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My Last Year As Head of Greenpeace via Reader Supported News

By Kumi Naidoo

[…]
But over the last year I have been feeling a strong pull to return home to South Africa. I have been away for 17 years and it feels that the time to return is upon me.

I watch with despair how the South African government, my government, is rolling out plans to spend as much as a trillion Rand (US$ 85 billion) on an absurd deal with Russia to build some seven nuclear reactors.

So, when Greenpeace International has made the smooth transition to new leadership I will be devoting whatever skills I have acquired over the years to the fight for energy justice in South Africa. I believe this to be one of the biggest challenges facing my country since the ending of apartheid.

This struggle is of course about not only about climate change, it’s also about development and making sure that the roughly one-in-five South Africans without electricity have access to clean power. It is also about democracy. For more than 60 years we have seen that nuclear power and democracy don’t mix.

I want to do what I can to help my country develop based on democratic, 21st century, renewable energy systems. Currently, there is only one nuclear power plant in Africa, at Koeberg, just outside Cape Town. As we said when we hung a banner on it in 2002, during the Earth Summit, it should be the first and last.

It’s a tough call, but for every activist there is a battle we must fight, and this is mine.

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