it.”

From his teenage years in South Africa, Naidoo was a vocal and powerful opponent of apartheid, incarcerated and beaten so often he finally fled to Britain, where he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford. When apartheid ended, Naidoo went back to South Africa and became a prominent human rights activist with a growing concern for the impact of climate change on impoverished people of color. In 2009, he brought his negotiating and advocacy skills to the leadership of Greenpeace International, now a worldwide organization of three million members.

Producer: Candace White. Associate Producers: Reniqua Allen, Lena Shemel & Danielle Varga. Editor: Rob Kuhns.  Intro Editor: Paul Desjarlais.

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  • Anonymous

    We need to deal with climate change by reducing carbon emissions and we must also factor in the horrendous air and water pollution inherent in fossil fuel energy production, which includes natural gas and fracking. Further nuclear energy is no answer and is not carbon neutral to people who are adequately informed on this issue. We must move immediately to true renewable energy production and research with the urgency equal to putting a human on the moon in the 1960′s.

  • Anonymous

    I want to add, which I didn’t above, that this interview between Bill Moyers and Kumi Naidoo — all should listen to, especially President Obama.

  • Anonymous

    Bookmark and forward this discussion to everyone you can. It is a profound work on the key issue facing life. Period.

    Mel Strawn – 350 Central Colorado

  • http://charlesvanderhaegen.wordpress.com/about/ Charles van der Haegen

    To Bill, Thank you for your work. The words you spoke after Kumi Naidoo interview and your coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to Sardinia, elevates you as one of the exceptional men who may well bring about the change we all want to see in the World.

  • Anonymous

    Obama would learn nothing new; and he already has his instructions.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent – even better than usual. As a long time supporter of Greenpeace from back in its Vancouver days … so glad Naidoo is Ex. Dir. and so eloquently connecting the dots of the massive social reconsfiguration we need to do for our children and their children. My one criticism of this interview if after so clearly stating Earth will go on with or without us, that what we are destroying is Earth’s capacity to support us human Earthlings and many of our Earth co-habitants … they then fall back into the mind set of “saving the Earth”. Most unfortunate and not helpful.

  • Lucia Shalini Krueger

    Thank-you Dr.Kumi Naidoo for doing what all of us should be involved in…to you and all those on the front lines….trying to save our planet from the exploiters and destroyers.

  • http://txrxqa.wordpress.com/ _Jim

    Oh great … another community organizer passing off his opinion as fact on a matter of science. I see the return to the ‘dark ages’ is well under way. Thanks
    Kumi.

    _Jim

  • http://txrxqa.wordpress.com/ _Jim

    Bill, always promoting “the man” and not “the message” (faith, hope and love as the message of the Catholic Church that is.) Now, had the Pope expressed had an alternate view or position the Pope would have been the object of Bill’s scorn … do you see how that works now? Bill chooses those that reflect his ‘message’ at the time …

    _Jim

  • http://txrxqa.wordpress.com/ _Jim

    worldcitizen21 “We need to deal with climate change by … ”

    By … doing what? Dialing our lifestyles back to a 1700′s era living (SINCE you have rejected nuclear right out of the starting gate)?

    I don’t think so “Tim” … some of us appreciate hot water and heat in the winter and REQUIRE air conditioning to make it through +95 deg summers in the south while we fabricate the ‘chip’ level semiconductors for your new iPad and iPhone …

    _JIm

  • Anonymous

    We must move immediately to true renewable energy production and
    research with the urgency equal to putting a human on the moon in the
    1960′s, which is what I stated above.
    If we all kept pace with what is happening in the nuclear industry and its use and misuse, the general public would see why nuclear is not an option. No one said we should go back to the 1700′s. The billions wasted on disastrous nuclear technology could easily finance renewables and conservation. Billions are currently planned for an entire new system of Trident nuclear submarines — technology of mass destruction. This money could be used to make this a livable biosphere for humanity. Also I don’t know who Tim is that you refer to.

  • http://txrxqa.wordpress.com/ _Jim

    First off, your imagined catastrophe has been called off (+15 or 16 yrs no warming), secondly, your reply contains so many errors, mis-representations of fact and strawman argument constructions I don’t know where to begin since I did *not* come here to ‘re-educate’ (but, that’s what it will take, I think, in your case).

    Dear readers, note well the non-reality that ‘world cit 21′ exists in and avoid same (as well as avoiding worldcit21.)

    _Jim

  • JonThomas

    Hi ‘_Jim,’ I agree that it can sometimes be difficult to have coherent discussions on comment boards. So many issues can become very dense, very quickly. Could you detail just one of his ‘strawman’ arguments for me please? Maybe briefly explain why it’s a strawman argument?

  • LIBBY EINEM

    Jim, Don’t hide your ignorance behind the American flag.
    Jerry

  • Laurie

    I saw this interview last night and it was fantastic.Kumi Naidoo presented his arguement in an articulate and comprehensive way. I think few could argue the merits of his position. The world needs to act now to address climate change and save the lives of future generations. It’s not a matter of “save the earth” but “save humanity”. This point hit home for me. How great would it be if this interview had a world-wide audience?!

  • LIBBY EINEM

    Jim, Tell us what is your connection to the fossil fuel industry?
    Jerry

  • LIBBY EINEM

    Jim, All that you say has been debunked over and over again .

  • Anonymous

    Resorting to obnoxious remarks as you are above usually is the sign of someone who is in need of a great deal of education. Have a good day, Jim, anyway.

  • Fool4Reason

    @Laurie. I agree. And you know, this is the beauty of the internet. It gives this excellent interview the world wide audience you seek. Just make sure to share it on your social networks, and ask your contacts there to do the same.

  • Anonymous

    How do we get to a win/win? Gov’t can pay subsidies to conventional energy (big oil) to stop drilling and invest in clean fuel. Gov’t can mobilize billions to do this. As was Naidoo just said.

  • Anonymous

    And I know it sounds like black mail. If it can save our lives by changing the CO2 levels, do we care?

  • Anonymous

    Is it in Inuit art iconography that the hunter’s hand has a hole which symbolizes taking only a sustainable part from nature. I stand with the rainbow warriors. May the Spirit be with you.

  • J

    Kumi believes that if we could harness the same financial resources and will power to protect the environment as was done with the financial crisis that we could achieve great positive changes. What he fails to understand is that the financial resources used to “fix” the financial collapse were ACTUALLY used as a vehicle to transfer wealth from the middle class to the upper 1% crust. In NO way will ANY actions be taken to harness financial power and will to tackle the environmental collapse since it is perceived by the real rulers as a vehicle to transfer wealth AWAY from them. Also his view that religions support the protection of the environment is patently another delusion or misunderstanding. Religion is both a vehicle and an excuse to further rape the global environment. Hey Kumi – we’ve already passed the tipping point in the environmental battle. The rest of human activity will simply revolve around rationalizing the delusion as to why the collapse of the environment and all of its horrific consequences is NOT man-made.

  • http://txrxqa.wordpress.com/ _Jim

    Sure. Lets take it in parts.

    ” We must move immediately to true renewable energy production and research ”

    We did already (“it has already been tried”). It was under the Carter Administration. Are you absent your history?

    ” with the urgency equal to putting a human on the moon in the 1960′s, which is what I stated above.”

    More wasted effort; the ‘returns’ on solar and wind are just as ‘fixed’ and rarefied (sun doesn’t shine and wind doesn’t blow) as when Carter kicked off his initiatives.

    ” If we all kept pace with what is happening in the nuclear industry and its use and misuse, ”

    Wholly false narrative, strawman construction; in no way reflects reality.

    ” the general public would see why nuclear is not an option. ”

    If YOU were to ‘paint’ a false narrative, sure.

    “No one said we should go back to the 1700′s. ”

    Your proposals will send us there.

    “The billions wasted on disastrous nuclear technology could ”

    Another wholly false narrative, strawman construction; in no way reflecting reality.

    ” easily finance renewables and conservation. ”

    Failed under, and after Carter, will fail again (on account of the weak recovery nature of so-called ‘renewables’) as such technology is not suitable for powering a modern society.

    “Billions are currently planned for an entire new system of Trident nuclear submarines ”

    Representing a fraction of the expenditures for so-called “entitlements” and govt giveaways and grants.

    “– technology of mass destruction. ”

    Your assertion. Not completely supported by fact.

    ” This money could be used to make this a livable biosphere for humanity. …”

    Another ‘projection’ and unobtainable ‘green dream’.

    And thanks to cit for playing too.

    _Jim

  • http://txrxqa.wordpress.com/ _Jim

    ” … what is your connection to the fossil fuel industry?”

    I buy diesel fuel for my 1982 300TD when veggie oil is not available. True.

    _Jim

  • http://txrxqa.wordpress.com/ _Jim

    I could say the same thing, exc you’re not using a flag or anything else for that matter …

    _JIm

  • Anonymous

    What a great man. If one tenth of the world’s population had the moral compass and fiber of this guy, there would be no insane political decisions in the world. A joy to see a man like this in the world today. He inspires me.

  • http://txrxqa.wordpress.com/ _Jim

    Wow … and where was that?

  • Christanne

    I was so touched and inspired by Kumi Naidoo, Pope Francis and Bill’s commentary tonight. It is like balm to the soul in these dark days when we seem to have lost our way as a people. At 67 on Social Security, I don’t know what I can do to help in a substantive way but I want to. What are the possibilities?

  • MikeD

    I was not surprised at the diversity of humanity in that raft in the Arctic – there was Naidoo from South Africa, there was a 25-year-old American and there was a 64-year-old Canadian. The environmental movement spans race, age, creed and gender because their consciousness, like the earth, has no borders or boundaries.

    They are cut from the same cloth as the Freedom Riders of 1961. These were people from every race and background who got onto those buses that were literally death-traps because they had a consciousness big enough to understand Dr. King when he said injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

    Saving us from ourselves will require a leap in consciousness that, because of the Internet, many of the young may have already but time is not on our side.

  • JonThomas

    Thank you for replying.

    As I understand the ‘Straw man” argument… a person sets up a falsehood based on misrepresenting a person’s opinion, then proceeds to destroy said falsehood in a way that makes it look like he is refuting the misrepresented opinion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

    In the example you provided, I do not see any illusions set up or destroyed by “worldcitizen21″.

    His/her statement… “We must move immediately to true renewable energy production and research… ” is nothing more than a suggested opinion based on his perspective on how to deal with what he (she?) sees as a problem.

    You may not see climate change as something real, but this person does, and the vast majority of scientific professionals agree with him. That is not a straw-anything.

    There is also an enormous amount of evidence that suggests that climate change is something to be concerned about. This growing expanse of data points to the use (or over-use) of fossil fuels as a cause.

    Based upon your response… “doing what? Dialing our lifestyles back to a 1700′s era living…” it seems quite obvious that you find his presented solution to be an extreme response.

    There are other people who might, but it’s true that you do not have to agree with his solution. Besides, you go on to give your addiction to, or at least your preference for, the luxuries which come with the liberal use of fossil fuels.

    There is no straw man, and there was no position destroyed in any of the comments made by “worldcitizen21…” just opinions and suggested solutions.

    Your comments however, tell a different tale:

    When you attempt to refute his suggestion, you set up your very own straw man by reworking his reply with these words…

    “Dialing our lifestyles back to a 1700′s era living…”

    Worldcitizen21 never said that, nor did he in any way allude to that scenario.

    That IS how a straw man illusion is set up. You then proceeded to destroy your own created straw man with the words…

    “We did already (“it has already been tried”). It was under the Carter Administration. Are you absent your history?”

    Your use of …”Are you absent your history?…” is really an interesting touch.

    Not only did you destroy your created straw man illusion with the falsehood… “it has already been tried…” but you further attempted to use… “Are you absent your history?…” as a vehicle to bring worldcitizen21′s character and legitimacy into question.

    My advice “_Jim” (which you are of course free to ignore, well I won’t be the arbiter of your presence on these forums anyway,) is to find an audience where your own opinions are accepted and reflected.

    I don’t mind good debate, and I do enjoy honest, even passionate discussions and disagreements, but the style you used is not one that I find acceptable, nor is it worthy of continued dialogue. Such tactics have negated the validity of any points you may, or may not have otherwise made.

    Have a nice day.

  • Janet Riddell

    Great, great television, as usual Bill. Thank you. And thank you Naidoo. You are so right. It is good to open yourself to ideas that you do not like, that you disagree with. If we all do that, we will be equipped to challenge the powerful, give our species a chance to survive a bit longer. Bill, you are a true patriot and a true radical. Thanks for your continued efforts to democratize your country and our world. Appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    A doctorate in political sociology earned with a Rhodes scholarship gained not through educational achievement but political activism mightn’t be the best reference for lectures in climatology, especially considering that field itself has a very short frame of reference. Im not sure how far I trust the scientific merits of someone who was basically uneducated beyond the age of 15, even if hes a supposed expert in gender equity….frankly I’m not sure that makes him any sort of pundit on global warming, religion, or anything else.

  • Christanne

    Open your eyes…this man puts his money where his mouth is – how many fully accredited voices do that? Ask yourself what we need, what the earth needs…we don’t need more academic approval or more journals for reference to see what’s happening under our noses. The arctic ice is disappearing – Kumi Naidoo is just trying to shine a light on that so we can change our ways before it’s too late. We aren’t going to live forever, however comfortably. Life is short individually but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it mean something. We need to take the long view and think beyond ourselves.

  • Anonymous

    the arctic ice isn’t disappearing, its actually increased by 69% this year, and this supposed global warming hasn’t been going anywhere for 18 years or so, despite soaring CO2 emissions…so open YOUR eyes sweetie. You’re listening to activists and social revolutionaries who have their own agendas, they’re telling you a big story, and you’re allowing yourself to be manipulated by it. Most reputable scientists actually believe we are entering a cooling period. But that’s okay, you alarmists have enriched and empowered these people that are telling you to be scared, and that’s exctly what they’re all about. Social engineering, not hard science.

  • Anonymous

    puts his money where his mouth is? hahahah! Hes making money you silly!

  • Anonymous

    He’s not claiming to be an expert. He is however acting on what the vast majority of experts, in peer-reviewed papers, are saying.

    That’s good enough for me.

  • Chitra Raman

    Bill Moyers is a journalist without equal in terms of his integrity; his finesse in conducting interviews that keep the focus on the guest rather than on some intrusive agenda of the interviewer; and the great breadth and depth of his interest in people and culture beyond American shores. Who else would care to acquaint us with the amazing and dynamic Kumi Naidoo — and in the process challenge us to re- examine the ways in we approach and engage with climate change.

    Although Naidoo speaks mainly of his evolving activism and the way he gets things done, in response to a question on his religious
    beliefs Naidoo reveals the underpinnings of his spirituality to be his mother’s Hindu faith, which he has reflected upon and evolved a personal equation with over the years following her traumatic loss.

    I was therefore taken aback by Moyers’ comments in his segue to the next story about the Pope. He says that Naidoo’s mother’s beautiful advice “to see God in the eyes of everyone you meet” echoes the views expressed by St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the order of Jesuits. This is jarring for two reasons.

    One, the implication that a Hindu who says something profound must in some oblique way be channeling inspiration from Christian religious
    figures rather than from within her own trove of religious scriptures — is absurd. The vast majority of Americans are ignorant of the sophistication of Hindu thought and are content to remain that way – little has changed since Willkie Collins wrote “The Moonstone” and Indiana Jones braved Temples of Doom. But I expect a far higher standard of cultural sensitivity from Mr. Moyers.

    The second reason I was repelled by Mr. Moyers evoking St. Ignatius of Loyola, is that the Society of Jesus that he founded was responsible for unspeakably savage atrocities during the Goa Inquisition which tortured and maimed thousands of Hindus. Firsthand accounts describe the removal of eyelids to force people to witness the torture of their relatives, hardly indicative of an interpretation of faith that “sees God in all beings.” Details of the barbaric methods of torture are freely available on the Web for anyone interested. Voltaire wrote “Goa
    is sadly famous for its Inquisition, equally contrary to humanity and commerce. The Portuguese monks made us believe that the people worshiped the devil, and it is they who have served him.”

    There have been other maniacs in history such as Hitler who justified his actions as a quest for “racial purity.” The West ensures him a place in eternal infamy. Compare that perception with that of Francis Xavier, a student of Ignatius of Loyola who
    personally oversaw many of the excesses of the Goa Inquisition and wrote letters to the Pope describing Hindus in the most vicious and racist terms. He used every devious method including
    manipulation, torture, intimidation, and turning children against their parents to obtain converts. He referred to the original citizens of the nation that
    welcomed him to its shores and offered him hospitality — as repulsive and grotesque. Him, the Catholic Church canonizes as a Saint!

  • moderator

    Hello thinkingfor yourself and Christanne,

    Please make your points without getting personal.

    Thank You,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    Hello Christanne and thinkingfor yourself:

    Please make your points without getting personal.

    Thank You,

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Christanne

    I apologize if it sounded personal – never intended it…

  • http://txrxqa.wordpress.com/ _Jim

    Drinking problems aside, he does okay representing his point of view. Note: I’m not saying he is particularly rational or logical in his approach, but he tries his best to ‘spin’ things to his advantage – one has to give him credit for that.

    Of course, we are all familiar with his time in the White House as Press Secretary in the Johnson administration? Bill is not exactly apolitical in his views.

    _Jim

  • Anonymous

    ah but he is being presented here as an expert, as one who’s opinion on the subject is important enough to warrant a public forum and influence policy around the globe…. pardon me but I expect someone of that nature to have an educational pedigree that indicates a knowledge of the subject matter.

  • Anonymous

    of course they’re manipulating the public, it’s what they do for a living! PS; don’t get personal…. this Sean guy doesn’t like it.

  • Anonymous

    in 40,000 years there will be forests where there are now deserts, and deserts where there are now forests. There is no such thing as a climactic state of nature, its steadily changing, both through our actions as humans and by other means, all of which are natural processes. Its unfortunate yes, that man has become schizophrenic in his sense of separation from nature… this thinking does not mean we can act in a unnatural way, it means we, as exemplified by the opinions in your post, have no real grasp of that fact.

  • Anonymous

    Sean@moyers doesn’t like folks to make personal attacks such as this, please refrain…

  • moderator

    Hi thinkingforyourself,

    Just to introduce myself, I am the moderator of this website. We do the best we can to keep the discussions as productive as possible. If you have any questions about our comment policy or comments about the site, you can always use our contact page.

    Thank You,

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Anonymous

    and you are making my case, this is about this Kumi guys charisma, not about his knowledge upon any subject or the merits of his case…

    “the amazing and dynamic Kumi Naidoo”

    and unfortunately such charismatic ‘leaders’ always have a greater tendency to become a Hitler or Ignatius than not. We may be thankful that this Kumi guy acts in a relatively minor fractious way through civil disobedience and interference with legal commerce…. than with guns and gangs, the basis however is the same, social activism oriented towards forcing ones views upon others to enhance ones own power and prestige. You may believe its to save the world, and he may well believe it himself, which of course is how such people always justify their actions.

  • Anonymous

    Hi! Im pleased to meet you Sean, my first question might be why I have received a caution and similar content has not, but that’s okay you needn’t answer ;)

  • moderator

    If you see content you think violates our comment policy, please flag it so that I can check it out.

    Thanks
    Sean @ Moyers

  • JonThomas

    Interesting…

    I like your name. It carries with it an interesting concept.

    If a professor of a particular subject were to tell me something, and a ditch digger were to tell me the same exact thing, does the professor’s message carry more weight?

    What if they told me 2 different things, but the professor happened to be wrong? Would I accept his word based upon his title, or his ‘pedigree’ ( :-| )? How would I be able to discern the difference between the 2 of them and find the most accurate information?

    By the concept found within your name of course.

    A person who has had no formal training in a subject at all, but was immersed in it for a long time, will often have a lot more useful knowledge than even someone formally educated in the subject.

    It’s a shame that too few people do ‘think for themselves’.

    I’m confident that if you, or anyone, were to really apply themselves, they would be able to separate what they find up-building, from what they find distasteful – regardless of the messenger.

    It almost seems like it would be a form of character assassination to challenge the messenger instead of the message… especially when the messenger is indeed a professional, an actual leader in the field.

    I’m beginning to understand why Popular Science shut down their comments section on scientific articles.

    I, for one, appreciate the work that the moderator here does… they to a great job keeping the forum relatively free from people who would engage in undignified conduct.

  • Anonymous

    The only failure is in not doing anything said Kumi. Thinking- What are you doing?

  • Chitra Raman

    I don’t suppose you noticed the latest IPCC announcement confirming anthropogenic global warming. That’s the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and you’ll find plenty of pundits in it, if Naidoo’s supposed lack of credentials bothers you.

  • Chitra Raman

    Let me see how I can frame this question without getting personal…just who is your expert source on these “facts,” exactly? Rush Limbaugh?

  • Anonymous

    Why so negative? The facts are clear and yours are not, but your deception is. Grow up and love life.

  • Anonymous

    Im sitting here on my environmentally wasteful computer, same as yourself ;)

  • Anonymous

    the vast majority of experts have never reached a consensus on this subject, in fact the weight of consensus seems to now be swinging in the other direction, towards ocean currents and sunspot activity, not co2 emissions as the true modifier of the worlds weather.

  • Anonymous

    I love life and Im very positive. that’s why I don’t buy into every manipulative piece of baloney that comes down the pike.. :)

  • Anonymous

    that’s a political body with an agenda that has little to do with investigating the true causes of climate change.

  • Anonymous

    I think for myself, you’re welcome to do the same. I’ve worked as a ditch digger too, you’re welcome to do the same.

  • Anonymous

    actually from NASA…. and that was pretty personal but I’ll let it go since it demonstrates an ignorance other than my own….

  • Anonymous

    sure, just flagged minervas comment above since it was far more objectionable than any of mine….shall I moderate more posts for you?

  • Anonymous

    there, I flagged every comment related to mine in which sarcasm or ridicule were used. No need to thank me, I shan’t be back this way again or my own sense of sarcasm and ridicule will get the better of me…

  • Anonymous

    Last week’s IPCC report gave a figure of 95% certainty. Again, that’s good enough for me.

    You can gamble on a 5% possibility if you like.

    95% sounds like a ‘vast majority’ and about as close to a scientific consensus as you can get.

    Remove your head from the sand.

  • Chitra Raman

    Sorry for hurting your feelings, and I do acknowledge my ignorance on many matters, but you have to agree that where we get our information from does have a bearing on how we — well, think for ourselves. Please check out Scientific American’s editorial in their October 2013 issue, titled “Fiddling While the World Warms.” In one of the first paragraphs it is stated that the Arctic permafrost is melting at an much faster than previously thought, with the potential to release vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere thereby further accelerating climate change.

  • Chitra Raman

    Not sure on what basis you label the IPCC as a “political body. ” How exactly would they stand to profit by the claims they are making? On the other hand, the halls of power are crawling with corporate lobbyists from the oil and gas industry in search of the kind of compliant “political bodies” — who DO stand to gain by refusing to see what’s in plain sight.

  • moderator

    I have attempted to be civil with you and intergrate you into our community, however since you insist on not following our comment policy and are clearly a troll, you will no longer be able to be a part of our website.

    Thank You

    Sean @Moyers

  • Guest

    send them back to 1914 or 38….they’ll find out what the leaders “betrayal” can really do to a generation…

  • Anonymous

    A simple fact check of your figures shows your deception and invalidates your arguments about Artic Ice, etc.

  • Carooooz

    You’re criticizing and you bring nothing to the table but your criticisms. Yeah, I’d say you’re taking up precious space here.

  • Carooooz

    Well quite obviously because you’ve staked out the one spot for resident victim on this thread.

  • Carooooz

    You seem familiar. Are you also one of BP’s paid trolls?

  • Carooooz

    BP paid troll. Check out the most recent story on Al-Jazeera.

  • LIBBY EINEM

    Please tell us what ‘body” would in your mind be suitable. Why do you attact the messenger, not the climate science?

  • LIBBY EINEM

    Garbage

  • LIBBY EINEM

    Ditto

  • LIBBY EINEM

    What might be in the distant future has little relevance to the here and now! What are these facts you refer to? Where is the empirical evidence to support them?

  • LIBBY EINEM

    Laurie, well said!

  • Anonymous

    Very good article.

  • Anonymous

    I have seen your troll like posts elsewhere. :/

  • Anonymous

    Who is them?

  • Anonymous

    Most people aren’t fond of fish poop.

  • JJ042804

    The Climate change data came from Scientists, not from him.

  • JJ042804

    Point well made!

  • JJ042804

    Lets do a simple test of logic, shall we?! We all know that Carbon Dioxide is toxic and we know that our Oil, Coal and Energy industry is pumping tons of it daily into out Atmosphere. We also know that there is no where this Carbon Dioxide can go. It can’t leave our Atmosphere, because Earth’s gravity is keeping it in. We know it wont dissolve on its own, so the end result is…..? Now I give you a hint, if I lock you into a large room and slowly fill it with Carbon Dioxide, what will eventually happen to you? I give you another hint, your family will bury you.